In honor of Genocide Awareness Month, the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform erected 20-foot posters of graphic abortion images as part of its Genocide Awareness Campaign on the Free Speech Lawn Tuesday.
Brett Waterfield, the director of student life and development at California State University, Long Beach, said that the school must remain content neutral when allowing students to host events on campus.
“The genocide awareness event is sponsored by a student organization here on campus,” Waterfield said. “We have to support the students’ first amendment rights to express their views… we have to respect our students’ voices and opinions and beliefs and so forth.”
In order for such an event to be approved, a registered student organization must ensure that appropriate time, place, approval and manner regulations are followed. The Catholic Newman club hosted CBR.
In 2006, the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals established that public universities could reasonably control the time, place and manner of expression on campus to allow the maximum flow of ideas so university students and faculty can push the sociological edges of culture forward.
“We want to educate students about abortion,” Kevin Olivier, the director of operations for the CBR, said. “To let them know it is an act of violence that decapitates and dismembers human beings. The pictures provide evidence for our claim.”
The annual campaign features large, graphic images of fetuses and the abortion process and has been met with mixed feedback from students.
“I feel like picture of weird fetuses… I feel like that is very disgusting to have that, and it’s not an effective strategy,” said Andres Lopez, a sophomore film major and volunteer for the counter-protest by the United for Reproductive and Gender Equity club. “It’s kind of like fear mongering.”
The signs and photos are graphically detailed with the intentions of getting students’ attention, said Christopher Page, vice president of the CNC.
“Human beings… are killed and then sucked out in pieces… and its perfectly legal…” Page said. “We have to get everyone’s attention, and these signs are appropriate.”
URGE plans to protest the Genocide Awareness Campaign for as long as they choose to stay at CSULB.
“Our goal is to get them banned from campus because of how uncomfortable it makes people feel,” said Karina Sarabia, a sophomore English education major and board member for URGE.
The CBR will be protesting abortion on the free speech lawn in front of the campus bookstore until Wednesday at 4 p.m.