An Ohio-based anti-abortion group posted a dozen photos of what it said were aborted fetuses along walkways and on a Jumbotron in the middle of Georgia Tech’s campus Monday.
The images were intended to disturb students, and they did. One turned in the other direction. Several shook their heads. A few yelled obscenities. Others debated the organizers.
“It’s kind of uncomfortable to see,” said Grace Kim, 26, a senior.
The group, Created Equal, visited Georgia Tech as the first stop of a weeklong tour of Georgia’s four largest public universities to encourage more students to become pro-life. Created Equal didn’t appear to make many converts, but it achieved another goal. The images caused a stir.
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“This is the victim of abortion, so we have to show it when we talk about abortion because this is why it’s wrong,” said Lexie Hall, 18, a Houston, Texas native who spoke on behalf of the group about the images.
Some students called campus administrators to complain. A few addressed their concerns with campus police. One campus group, Young Democratic Socialists of America, drew their own signs and collected money for Planned Parenthood.
“They’re just trying to shame people,” said counterdemonstrator Brooke McKenzie, 19, a second-year biology student.
Created Equal, which has visited campuses in Michigan and Texas, properly filled out paperwork beforehand to appear in various spaces at the four Georgia schools as part of their freedom of expression policies, the local schools said. The other Georgia universities are Georgia State, Kennesaw State and the University of Georgia.
Most Georgia Tech students were unaware of the group’s presence. Seven members of Created Equal — all college age, none from Georgia — handed out pamphlets. They asked students their thoughts on abortion or “does this shock you?” as they walked toward the explicit images. Many students ignored the group. A few students said the photos were inaccurate. Some took their own pictures of the photos.
Created Equal founder Mark Harrington said via email the group chose Georgia because it is becoming an election battleground state and for its role in the national abortion debate.
Gov. Brian Kemp earlier this year signed legislation that would have outlawed most abortions once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity — usually around six weeks of pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant. A federal judge last month temporarily blocked the law from taking effect.
Some students said they supported the group’s goals. Gabriella Ajibade, 19, a second-year student with strong Christian beliefs, said she knew someone who recently had an abortion.
“I wasn’t expecting (the images), but abortion is wrong,” she said. “It’s something everyone should see.”
Aldo Rogliero, 23, a senior, did not support Created Equal’s strategy.
“It’s not an appropriate setting for this kind of important topic,” he said.
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