Before I begin, I want to clarify that the purpose of this piece is to provide my opinion on the way an anti-abortion protest was handled, not to talk down on the beliefs of those who are pro-life or pro-choice.
On Monday, there were protests held on campus by pro-life individuals from the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR). The organization provided graphic photos of unborn fetuses next to genocide and slavery victims as to compare the two to each other. Not only was I completely appalled by the display, but a few other individuals have voiced their concerns to me as well.
A friend of mine told me that after she had explained to a member of this organization that she could not deliver a child due to her disability, she was told that her doctors are not always right and that there are rarely abortions for legitimate health issues. This response made her obviously uncomfortable.
Other students discussed their concerns on the protest on the Wildfire app, where students can share news, ideas and opinions on what’s happening on campus. Several students believed that the protest was unnecessary, and a few discussed how the display could cause some individuals to feel unsafe, especially those who may have previously had an abortion.
No matter what your stance is on abortion, you must understand that others can and will have different opinions than you and respect those as such. There is a difference between being against abortion and respecting another’s choices and trying to force those opinions on others.
This organization handed out brochures on campus today to students, many of whom didn’t want to be bothered as they were walking to and from class. The brochures start off by asking “How can you compare abortion to genocide?”
Right beneath the prompted question, there are two photos, one of victims of the Cambodian Genocide in the 1970’s, and the other of a first trimester fetus. The text over the first photo reads “Cambodian killing fields” and “American killing fields” over the second. Beneath the two disturbing photos, the word “genocide” is written.
This is already very alarming to me, as I believe the comparison of these two extremely different situations is not only inaccurate, but also distasteful. While I do understand where they were trying to make a point, I believe the way they went about it isn’t okay.
When you open the pamphlet, there is a table with four columns. The columns discuss the Holocaust, slavery, abortion, and how they compare to each other. The columns talking about slavery and the Holocaust include graphic photos of victims of these two horrific events.
As it is important that we remember these historical incidents, using them for comparison seems unethical and possibly offensive to those whose ancestors may have been involved in these events. I believe that this organization should have put that into consideration prior to releasing these pamphlets.
ECU has been making efforts towards having an inclusive campus that allows for students and faculty to feel physically and emotionally safe. However, I believe that by allowing for a protest that includes graphic photos and offensive comparisons, they are stepping in the wrong direction.