Polish Universities Cancelled Pro-Life Speaker After Protests

March 14, 2017: In early March, the legal advocacy group Ordo Iuris and several student organizations invited Rebecca Kiessling, an American pro-life speaker, to give speeches at several universities in Poland. While all of the universities had initially agreed to hold the events, they abruptly cancelled the events or modified the format, after leftist groups protested.


Kiessling was scheduled to speak at the University of Warsaw, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, the John Paul Catholic University of Lublin, the University of Wroclaw, and the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. The authorities of all of these universities first agreed to host Kiessling, but during the week of March 13th, just before the scheduled events, Kiessling was denied access to several of the universities - either directly or by changing formal requirements. Some of the universities claimed that the booking of the lecture rooms had not followed proper procedures.

The John Paul Catholic Univeristy of Lublin did not cancel the event and the University of Warsaw modified the event from a lecture to requiring a direct debate instead.

Ordo Iuris reports that cancellations were made due to the protests of the leftist party Razem.

On March 15, 2017, Polish Minister of Science, Jaroslaw Gowin, published announcement in which he denounced the cancellation of the lectures. He said, "One may agree or not with the views expressed by Ms. Kiessling, but forbidding her to express them is nothing but censorship." He noted that the universities betrayed the principles of academic freedom and freedom of expression. 

Sources: Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyžszego and Ordo Iuris