Emotions and tempers ran high Wednesday as more than 50 CU students stood outside Hellems and the UMC in protest of an anti-abortion demonstration on campus.
Brought to CU by pro-life organization Justice for All and the CU club League for Life, the anti- abortion display has been causing a stir ever since it first appeared on campus Monday morning. Though the display had been scaled down to only three panels, many people from both sides took to the sidewalks to share their views.
“I’m tired of seeing this here every year,” said Melissa Grivy, a 21-year-old senior studying creative writing. “It’s a violation of women’s rights. Most of the people out here are middle-aged white men trying to tell me what to do with my body, and that’s bullshit.”
Grivy and other students stood in front of the tall anti-abortion display holding brightly colored signs with phrases such as, “Pro-Woman, Pro-Child, Pro-Choice,” “Hey JFA, Stop Victimizing CU,” and “Abortion does not equal Genocide.” They were often thanked and cheered by passers-by.
Justice for All also increased the number of volunteers that it brought to campus, including a large group of high school students from Dayspring Christian Academy in Greeley.
“We think it’s an important issue for high school students to be aware of before they come to college, so that they can be better prepared to discuss the issue amongst their peers when they do come to college,” said “Justice for All” mentor Tammy Cook. “I think that teenagers in high school are having sex, and if they are able to do that and become pregnant then they should be aware that the consequences of engaging in sexual intimacy before marriage might result in the death of a baby by abortion.”
The high school students made up a large part of the group’s volunteers, and they were able to engage many of the protesters in respectful conversation.
In between classes, the number of students pausing to discuss the issue greatly increased. Some CU students were not convinced by either demonstration, and spoke at length with volunteers from Justice for All and the protesting CU students.
“I don’t feel radically either way,” said Brendan Craine, an 18-year-old freshman Japanese major. “Sanctity of life aside,
there are situations where you just should not have a baby, and in those situations you should be able to get an abortion. At the same time, I think that there are good alternatives in a lot of cases, like adoptions. If there is any chance that the baby could live and potentially lead a full life, then those other options should be looked at. But I want to hear what they all have to say, because there is still room for me to be coerced.”
This type of conversation is exactly what League for Life, the CU club that brought Justice for All to campus, had in mind.
“The Justice for All displays create dialogue,” said Tiana Miller-Jackson, 21, a fifth year senior studying mechanical engineering and applied mathematics—and League for Life’s president. “A lot of times people keep their opinions about this [abortion] to themselves, but we want to get it out there. We want to show people what they don’t see when it’s not right in front of their faces.”
Some of the signs held by protesters did not directly attack the Justice for All campaign, but rather gave students information about pregnancy counseling services on campus.
“I wanted to come out and show that there are people who support the women who have been through this really difficult decision,” said Jenna Rabe, 27, a senior women’s studies major. “I want to show that there are resources for women who may in the future have to make this decision and that there are places on campus that support their right to choice.”
From every side of the issue, people agreed that the display got students talking and encouraged them to be aware about controversial issues.
“With this exhibit in particular, it isn’t even about whether you are pro-choice or anti-choice,” said Chloe Barrett-Page, a 21-year-old senior international affairs major. “Abortion is something that is really personal for a lot people, so I think the images are inappropriate, but I love the debate that it draws. I’m not sure that I think they shouldn’t be allowed on campus, but I think it’s really important to have the counter people here to support the other side.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Hadley Vandiver at Hadley.firstname.lastname@example.org.