Anti-abortion billboard truck sparks student discussion

Natalie Pillsbury

Diana Shope, freshman education major, waits for a bus yesterday as the Midwest Center for Bioethical Reform trucks drive around campus. “I think it’s a good idea,” Shope said.

Credit: Steve Schirra

If you were on campus yesterday and Monday, you may have noticed the billboard-sized trucks picturing aborted fetuses and the word “choice.” This is a campus tour titled “Reversing Roe” that has visited seven universities in the past two weeks.

The trucks were met with egg throwing, middle fingers and shocked looks, said Mark Harrington, executive director of the Center for Bio Ethical Reform.

“There were attempts from students to try to sabotage the effort,” Harrington said. “There are a lot of people at Kent State who do not have a functioning conscience.”

Hilda Pettit, coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center said she believes the Center Bio Ethical Reform has very little support on campus.

“My personal opinion is that these folks don’t even merit a response,” Pettit said. “Every woman has the right to have control of her own body and the choices she makes regarding it.”

The Center for Bio Ethical Reform was at Kent State because it is a large university in Ohio and Ohio is a political battleground state, Harrington said.

Harrington said the tour’s purpose is to “educate by bothering people.”

“Social reformers historically have always used pictures of injustice. It’s nothing new,” Harrington said. “We’re using graphic images to dramatize injustice.”

The Feminist Union did not organize a protest to the campus tour because they didn’t know how invasive the images would be, said Kristen Tassone, president of the Feminist Union.

“I was disgusted, quite frankly,” Tassone said. “They’re trying to win supporters by using sensationalist media and shock value.”

Pettit said the Women’s Resource Center is here to support all women on campus.

“It is not tasteful to parade these trucks around campus,” Pettit said. “It is not respectful of women who have had abortions and women who would never have an abortion. It is offensive.”

If a woman wants an abortion, the Women’s Resource Center is here to provide her with the resources and information she needs. “We don’t try to influence them either way”, Pettit said.

“You can’t have equality for women unless they have the right to their own body,” Tassone said. “Forcing a woman to bear a child is like using her body as a slave to create another person. It is stated in the constitution that we have a right to property. Your body is your property.”

The Women’s Resource Center is confidential. Anyone upset by the images on the trucks can go there for assistance.

“We would be happy to arrange counseling for anyone who needs it,” said Pettit.

The Feminist Union will be talking about the “Reversing Roe” campus tour in order to give students an outlet.

Meetings are held at 8 p.m. Mondays in room 314 of the Student Center and are open to everyone, regardless of his or her stance on any issue.

Contact general assignment reporter Natalie Pillsbury at [email protected].