Graphic images subdue Risman Plaza

Foundation hopes abortion pictures will raise awareness

Senior zoology major Denise Klempay hands out condoms to passersby in Risman Plaza in front of an abortion display by Klempay joined a group from the Women’s Liberation Collective and the Kent State Anti-War Committee holding signs and cha

Credit: DKS Editors

The images in Risman Plaza silenced the usual commotion outside the Student Center yesterday, Christina Gilmore said.

“I think it makes it a really awkward atmosphere on campus,” said Gilmore, sophomore human development and family studies major. “Most times on days like this people are outside eating lunch and talking.”

Representatives from the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, a nonprofit educational foundation, arrived to campus at 7 a.m. to set up its display of images of real aborted fetuses and to distribute information about the anti-abortion Genocide Awareness Project.

Members of the Center for Student Involvement posted warning signs outside of Risman Plaza due to the harsh and graphic nature of the images.

Mark Harrington, Midwest region director for the center, said abortion can’t be made illegal until it’s made unthinkable.

“When I first saw an aborted baby picture long ago, it offended my sense of justice,” he said. “The unborn don’t have a voice – no one’s defending their rights. Someone needs to stand up for them.”

The images were displayed on banners that were several feet in size, all of which were connected and formed into a large circle engulfing the plaza. Members of the project built a fence to protect themselves and to protect the banners from being touched.

Harrington said the use of graphic images was successful in gaining awareness during the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and Sept. 11.

“The pictures of war and injustice have always had a big part in forming us,” he said. “If it worked for them, it’ll work for this.”

Members of the Women’s Liberation Collective and other abortion rights activists were holding signs and distributing information of their own just several feet away from the display opposing abortion.

Kyle Marcarello, senior molecular and cellular biology major, said the people from the Genocide Awareness Project have a right to be on campus and to say the things they do.

“That doesn’t mean I have to believe them, and that certainly doesn’t give them the right to offend students who have nothing to do with this,” he said. “The fact of the matter is whether you agree with abortion or don’t. These particular signs are not just offensive. They’re … absurd.”

Beth Vild, junior English major and a member of the Women’s Liberation Collective, said she wants to show that there are a lot of people on campus who support abortion rights, and the collective is working to protect that choice.

She said her purpose is “basically to counter-protest the bigotry and racism of comparing genocide to a medical procedure.”

Harrington said there are different levels of abortion rights, in particular, the strong advocates and activists.

“To me, they deny the reality of what’s happening — abortion kills a baby,” he said. “Let’s face it, that’s the facts.”

The Genocide Awareness Project will be set up again in Risman Plaza today until 5:30 p.m. Members of the Women’s Liberation Collective said they will be outside protesting.

Vild said she wants to encourage students to “strengthen the pro-choice voice.”

“The abortion debate can be boiled down to one question: What is the unborn?” Harrington said. “If he is alive and he is human, then no justification for abortion is necessary or adequate, because he’s no different than my 4-year-old. He’s just a little bigger and a little more developed. Period.”

Contact general assignments reporter Angelo Gargaro at [email protected].

Contact student life reporter Brittany Wasko at [email protected].