Matthew Vaughn argues with students as they tear up pamphlets during a demonstration in the quad by the organizations Project Truth, Genocide Awareness Project and Center for Bioethical Reform on April 15, 2019. Vaughn first identified himself as John Newton. (JAMES CHAN/ Golden Gate Xpress)

 

Hundreds of SF State students protested a two-story-tall anti-abortion banner covered in graphic images in front of the Cesar Chavez Student Center Monday.

About 10 anti-abortion activists, part of the Project Truth California, Genocide Awareness Project and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, stood behind low metal fences surrounding the 360-degree-banner display from 8 a.m until 7 p.m.

The anti-abortion activists, affiliated with Evangelical Christian groups, held GoPros and wore body cameras to record reactions of students protesting the graphic display.

The activists showed images of holocaust victims, black men being lynched and unborn fetuses, arguing abortion is equal to genocide as they tried to hand out pamphlets.

“The fact that they are recording all of it so that they could possibly do something with it is disgusting,” said Natalie Hurd, a student protester. “And the way that they analogize [abortion] with the Nazis and [slavery] is completely irrelevant—it doesn’t apply to this.”

Associate Director of Student Activities and Events Mia Reisweber said the content of the banners incites anger among students instead of providing insight or understanding.

The anti-abortion demonstration incited a protest that drove students to attempt to access President Leslie Wong’s fifth-floor office in the Administration Building at 2 p.m.

The crowd of about 30 student protesters was limited to the fourth floor of the building as they demanded to speak with Provost Jennifer Summit to remove the anti-abortion activists from campus.

Mona Sagapolutele, executive assistant to the provost, told protesters that Summit was not on campus, but that an email was sent out on April 12 warning students about the graphic imagery on the displays.

Sagapolutele said the anti-abortion display was sanctioned by the University, and is scheduled to be on campus Tuesday and Wednes-
day.

A petition to remove the anti-abortion demonstration was started on Change.org in the afternoon on Monday. As of press time it had 23 signatures.

The University put out warning signs at walkways on campus, but the petition argues they were too spread out.

Throughout the day, students stomped and spit on posters and proceeded to chant, “Take it down,” “get a real job,” and “fuck you, Carole,” repeatedly.

Student protesters carried signs bearing sayings like “my body, my choice” and “don’t call yourself pro-life if you only value certain lives.”

At one point Carole Vaughn, an anti-abortion activist, asked protesters, “Why are you triggered?” as she stood between the metal fence and images of an aborted fetus juxtaposed by dead people.

Representatives of Generation Action SF, a student affiliate of Planned Parenthood, provided counseling services for people who experienced
post-traumatic stress due to the images.

“For the people who have been through the procedure [abortion]—like how the fuck are they supposed to walk through campus with pictures
like this up here?” Generation Action President Citlali Mosqueda said. “So we are just trying to be here for students as a counter-voice, make sure students are safe and that the other side of the narrative is always portrayed.”

Cesar Arevalo, an SF State student, said the anti-abortion demonstrators are trying to get a reaction from students to drive their narrative
forward.

“They come here every year and they know what they’re getting into every year they come,” Arevalo said.

Amanda Peters, a biology graduate student, said the University did not consider the diversity of its student population when it sanctioned the
demonstration for three days.

“This is a big betrayal by SF State administration to their own student body, sadly,” Peters said. “I think anybody who could stand in front of photos that show such violence and smile and encourage it in that way is void of humanity.”

Doug, a member of the Truth Project who refused to give his last name, said these photos of the unborn children and black men being lynched
is the same because it is all killing.

“We believe this is the truth, we are in defense of the unborn child,” he said. “What we have found is there is nothing better than pictures—and
the bigger the picture the better.”

Hurd said this anti-abortion demonstration was the wrong way to get a point across, and it creates chaos, especially in such a culturally diverse city like San Francisco.

Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Luoluo Hong was unavailable for comment as of press time.

Hurd said this anti-abortion demonstration was the wrong way to get a point across, and it creates chaos, especially in such a culturally diverse city like San Francisco.

Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Luoluo Hong was unavailable for comment as of press time.

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