For the past week, anti-abortion groups Created Equal and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform have held demonstrations that display graphic abortion images at and around Tate Plaza. Placed in a prominent and well-trafficked part of campus, the demonstrations have gained a large amount of attention. The Red & Black decided to ask University of Georgia students whether they feel displaying graphic images are an effective way of advocating for the anti-abortion activists’ cause.
Claudia Pinou is a junior management information systems and international business double major.
“I guess so because there’s a shock factor to it. You see an image like that, and you’re just like, ‘Oh my god’ … But at the same time, I think having a demonstration based mostly on shock value kind of detracts from the argument too because you’re just putting those pictures up to get peoples’ attention … I personally didn’t stop to talk to any of the people [who were demonstrating], so I don’t know what they would have said to me.”
Lianna McAuliffe is a sophomore political science and English double major.
“They obviously have the right to do that. I don’t know if that necessarily helps push their point as much as it does just cause a lot of anger. I understand what they are trying to do … It’s very graphic and it’s very shocking … I personally do not support [abortion], but I think that it’s just causing a lot of anger and a lot of resentment on campus because I’ve seen a counter-protest as well, and I’ve seen a police presence.”
Dillon Doomstorm is a sophomore marine biology major.
“I think it is [effective]. It’s up front. It’s in peoples’ faces. It makes people see the truth … It’s not sugar-coated. You have to have an emotional response to it … I think it’s a little out there, but, I mean, if you want it done, you got to put it in peoples’ faces sometimes.”
Devin Rodgers is a junior computer science major.
“I don’t think [the demonstrations] are the most effective way, no … Images like the ones that were used, being as graphic as they were, are typically going to elicit a response from a very specific set of people, and the response that I think you’re going to get most of the time is not going to be very positive. For example, if you are in agreeance with the demonstrators, you’re probably not going to feel really compelled to go up and talk to them as much, whereas, if you’re in disagreeance, the sight of such graphic images is going to elicit a response that is more likely to have you go up to talk to them, and that may not always start things off on the right foot … especially politically or sensitive topics and areas, it’s probably not best to start those kind of conversations off with an edge or some might call ‘provocation.’ I think the best way to go about that is to start the conversation at an even tone.”
Alexa Rape is a junior journalism major.
“I love that Tate [Plaza] is used as a forum for free speech, but I think that the practices they have been using have become kind of disruptive on campus due to the graphic material they display … I think it’s kind of more triggering and draws more negative attention to the subject. Rather than highlighting a topic for a healthy discussion, it’s just a proponent of kind of unhealthy conversation and interaction about the topic on campus.”
CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this article did not include both anti-abortion groups. This has since been corrected. The Red & Black regrets these errors.