Constructive Debate

Oct 012008
Authors: Johnny Hart

Anti-abortion organizers decided to limit next year’s annual protest exhibit, which has garnered a large amount of controversy on the Lory Student Center Plaza this year, after about 50 peaceful protestors sat in the Plaza against the display Wednesday.

Justice For All, the organization presenting the exhibit, allowed the student protestors to remain in the exhibit area, where the organization has been permitted to display since Monday.

The protestors, however, were required to have an open debate with JFA director David Lee to remain at the exhibit.

“We’re excited when students show passion about an issue that is vital to our country. Fruitful dialogue is a necessary catalyst to further the rights and protect unborn children,” said Tammy Cook, director of field operations for JFA.

And the student protestors agreed.

“If we get a crowd of people to wake up at seven in the morning to make a statement, it says more than other ways (of protesting),” said Sam Bowersox-Daly, a junior sociology major. “It sends a better message than vandalism and senseless verbiage.”

Bowersox-Daly and junior political science major Melisa Panagakos brainstormed the idea of the protest, but did not want to take credit as the protest’s leaders.

The protest remained peaceful, as was planned by Bowersox-Daly and Panagakos.

Word of the protest was spread via word-of-mouth, according to Bowersox-Daly and Panagakos, who avoided mass text messages and Facebook invitations.

The students passed out a letter stating the intentions of the protest and signed it

from “Concerned Colorado State University Students”.

“Those who gathered today feel that your display is intrusive, insensitive, over whelming and therefore inappropriate on a college campus,” the letter said. “The pure magnitude of your display keeps the voices of students who oppose your display from being heard.”

Panagakos said the display is inappropriate and offensive and that it is too prominent to avoid it. Cook justified the display, saying that its graphic nature fits the action it portrays.

“It does not match the official definition of obscene, but we do agree that (the images) are disturbing,” said Cook. “Most forms of injustice are very rarely visually appealing.”

Lee questioned whether showing aborted fetuses is immoral, saying they make the images hard to avoid on purpose.

“If it is not morally wrong to have an abortion, then is it morally wrong to show an abortion?” Lee asked Panagakos.

She replied, “I would respect you more if I weren’t blinded by the exhibit.”

Bowersox-Daly said in an interview even pro-life people might be offended by the images.

“I think there are pro-life people that may show up, that agree with the ultimate message, but feel it inappropriate,” Bowersox-Daly. Students were pleased with the dialogue resulting from the protest.

“We were looking to find a way to get those voices heard,” Panagakos said.

“The common denominator among injustice is the devaluation of the human being involved,” Cook said.

She related the abortion images to the picture of Emmett Till’s open casket after being beaten and drowned.

The racially motivated death of Till, according to Cook, caused his mother to have an open casket, showing the atrocities begotten on her son and starting the civil rights movement.

“We’re opening the casket on abortion, just as Emmett Till’s mother opened the casket on racism,” Cook said.

Senior reporter Johnny Hart can be reached at

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