Ohio University’s south campus Wednesday morning had more gore than many current PG-13 movies. Protesters gathered in opposition to an event held by Bobcats for Life and Created Equal, a Columbus-based pro-life organization. The event was characterized by a large “JumboTron” screen that displayed arguments against abortion and graphic videos.
Jacob Hoback, president of Bobcats for Life, said the event was designed to elicit an emotional response.
“We had (Created Equal) bring the pictures and images with them so people can see abortion for what it really is,” he said.
The protesters were comprised of students, activists and several groups, including the Feminist Equality Movement (FEM), the Multicultural Activist Coalition (MAC) and F*** Rape Culture (FRC). Protesters held signs, passed out free condoms and papers on abortion myths, put up trigger warnings and tried to drown out speakers from Created Equal during the Q&A session.
“MAC is concerned that women may come upon this with no warning and have strong triggering and mental health reactions,” wrote Beth Amoriya, a member of the group, in a Facebook post. “They are writing an administrator and posting signs around campus warning of this event so students can choose to avoid it.”
— Heather Willard (@HeatherDWrites) April 12, 2017
Mark Harrington, the national director of Created Equal, spoke on whether the signs could be considered emotionally damaging.
“We don’t take these to daycares or something, that’s not our target audience,” he said. “We understand that in the public square young children may see the images, obviously, but in a country that kills its children and that is the public policy of the country, then the pictures should be shown publicly.”
Several differences marked this event from previous anti-abortion events, including GoPros on representatives from Bobcats For Life and Created Equal. Harrington said the cameras were present to deter violence or crimes from protesters, but later other representatives produced a higher grade camera and walked around asking questions of the protestors.
“Our equipment is attacked, we have vandalism and sometimes even physical attacks,” he said. “We wear them for a deterrent, hopefully, but also if something does happen we have it on film so we can turn it over to the police.”
Some protesters found the precaution to be unnecessary. Claire Seid, a member of MAC and FRC, was on South Beach protesting the event.
“They use the GoPros to make unflattering videos of protesters,” she said. “It’s gross.”
Events escalated when Created Equal representatives brought out a microphone to speak about anti-abortion topics and answer questions. Protesters produced a megaphone and began shouting, screaming and playing sirens to mask the answers from Created Equal.