Today, the Plaza is set to be a little – OK, let’s face it, a lot – less cluttered. Justice for All, the anti-abortion group that set up giant billboard-size displays of bloody, mangled fetuses, has packed up.
But for Rebeccah Pedrick, it’s just another day. The 23-year-old who comes from a Christian conservative family is off to set up her display at another college, to another crowd.
Justice for All travels across the country, spreading its message that abortion is a moral issue rather than a religious one, trying to visit about one campus a month.
The group is pinned with charges of extremism, and it’s easy to understand why considering its attention-grabbing tactics.
But Pedrick is steadfast in her beliefs: Every human, regardless of developmental stage, ought to have the chance to live.
“(Abortion) should be unthinkable and that is what I’m personally trying to help people realize,” she said. “The facts about abortion are ugly, but that doesn’t mean our manner has to be.”
Maybe not the group’s manner, but the tactics are a different story, some students said.
Charlie Hoehn, a junior marketing major who identifies himself as pro-choice, said the photos were simply used for shock value.
“I don’t see the need for the exhibit to return,” he said. “You can’t get much accomplished by using disgusting photos and 18-foot-tall posters. If anything, they turned me away from any (potential) discussion.”
Pedrick wouldn’t argue with that. She said the group has a smaller exhibit that’s used mostly for educational purposes, but that it doesn’t grab people the same way – which is a goal of the group.
And Justice for All did have its supporters. Katie Winkler, a junior pro-life human development and family studies major, was one of them.
“People say how horrible and disgusting the pictures are, and I agree with them,” she said. “But abortion is horrible and disgusting, too. The pictures just show the reality.”
Hoehn said he doesn’t ask why the photos are up there, but rather, is simply turned off by them.
“I focus on my gut reaction,” he said.
Pedrick, however, said that some will feel that way, but others may rethink the way they see the issue. And that’s the ultimate goal.
“If I can get people to consider things differently today than they did Monday morning, I can feel I’ve done my job,” she said.
Whether she’s done her job, according to her, is for each student to decide.
Staff writer Nikki Cristello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.