Pro-life protest

Students and faculty alike were faced with the graphic reality of the nature of abortions last Friday, when Survivors, a pro-life group, held a demonstration outside of the HUC during lunch hours. Images of sliced fetuses were exhibited across the front of display boards alongside informational signs explaining the detailed process of abortions and as well as alternatives to abortions.

They went for the shock value. I guess it worked because people did really notice them. But Im not sure I liked the looking at the images. Especially around lunch they went for shock value. i guess it worked because people did really notice them. but im not sure i liked looking at the images. especially around lunch

they went for shock value. i guess it worked because people did really notice them. but im not sure i liked looking at the images. especially around lunch said Erin Large, a freshmen majoring in biology at UAB.

The Survivors mission statement reads, we believe that it is not enough to know that abortion is wrongwe are called to expose the horrific truth to the world.

Im for abortion; only because I feel like everyone should be able to have their own choice with what they want to do with their lives and bodies. If I was against it, I would be taking that right away from someone, Large said.

Several pro-life organizations were involved in the demonstration at UAB as a part of a campaign called the Birmingham Letter Project that defends the right for free speech in public arenas outside of local abortion clinics, colleges, and high school campuses. As a part of the campaign, the images were displayed at UAB last week.

About the pictures: First of all, dont kill the messengers. I believe it should make people angry. And I believe that people should be offended, but not at the person showing the truth. To me, its the same thing as the holocaust pictures. Looking at those images were horrible but the truth was shown so that it wouldnt happen again.  And for us showing these images are showing truth and you need to know this because youre not going to see it anywhere else. You cannot turn on your TV and see the reality and the truth of an abortion; of ending a human life. If youre going to be angry be angry at the act in itself, because obviously there is deception, said Fr. Terry Gensemer.

One of the Survivors, Kristina Garza, returned to UAB after being arrested last year on campus for demonstrating in the HUCs public square. Garzas arrest was related to a previous arrest of the Survivors at Parker High School last year, which was overturned.

While they were in jail (Survivors team, Park High School arrest) the city tried to charge them with violating a parade ordinance that was used to hold Martin Luther King in jail during the Civil Rights Movement, and no one has challenged this ordinance since the 1960s. So, as part of our lawsuit with the city for unlawfully arresting our team, we were challenging that ordinance, and we were granted an injunction. The injunction stated that we were allowed to hold an event without fear or threat of arrest in any public park, street, or public forum in Birmingham. The city agreed that we would not be arrested or threatened with arrest. The first part of our event at Lynn Park went over very smoothly. The second part of our event was to be held at UAB, Garza said.

Garza and other Survivors arrived at UAB last year to follow through with the event granted by the injunction. We came and within minutes of set-up, an administrator told us we could not stand there because it was private property. I asked if it was private or public and he would not answer. When I tried to introduce myself he refused to look at me and he informed us that if we did not move he would call the police. At that point we were in the quad area outside of the HUC. The police arrive and within 10 minutes Bud and I were in handcuffs at the HUC, Garza said.

She and her coworker were held in handcuffs in the back of a police vehicle for 3 hours in 105 degree weather, while police officers negotiated the charges they were being held for. They were then released on account of there being no legitimate cause for their arrest.

My arresting officer told me that I could not video tape, and that was the cause for my arrest. We video tape for our own protection. When I asked why I was being arrested he told me for criminal trespassing, which is completely wrong. Its a public school. We told him it was public property and we had a right to free speech, but the officers did not understand. Because of the injunction, Birmingham city jail would not accept us into the jail, so the UAB police officers had to let us go. For us, we took that as a sign that we really needed to come back today, Garza said, Justice has been completely restored. You can see we are having a peaceful outreach. Students are able to take our literature and you can see we are able to have a peaceful outreach now. We were fully expecting to be arrested, Garza said.

The Survivors returned to UAB on Friday after a morning of sidewalk counseling and prayer outside of New Women, All Women, an abortion clinic that borders the edge of campus.

People have free speech rights in public forum. There is strength in numbers, and you just need to speak out because the law is on your side. Im old enough to remember the 60s and people were arrested. I didnt necessarily agree with all of the war protests but they paved the way for free speech because up until that point it wasnt allowed. A public campus is a government campus and the government cannot suppress free speech rights unless they have a legitimate reason to do so, said Dana Cody, a lawyer from Life Legal. Cody flew to Birmingham from the Life Legal base in Napa, California to provide legal representation for the Survivors during their time in Birmingham.

The abortion clinic, which was bombed a little over a decade ago, holds an injunction against the 9 people involved in the bombing. The injunction states that those specific individuals are not allowed on the premise or direct sidewalk of the clinic. However, multiple signs outside of the abortion clinic read that any pro-life activist or person affiliated with the pro-life movement at large are not allowed to demonstrate or be found on the public sidewalk directly outside of the clinic. The Survivors challenged the signs on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday by offering sidewalk counseling, and prayer on the sidewalk. Before challenging the signs, the Survivors met with law enforcement to explore the laws in the area, and were representated by Life Legal law firm. Although the police were called numerous times, no arrests were made outside of the clinic.

They have been intimidating every single person who walked by that clinic to pray. They are telling them that they have to pray or demonstrate across the street, which is completely unlawful and it is not in the injunction. That clinic cannot call the shots anymore. They do not own that sidewalk. If the signs stay up, it shows the foolishness of the clinic because people are able to stand there and no one will go to jail, Garza said.

The Survivors mantra is to challenge the current norms and perspectives on abortion. To find out more about their cause you can visit

they didnt change my opinion, but they definitely increased awareness. a lot of people dont realize that it is such a serious issue. they either havent experienced it or known anyone to have to go through a situation involving abortion, but now it was put in front of their faces. youre kind of forced to think about it

They didnt change my opinion, but they definitely increased awareness. Alof of people dont realize that it is such a serious issue. They either havent experienced it or known anyone to have to go through a situation involving abortion, but now it was putin front of their faces. Youre kind of forced to think about it, Large said.

Sherei Lopez-Hardin…

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