Anti-abortion group tries to persuade students at protest on the K

Senior+digital+media+production+major+Andrew+Suttman+debates+Seth+Drayer%2C+the+vice+president+of+Created+Equal.+The+nonprofit+organization+held+an+anti-abortion+protest+today+on+the+K+at+Risman+Plaza.

Alton Northup

Senior digital media production major Andrew Suttman debates Seth Drayer, the vice president of Created Equal. The nonprofit organization held an anti-abortion protest today on the K at Risman Plaza.

Alton Northup, Senior Reporter

Dozens of students gathered on the K at Risman Plaza Thursday in opposition to protesters from the anti-abortion non-profit organization Created Equal. The Columbus based group displayed large, graphic images depicting aborted fetuses in an effort to change the opinions of students on campus.

“The images are graphic because abortion’s graphic,” said Evangeline Abaffy, the program coordinator for Created Equal. “When I look at these images, I definitely have an emotional reaction to them.”

Isaac, pictured on the right, has a discussion with a Kent State student about his views on abortion at an anti-abortion demonstration on the K on Thursday, April 7. Isaac said he believes abortion is blatantly against what the Bible teaches. (Sophia Lucente)

The non-profit, which was founded in 2011 by Christian radio host Mark Harrington, travels across the country to over a hundred campuses and abortion clinics a year. The photos, Abaffy said, are taken by private photographers in real clinics and used to start a conversation.

“We want people to really think about it and not just take our word for it, for what we’re saying,” she said. “But to do their own research and … if they think that we’re wrong we challenge them to prove us wrong.”

Many students in attendance vocally disagreed with the group’s presence and use of the images.

“We don’t welcome them here, we don’t want them here,” said Andrew Suttman, a senior digital media production major who skipped class to attend the protest. He participated in several heated discussions with the group. “They don’t have reasonable arguments, and they’re here to hurt women and to, you know, attack women really. It’s disgusting.”

Abigail Hursh, a senior advertising major and abortion rights supporter, returned with a sign after seeing the demonstration while walking through campus.

“I think these images that they’re showing are really graphic and triggering,” she said. “I’m a student in the School of Media and Journalism, so I can respect the concept of free speech. But I think once it goes into harming someone, which these images do because I have seen it affect my residence because I’m an RA … I think that’s when it breaks the concept of free speech.”

Psi Davis, a horticulture major, agreed with the group’s right to protest but not the opinion or manner in which Created Equal chose.

“They’re basically just sitting people out here with video cameras to get yelled at, and it’s kind of stupid,” they said. “I think that these images should be available, all medical images should be available of any kind of procedure.”

As the demonstration went on students continued to gather, engaged in loud chants and conversed with members of Created Equal. Tensions grew high at one point when a student knocked down two signs, resulting in police intervention, but there was no arrest. Not everyone agreed with the response from the counter protesters.

“I don’t think it’s right,” said Lauren DePasquale, a freshman psychology major who stumbled upon the protest while walking to the library. “When you have one person against fifty, sixty people with one opinion, that’s different than fifty other opinions and you’re just screaming over one guy when he is just trying to bring [some] kind of awareness to a situation.”

DePasquale said she understands the argument for abortion in cases of rape and when the mother’s life is at risk but believes resources are best invested in sexual education.

“A lot of people grow up without sexual education, and that is partially why they have to do things such as abortion because they grow up and they don’t know how to be safe when they want to have intimate relationships,” she said.

Abaffy, who also worked as security for the demonstration, said the group is not necessarily focused on lobbying for legislative changes, which they would welcome, but they instead aim to change the personal opinions of young adults.

“We’re going to continue to be, you know, outside of college campuses, outside of high schools talking to people about abortion because we know, looking at history, people didn’t just change their mind when the law was changed,” she said. “They had to see true change in their hearts. So, that’s why we’re here to talk to people.”

Alton Northup is a senior reporter. Contact him at [email protected]