Anti-abortion group Justice For All displayed graphic photos of aborted fetuses in the Arbor and in front of the UCen yesterday, provoking heated debate between its members, pro-choice groups and passersby.
The group, which states in its pamphlet that its goal is “to create debate, change hearts and save lives,” set up 18-foot-high steel frames holding panels with blown-up photos of aborted fetuses.
Justice For All, a national organization, is also a registered student group through the Office of Student Life.
Also depicted on the panels was information about various genocides throughout history. The group labeled abortion the “American Unborn Genocide” in its pamphlet to provoke discussion about whether or not it is humane to abort fetuses for any reason.
Justice For All public relations speaker Tammy Cook said she believed the disturbing visuals were necessary to get the attention of people who would otherwise dismiss the issue.
“We believe that the use of pictures speaks more explicitly than any amount of words can describe what abortion really is,” Cook said. “The pictures help show the violence that is being done to the unborn child, or fetus. We regret the disturbing nature of the photos, but it is the only way that we feel that this injustice can be exposed.”
Protestors gathered around the metal bars surrounding the exhibit, and displayed signs emblazoned with right-to-choose slogans while chanting, “My Body, My Choice.”
Sheila Johnson, a representative from Planned Parenthood and the Women’s Center, said she was present in the Arbor to support freedom of speech and to serve as a balance for those who wanted to hear another opinion on abortion.
“I believe everyone has the right to speak their mind, but I feel it is very important for women to decide what is best for them,” Johnson said.
Fourth-year sociology major Brittany Dryden stood in front of the displays in support of the pro-choice protesters at the exhibit.
“If [a woman has] made a mistake, I don’t think she should be forced to have a child,” Dryden said.
Paul McLaughlin, a third-year religious studies major and president of Justice For All’s UCSB chapter, said he supports the exhibit as a way to educate people about the realities of abortion, and to give unborn fetuses the chance to experience life.
“The unborn has no way to speak up,” McLaughlin said. “It has no choice.”
Lena Wilson, a third-year psychology major, said she expected pro-choice activists to react to Justice For All’s exhibit with fervor.
“I just think there’s going to be a backlash for such an extreme action,” Wilson said.