Editor’s Note: Some of the images in this post are graphic and may be considered disturbing by some readers. The images in question refer to anti-abortion images circulated by Columbus-based anti-abortion group Created Equal.
Last Wednesday, Ohio University Bobcats for Life held an anti-abortion protest with the help of Created Equal. This protest took place on South Beach (Morton Field) and included several large posters of abortions. The protest was quickly overtaken by anti-protestors, including those advocating pro-abortion rights, transgender rights and All Lives Matter.
Today, come to Morton Field to see photos and videos of the current Holocaust in our country. pic.twitter.com/DDbC9P3aII
— Bobcats for Life (@OUProLife) April 12, 2017
One major problem with this protest was Bobcats for Life use of false images of abortion. The protest focused on disturbing pictures of what supposed abortion victims look like, showing pictures of perfectly formed babies and saying they are only six weeks old.
The best example is the picture of an fetus that was allegedly eight-week-old fetus with fully formed little toes and hands. It was portrayed as the size of a crayon. In reality, an eight-week-old fetus does not have fully-formed toes; at this point, the fetus is just starting to form webbed feet. Nor would it be proportional to a crayon at eight weeks; instead, the full fetus would be the size of a kidney beans.
Bobcats for Life paired this imagery with strong rhetoric. Using this verbiage of “victims” and “murder” may be triggering for those who made a decision because they were scared, alone and young. Most people who identify as anti-abortion believe the fetus’ life is just as important, if not more, than the mothers. However, without help or counseling, many scared teens will think more about the implications on their life than the unborn fetus’. One would expect an organization so concerned with life and love to be more understanding and supportive for those who did not know their options.
The protest also gained criticism from many groups on social media, regarding its decision to equate abortion to a current holocaust. Many people were displeased with this word choice, as abortion is legal, has been deemed constitutional and is not in any way relatable to the destruction of a holocaust.
Utilizing such historically strong wording for its event was a poor choice for OU’s Bobcats for Life; most people are uncomfortable comparing a woman’s right to choose with Adolf Hitler’s genocidal actions. Those against abortion may indeed feel the continuation of the procedure is similar to a holocaust, but the word choice may stop people from sympathizing with the cause. The organization, however, released a statement standing by its decision to use the term:
Here is our statement about the controversy regarding one of our tweets: pic.twitter.com/Js94LDWgNU
— Bobcats for Life (@OUProLife) April 13, 2017
The statement notes the achievements of the anti-abortion movement, the more recent being a newly elected Supreme Court justice who is anti-abortion and the government defunding Planned Parenthood. However, for a group so concerned about the lives of American citizens, one would assume its members would not be so thrilled about the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization that provides a large range of health care services for both men and women at a reasonable cost. Abortion clinics are a small portion of Planned Parenthood. Its health centers offer resources for sexual education and adoption along with abortion. Pushing abortions on women is not the goal PP’s goal; only 3 percent of patients receive an abortion. Supporting the defunding of Planned Parenthood is supporting the defunding of health care for men and women around the country who have no other option.
Bobcats for Life, like any organization, is always free to speak up for what it believes in, but the way it protested against abortion was misguided and harmful. The failure to use accurate pictures of abortion not only took away from the message, but also may be triggering to some students. The rhetoric used was not supporting and welcoming, but instead aggressive and threatening.
My suggestion to the group would be to become more sensitive and understanding to those considering abortion and to those who have gone through with one. If its message truly is “all lives matter,” then utilizing a more welcoming platform would greatly help its movement be accepted here on campus.