A month after a federal judge temporarily blocked Georgia’s new anti-abortion law from taking effect, a group that opposes the procedure plans to display graphic images and videos of aborted fetuses at four public universities this week, starting Monday at Georgia Tech.
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 preborn child is no less human than a born child,” Mark Harrington, president of the group, Created Equal, said in a news release. “Thus, to treat the preborn in a way we’d never treat a born person is a grievous violation of human equality. College students deserve to see the victims of this injustice and to know the science and reasoning behind defending the preborn.”
Created Equal has permits to visit Georgia Tech, Georgia State and Kennesaw State universities and the University of Georgia. The group plans to use a Jumbotron at various locations at the schools to display images to make “the case that abortion is age discrimination.”
All four schools, along with the University System of Georgia, said in statements that the organization properly completed paperwork to appear under their various freedom of expression policies.
“We are aware of Created Equal’s plans and have been in contact with organizers,” Georgia Tech said in a statement. “We have reserved space for this outside group in a designated outdoor area, which is consistent with how we handle all requests like this one. As a public university, we are committed to supporting freedom of expression on our campus.”
Georgia State sent a message to students alerting them about the organization’s planned presence on its main campus Wednesday in downtown Atlanta. The message was clear that the university is not excited about the upcoming appearance.
“You may wonder why your university would allow speech that is hateful or mean-spirited,” the message said. “However, the university has an important constitutional duty to uphold the free speech rights of all people, without regard to the content of their speech.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia sued the state, saying the new anti-abortion law violates a woman’s constitutional right to access abortion as determined by the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.
States across the country passed bills similar to Georgia’s this year, which anti-abortion activists said they hope will overturn the Supreme Court ruling. Federal judges in each state have temporarily blocked the respective laws from going into effect.
Lawyers will likely return to court early next year to argue the specifics of Georgia’s law. Attorneys for the ACLU said the new law is essentially a ban on abortions, but lawyers for the state said the procedure still could be performed before cardiac activity is detected.
Created Equal conducted similar events at some Michigan schools about three weeks ago. Telephone calls to the organization Friday were not immediately returned.
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