Anti-abortion advocates cause commotion on SBCC campus

City+College+student+Clio+Gentry+argues+her+point-of-view+on+pro-abortion+rights+to+a+fellow+student%2C+Thursday+afternoon%2C+Oct.+15%2C+on+West+Campus.+A+group+of+students+gathered+in+front+of+the+Luria+Library%2C+where+Project+Truth+had+set+up+anti-abortion+signs+showing+graphic+images.

Daniel Feldtkeller

City College student Clio Gentry argues her point-of-view on pro-abortion rights to a fellow student, Thursday afternoon, Oct. 15, on West Campus. A group of students gathered in front of the Luria Library, where Project Truth had set up anti-abortion signs showing graphic images.

MEGAN ROBERTS-KING, Associate Editor

Enraged and curious onlookers gathered in front of large posters picturing aborted fetuses presented by the Christian anti-abortion group Project Truth that visited City College this week.

Many students expressed their concerns about the protesters on West Campus, and some even held up their own signs to show voice their opposition.

“This pisses me off,” said business major Sky Estrada as she stopped on her way to class. “It really makes me mad because it can trigger memories for people who have actually had to go through this.”

Students passing by the Project Truth anti-abortion outreach stop and gather to hear debates and to discuss opinions on the subject, Thursday afternoon, Oct. 15, on West Campus.
Daniel Feldtkeller
Students passing by the Project Truth anti-abortion outreach stop and gather to hear debates and to discuss opinions on the subject, Thursday afternoon, Oct. 15, on West Campus.

The group was founded in Sacramento, and is made up of volunteers who travel to many different high schools and colleges in an attempt to spread their beliefs about abortion.

One of the members, Mary Rose, handed out pamphlets to observers and shared her opinion regarding the controversial issue. The booklets provided were filled with the graphic photographs of the abortion process as well as fast facts to support their claims.

“We know from biology that every abortion ends the life of a human being,” Rose said. “I believe that every human being deserves human rights, purely because they are human, not due to other attributes.”

Environmental studies major Tiarnan Nelson was not afraid to be vocal about his disagreement.

“We are talking about a moral dilemma, not a biological one,” Nelson said.

UCSB has dealt with the same group in the past, with the conflict ending in a professor being charged for battery.

Campus security officers kept a watchful eye nearby as heated debates broke out between members of the group and students.

William Wilberforce, one of the leaders of the organization, frequently interrupted the arguments.

“You can argue all you want, but you have no facts to support what you say,” he said.

The tension arising from the protest left some asking how such a sensitive topic could be allowed to be present on campus.

“This is supposed to be a safe place for everyone to receive their education at,” said second year student Alyssa McLaughlin. “We shouldn’t have to come to school and feel uncomfortable or feel put down or discriminated against. I don’t think that’s okay.”

All groups that plan to hold an event or hand out literature at City College must fill out paperwork and pay a fee at least a week in advance to the Office of Student Life.

The rules on the back of the application clearly outline that the distribution of materials must not interfere with a student’s ability to attend classes or interfere with any nearby classrooms.

Because the West Campus walkway is one of the free speech zones, anti-abortion protests cannot be denied, even if it may be offensive to some students.

“I’ve had numerous phone calls, emails and people showing up in person telling me how upset they are and I listen,” said Amy Collins, the adviser of student life. “I am heartbroken that the students are upset that these people are on campus. That hurts me. But I also respect anyone’s right to share their opinion, however extremely different it is from mine.”

Members of Project Truth said that the group will not be returning this semester.