Editor’s note: Caution, this story contains some graphic images that may be offensive to some readers.
Anti-abortion activists held signs in the park blocks yesterday comparing abortion in America to the Holocaust.
The protest fell on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The day of observance is not a religious holiday, but corresponds to the day of the Hebrew calendar on which Israel commemorates the victims of the Holocaust.
The timing of the protest was “in extremely bad taste,” said Sam Falk, a senior French and International Affairs major who is Jewish.
“Fundamentalists always try to make comparisons to the Holocaust to support their cause, and end up doing the exact opposite,” said Falk.
The protestors seemed unaware of the day of remembrance. Jonathon O’Toole, a member of the California-based Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, said he “hoped” the timing wouldn’t be offensive.
The anti-abortion activists also held signs depicting larger-than-life aborted fetuses.
Alecia McCullough, a protester who said she was 25 weeks pregnant with her second child, said the signs were necessary to reach people.
McCullough’s first child, Anthony, was conceived when she was raped at the age of 14, she said. “I’m thankful that I didn’t go in and have an abortion.”
However, many were disturbed by the images.
“It’s very powerful, but it’s very gruesome,” said freshman communications major Jessica Johnston. “It gets their point across, but I don’t think it’s the right way to do it.”
“Choosing to have an abortion is already a stressful and emotional decision,” said Aimee Shattuck, director of the Women’s Resource Center in an email, “women do not deserve to be equated with Hitler and lynchers.”
Shattuck said the energy of those who disagree with the legal right to abortion might be better spent helping to “provide adequate resources for women and families, including jobs, health care, childcare, food, and housing.”
“The format [of the protest] does not do the issue justice,” said Chris Laing, a Lutheran Episcopal pastor who works at PSU’s campus ministries. In Laing’s opinion, the displays “exhibited poor taste and spurious reasoning.”
Lori O’Connor, a junior English major who opposes abortion, found the protest effective. “I know if I was on the other side, it would affect me,” she said. O’Connor also praised the protestors for their non-confrontational tactics. “It’s cool they’re not yelling at people.”
In all, 10 anti-abortion activists held signs and passed out literature. The group is supported by private donations, said Eric Milton, a protestor who has been on tour with Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust full-time for nine months.
Many of the images of fetuses were from a procedure called “partial birth abortion,” said Milton. “It’s a pretty rare procedure,” he said.