On Monday, members of the organization the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform set up pro-life posters that compared abortion to genocide in front of Mendenhall Student Center.
Southeast Assistant Regional Director for the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform Joanna Keilson said the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform was on East Carolina University’s campus on Monday to share its views on abortion.
“We’re here because abortion is an act of violence that decapitates and dismembers tiny human beings,” Keilson said.
Kielson said she has been a member of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform for three years. She said she chose to join the organization because she volunteered at a pregnancy center in college where she was able to learn about abortion.
The organization displayed graphic images of fetuses aborted at 10-weeks next to pictures from the Holocaust. The organization additionally passed out brochures that compare abortion to slavery.
“When you consider that over a million human beings are being killed every year in our country simply for the fact that they are unwanted and they’re targeted because they are small and easy to take their life what else would you call it besides a Holocaust?” Kielson said.
According to Keilson, “most” abortions take place in the first trimester of pregnancy.
One picture used by the organization was of an abortion at 24 weeks which is the age of viability, Keilson said. The age of viability is now earlier than it was in the past, according to Keilson.
The pictures used on the posters were taken in an abortion clinic and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform has an afidavit signed by a former abortion doctor that verified the pictures were real, according to Kielson.
“That (the location of the abortion clinic where the pictures were taken) is not disclosed, we haven’t disclosed the actual photographers name and all that because of privacy reasons,” Kielson said.
When asked if the organization promotes the use of birth control to prevent pregnancy, Kielson said that the organization recommends that people consider the consequences of their actions “either way.”
Kielson said the organization recommends, if someone is not able to care for the child they are pregnant with, for them to use resources provided by pregnancy resource centers. The centers provide free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, support, material resources, parenting classes and connect expectant mothers to adoption agencies, Kielson said.
“We’re not really here to promote one certain thing and you can see that sign says, you know what can you do to stop abortion and we do promote abstinence untill marriage but mostly we’re just promoting people not killing their children once they’ve already create them,” Kielson said.
Kielson said the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform has received better reception at ECU than they have at other universities. She said ECU is “more open” to having the pro-life conversation. She said the organization wants to give people to engage with “the other side” of the abortion argument.
The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform has been to many universities across the southeast United States. The organization spreads its pro-life message on college campuses and other venues they are able to speak at, Kielson said.
The organization plans on going to other college campuses in North Carolina in the upcoming weeks, Kielson said. The organization cannot disclose its location ahead of time because it often attracts protesters, Kielson said.
Senior psychology major, Allison Copeck said she was walking on campus and saw signs about genocide. She thought it was going to be a Holocaust memorial and said she was “shocked” when she saw abortion being compared to genocide.
Copeck said she doesn’t believe the organization took into consideration that students on campus may have been impacted by the Holocaust.
“I grew up of Jewish herritage, so I actually lost family due to that (the Holocaust) and when they were comparing it even if their religious beliefs say they’re not supportive of it, I don’t think its okay to title it genocide just to grab peoples attention,” Copeck said.
The information provided on the posters was pseudo-science and used to scare people, according to Copeck. Pseudo-science is spread around the pro-life community as a way to scare people into thinking they are killing fully grown 10-week old babies, Copeck said.
An abortion at 10-weeks isn’t as graphic as what was depicted in the images, Copeck said. She said often 10-week abortions can be done by just taking a pill.
On a campus other than ECU, Copeck believes that the messages being spread by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform could be harmful. She said the response she saw from students, was that they were angered by the organization’s presence on campus.
The only conversation Copeck saw students interacting with members of the organization was through snapchat when students were telling the members that what they were doing was “awful.” She said she saw a few students flip them off and that they weren’t well received on campus.
Members of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform weren’t aggressive while on campus but the images they were using on their posters were aggressive, according to Copeck.
“That’s wrong, so I don’t really know how to respond because thats just like factually incorrect. I know my friend was trying to get an abortion once so I looked up the different stages so I could tell her what the baby looked like because that was impacting her decision and at 10-week olds, the baby is really- theres not much to it,” Copeck said.
Associate Professor and Director of Students for Mathematics, Science, and Instructional Technology Education College of Education, Ronald V. Preston said he hopes the images used by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform push people away from getting abortions but he understands that many people get abortions. He thinks that after a one-on-one conversation or pictures of aborted fetuses would help people turn away from abortion.
Preston said he believes the pictures can start the thought process within people to convince them from getting abortions.
“Well there’s some very disturbing photos, and I am not in favor of abortion so it bothers me to see those photos and to see what we’re doing to babies who can’t defend themselves,” Preston said.
Senior accounting major, Kyle Davis said these pictures could possibly convince someone not to get an abortion if someone can’t handle seeing graphic images.
Davis said he wasn’t “a fan” of the comparison of abortion to genocide. He said it wasn’t offensive to him because he doesn’t come from a past of genocide but he could understand why someone who has a past of genocide would find this offensive.
“I think this is disgusting, I was just about to eat lunch and now I don’t really want to eat lunch but I mean it shows a lot that people have probably never seen, I’ve never seen pictures like this before,” Davis said.