Students Protest AbortionThe University branch of the pro-life organization First Right stages a protest on the Lawn during a preschool Easter egg hunt, during which they placed white crosses on the Lawn as a symbolic "Graveyard of the Innocents." In retaliation against the protest, other University students place pro-choice posters around the Lawn in defense of women's right to choose.
Students Protest Abortion
By MANDY BILES
Cavalier Daily Associate Editor
The warm Lawn took on a chill yesterday as pre-schoolers frolicked in a mock graveyard while tensions mounted in a standoff between opposing sides of the abortion issue.
The University branch of First Right, a pro-life organization, staged an eight hour silent-protest yesterday which coincided with Alpha Tau Omega fraternity's Easter egg hunt for local pre-schoolers.
"We didn't know the (protest) was going to happen," said ATO pledge Jason Holland, third-year College student and egghunt planer [sic].
Because of upper Lawn renewal, the Easter egg hunt was crowded onto the lower Lawn with the crosses First Right members set up in their "Graveyard of the Innocents."
"We chose the white cross because it represents the universal symbol of a graveyard," said Helen Walter, fourth-year Engineering student and First Right president. "There are 187 children killed hourly in abortions and that is why we are here.
The First Right members manned a table and handed out pro-life literature starting 8 a.m.
Student responses to the "Graveyard" varied. Several stopped and read pro-life pamphlets, while others in opposition stopped and challenged the pro-life activists, said third-year Nursing student Tracey Pietron, who was working at the table.
Third-year College student Tara Kittle had a more extreme response.
â€œI got really upset when I saw the crosses, so I went home and grabbed some money," Kittle said. â€œI went to the bookstore and bought 20 posters, and then I came back to the Lawn."
When Kittle returned, she put her freshly painted pro-choice posters on the hill leading to the lower Lawn.
"l honestly thought people would come over and spit at me," she said. "Instead, over a hundred people stopped and sat down with me over the course of the day."
Second-year College student Carina Ecremen was one of the students who joined Kittle in her counter-protest.
"I'm not sure I would want to have an abortion," Ecreman said. "What is important is that women continue to be able to make their own choice."
Walter said First Right's silent protest is an annual event.
"We like to organize (the protest) in the Spring and around Easter," she said. "Everything outside symbolizes the beginning of life."
Pietron said yesterday's event was the fifth annual silent-protest.
The protests come as a conservative Supreme Court could overturn Roe v, Wade if given the opportunity.
Elizabeth Stark, a second-year College student and pro-choice supporter, said she fears the woman's right to choice may be taken away. She joined Kittle early in the protest.
"If it does get overturned, it will be a very sad day for women in America," she said. "For God's sake, you cannot deny a woman the right to make decisions about her own body."
Walter's opposing reaction to the possibility was just as impassioned.
"I hope the time will come when people realize a child, from the moment of conception, has the same right to life as every other human," she said.
|Tags||protests and demonstrations, student publications|
|Date Added||June 9, 2016|
|Date Modifed||December 24, 2017|
|Collection||Cavalier Daily: articles about gender discrimination|
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