This week, Students for Life at the University of Georgia hosted abortion victim displays with the help of Justice for All (JFA). While the students chose to dynamically challenge their campus with the truth about abortion, not all welcomed the display. True to form, pro-abortion students chose to hide the truth and lie about the images rather than engage in constructive conversation and debate.
Embracing ignorance over truth
Pro-abortion students (from the Women’s Studies Student Organization and Sexual Health Advocacy Group, SHAG) surrounded the display with large sheets in an effort to censor the event.They held hand-made posters which boasted such crude responses as “My P***Y, my choice,” “P***Y POWER,” and “Put your politics where your p***y is! (If you don’t have one, shut up.)”
Amid the chaos, one sign ironically stated- “Pro-education, Pro-choice, Anti-Ignorance.” This sign, of course, begs the question, “Are any of these signs examples of educated responses to a moral debate?”
Despite the fact that Justice for All has sworn affidavits of the abortion victim images’ authenticity, SHAG president, Danielle Duncan, persisted in spreading the rumor that the images were falsely represented. “The majority of all the late-term abortion pictures that you’re seeing are actually stillbirths — women who wanted to have a baby and their baby died, and they had to get the baby taken out, which is a pretty common medical procedure,” Duncan said. “So it is pretty much a lie, to present pictures that aren’t true.”
This is anti-ignorance?
Protecting Free Speech
Controversy between pro-life students and pro-abortion advocates is old news, and few would admit surprise or shock over the pro-abortion students’ responses to this recent display. Pro-life students often encourage and applaud constructive conversations with their peers of opposing viewpoints. It is disappointing such blatant acts to obstruct the displays.
Despite students’ complaints and efforts to ban future displays, the University of Georgia fully supports the pro-life students’ right to free speech. In response to complaints by students, Janice Davis Barham, PhD, Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Tate Student Center, stated: “We recognize that these images can be disturbing, and we have made every effort to warn members of the University community about the nature of the display while respecting the First Amendment rights of the sponsoring student organization, Students for Life at UGA.”
Barham also asserted that the students were “within their rights to bring the Justice for All exhibit to campus, in keeping with UGA’s Policy on Freedom of Expression… The University of Georgia is a marketplace of ideas, and while we may not always agree with the views of others, each is entitled to their right to express those thoughts.”
The Students for Life president affirmed the school’s support. “I talked to the school administration a few hours ago,” Rebecca told SFLA. “They fully support our right to free speech and have communicated that to complaining students.”
Controversy and conflict will occur from time to time, but this should not deter us from taking risks and getting active on campus. Despite this week’s conflict, Students for Life at UGA are looking forward to more events this semester. They are not backing down. These students hope to continue to encourage an open dialogue about abortion on campus, and they aim to host events that will emphasize understanding and support for women in crisis pregnancies.
We encourage pro-life students to follow this example. Do not be silenced by those who refuse to listen. Be bold! Engage your campus with regular events- big and small. Embrace open communication with your peers of different viewpoints. Do not be afraid to educate and to challenge the ignorance of your college campus!