At eight weeks, the hand barely covers the lead on a pencil tip. At nine weeks, both its hands fit onto a dime, and at 24 weeks, the body is distinctly recognizable as a newborn baby. Graphic and disturbing images like this were displayed Monday and Tuesday on campus and caused students to voice their opinions on abortion.
Justice For All (JFA) is a nonprofit, right to life group, which represents Students for Bio-Ethical Equality. JFA also has a campus club that helped to put on the two-day exhibit.
“(The program) is a dialogue about different issues including abortion, the death penalty, stem-cell research and cloning,” Cal Poly JFA President Matt Esswein said.
“The majority of the people we talk to have never seen images like this before,” JFA volunteer Matt McKinley said.
Esswein said the group would like “to be able to talk with 1,000 students to really allow a majority of the campus to see the exhibit.”
The exhibit displays images of what a woman’s breast will look like after the removal of breast cancer and the display claimed that breast cancer, suicide, problems with future pregnancy, cervical cancer, loss of fertility and death are health risks that come with having an abortion.
McKinley said he believes that the display is a good thing for people who might consider abortion in the future.
“Most of these women have not been told about the health risks (abortion poses),” McKinley said. “Who would want to make a choice without knowing all the information? Our goal is going to college campuses with our exhibit (to inform people).”
The exhibits were displayed on the University Union Plaza and on Dexter Lawn. The group members said they understand the images are disturbing, and placed disclaimers in the brochures along with warning signs before students approached the exhibit.
“I see it’s controversial. I see why they did it, especially if you go to Planned Parenthood, they talk about (the fetus) as a cluster of cells,” Trent Thacker, computer engineering junior said. “This makes it brutally clear in a possibly offensive way. We talk about it in a very abstract way. Most people don’t have a clue of what’s going on with it.”
According to the program’s brochure, “nearly one in three children conceived in America is being violently killed in the womb.”
The group claimed that 40 million people have died so far during, what the group calls “The American Unborn Genocide,” which they said began in 1973 and continues today.
Free speech boards near the exhibits allowed students to express their opinion. Comments on the board included: “Abortion is not genocide,” “Making it illegal will not save our problem. It will only exacerbate things even more,” and “We all die, how long should we live – 100 years? 5 weeks?”
The group’s brochure suggested that in order to help save women and babies from irreparable harm, they should save sexual intimacy for marriage, choose adoption or visit confidential unplanned pregnancy centers.
Justice For All visits around 12 campuses every year in about nine trips, McKinley said. To contact the university’s group, send an e-mail to justiceforall.calpoly.gmail.
“I first saw the exhibit back in ’02. At that point I realized we’re killing 4,000 people a day,” McKinley said.