Letter from the Senior Copy Editor: The potentially traumatizing anti-abortion displays at the Clocktower


Jessica DeMarco-Jacobson

Photo of the Thomas Y. Whitley Clock Tower.

   Dear Readers,


   We ultimately decided as a publication that writing about the traumatizing anti-abortion demonstration held by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform on Main Campus would be counter-productive. What this organization wants is attention; their imagery is purposeful; they want to elicit anger and frustration from people on campus. Instead, we decided to warn students about the location of the demonstration so that they could avoid seeing the imagery. Personally, I decided the best way for me to help was to redirect students away from the demonstration by holding up signs around key areas on campus. 


   Now, there are a few other things I would like to say. Firstly, CSU does not have the power to deny CBER’s request to hold their demonstration on campus. This is for several reasons. Firstly, CSU is a public university, meaning they are bound by law to uphold the First Amendment on campus. Secondly, the organization does not technically break any of the provisions or procedures in CSU’s Freedom of Expression policy. Lastly, if CSU tried to pursue legal action, they would likely lose the lawsuit, thereby inadvertently funding CBER with the money they win from the lawsuit. The organization has a history of winning lawsuits against other colleges, as evidenced by this case against Indiana University. Please be aware that the link contains discussions of graphic imagery and abortion.


   While I do not support CBER or their tactics, I understand that CSU was not in the position to take action. To put it simply, CSU cannot deny any peaceful protest held on campus because they are legally obligated to encourage the discussion of different views.


   With that being said, I do think that CSU needs to update their Freedom of Expression policy to prevent potentially traumatizing imagery from being shown on campus. CBER display of extremely graphic and disturbing pictures, which they claimed to be of aborted fetuses, juxtaposed next to photos of Holocaust and lynching victims. 


   As a Jew, I found their comparison of abortion to the Holocaust to be both distasteful and disrespectful. CBER used my people’s generational trauma to promote their fear-mongering platform, and I find that completely unacceptable. It is not their trauma to use. 


   I heard my fellow students make similar complaints about the organization’s imagery, that their comparison of abortion to genocide and lynching was distasteful to their people’s history. Several of my friends stopped by to speak to me, and some of them told me they considered or already decided to skip classes for the day to avoid seeing the upsetting imagery. 


   What warmed my heart, in spite of CBER’s attempts to incite fear in the student body, was the number of students who came by to offer us food and water. It also warmed my heart to see the Georgia Department of Public Health handing out helpful information on family planning—content that can actually help people make informed decisions on whether or not to have children. 


   With all this being said, I do hope CSU makes the appropriate changes to prevent similar demonstrations from occurring on campus in the future. If you are in need of contraception, information on family planning, or reproductive education, please visit the Student Health Center on Main Campus or get in contact with Cougars for Autonomy and Agency. All the best,

Jessica DeMarco-Jacobson