A pro-life academic has been disciplined by a Catholic university because he expressed his opposition to abortion.

Stéphane Mercier, a lecturer in philosophy, has been suspended from teaching at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) in Belgium, after distributing a pro-life paper to students.

Dr Mercier told the Catholic Herald that he had asked students to “reflect on the arguments by themselves. I said repeatedly that no one should feel forced to agree with me.”

He added that he had only been encouraging the students to consider the issues. “I did my job, and I’m now under a disciplinary procedure which really doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Dr Mercier was suspended after a protest from the feminist group Synergie Wallonie. The group drew the university’s attention to the written text accompanying Dr Mercier’s lecture. He says he often distributes a text to help students think about the lecture and review their notes. The paper questions the concept of a “right to choose” an abortion.

Dr Mercier told the Catholic Herald that pro-lifers were contending with dark spiritual forces. “The worldly powers that be, and the spiritual powers of darkness, are at war with everything truly Christian. So we’re fighting for life and for the Lord’s commandments against evil powers.”

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