Letter to the Editor: Obscene images poorly paint abortion argument

Lailah Berry

The House committee is considering an extreme and unconstitutional abortion ban. Once again, anti-abortion politicians justified the ban by using scare tactics.

Unfortunately, these tactics are common and used by both politicians and organizations that oppose abortion. This is particularly true for anti-abortion groups on college campuses.

October saw a wave of anti-abortion protesters on campuses all over the country. The organization behind a lot of these protests, Created Equal, is notorious for using graphic imagery that depicts gruesome, inaccurate information about abortion, and the group is based right here in Ohio.

I’ve seen anti-abortion activists on our campus; their posters are not only triggering, but they also inaccurately portray abortion in this country.

A vast majority of these images come from the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, which regularly maintains a database of horrific photos. How they obtain these images is unclear.


In the past, they have refused to disclose their source, but a Slate article from 2010 claims the center pays doctors and clinics to allow a photographer to enter the operating room and photograph the abortion procedure.

If this is true, I think it is incredibly unlikely this is taking place in the U.S.

If these abortions are not happening in the U.S., these protestors are guilty of spreading misinformation. If the allegations are true, it is highly unethical, and it is a serious violation of doctor-patient confidentiality.

Equally disturbing is what is not included in the photos: women. These photos suggest that abortion happens completely out of context.

Where are the photos of the women whose lives were saved by abortion care? Or of their loving partners and families who support them in this complicated, personal decision? Or of the children they have or will have in the future? These photos reduce a deeply personal and private medical procedure down to props designed to scare and intimidate people.

The fact of the matter is these images cannot be traced back to any reliable source. Their history is muddled in uncertainty, and because that’s the case, the use of these images to advocate against a procedure that has been deemed safe time and time again should not be allowed in any institution of higher education.

Showing these graphic pictures on campus is not conducive to an environment dedicated to learning. The images don’t provide students with any factual information about their sexual and reproductive health. Allowing these protestors to display this kind of imagery and employ these kind of scare tactics promotes misinformation, fear and shame.

If Created Equal or other anti-abortion protesters come to campus, I hope the administration will learn from other colleges and universities and take appropriate actions to ensure the safety and well-being of their students.

Lailah Berry is a Kent State student. Contact her at [email protected].