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Some students were surprised and even “disgusted” when members of a group called Created Equal set up graphic images of aborted fetuses in the center of campus as part of an anti-abortion protest.
Josiah Lockwood, one of the protesters, spoke with The All State.
“We’re with a group called Created Equal, we’re stationed out of Columbus Ohio but we’re doing a bit of a campus tour right now, going from campus to campus and just sparking these conversations with students,” Lockwood said.
Lockwood and Created Equal see abortion as a human rights issue.
“The focal point is the issue of abortion. [We’re] just trying to see where other people stand on that and hopefully spread the idea of human equality that regardless of these arbitrary stipulations that we place upon one another that we are equally valuable as human beings and that our value is derived from the sole fact that we are human beings and nothing else,” Lockwood said.
Lockwood compared abortion to historical instances of human rights violations.
“If you look throughout history there’s been subjugation of people based off gender or race, but regardless of those things although they make us unique and they make us individuals, they aren’t where our value is derived from, they aren’t reason to treat people poorly,” Lockwood said. “Similarly, with this, with these little ones that aren’t old enough to defend themselves, just because they’re not old enough doesn’t mean they’re not valuable human beings.”
Many students, especially junior political science major Haley Allen, were offended by the graphic images used in this protest.
“I was particularly moved by how graphic the images were, and how many children I saw walking by with their parents. These parents had no way to shield their children from this because there were no clear warnings,” Allen said.
She was also concerned about the possible trauma the photos may have caused to women who have experienced miscarriages.
“I also thought a lot about mothers who may have miscarried, those who had to abort for medical reasons, and those who decided to abort because that was what they felt was best,” Allen said. “I think it is absolutely vile to show these mutilated fetuses with no warning. You never know what someone may be going through, and common areas on campus should be a safe space.”
While Allen said she believes everyone should practice free speech, the images went too far in this case because there were no warnings or consent involved.
“I think it is necessary for people to be able to practice free speech. However, I think that censoring parts of the demonstration may be necessary too,” Allen said. “In settings such as a classroom or a presentation, people are choosing to see these things, or are at least aware that they might be exposed to graphic images. I don’t think that a person should have to see such gore while just walking to class. It takes consent out of the equation.”
Allen created a petition and posted it to her Facebook page. Within hours her post received 110 reactions, and she reached 645 signatures of her goal of 1000 signatures on the petition.
“I hope to reach President White, or whoever is in charge of these decisions, and make it to where if a group is to be allowed to demonstrate on campus, they must agree not to show such graphic images openly,” Allen said. “A compromise could even be that they can display them inside a tent or behind a warning. I just really do not think that students should be exposed to this without being able to prepare themselves.”
There are some who do not agree with Allen.
“I have seen a couple of people say that this is hypocritical and an attack on the protestors rights, but I disagree. I still want them to protest,” Allen said. “I just think that their rights don’t cover the right to harm others. I once heard the phrase “swing to the end of your neighbor’s nose,” and to me, that means exercise your freedom however you feel necessary, as long as you do not harm other people.”