Laney College student Mer Stevens organized a counter demonstration against the "racist and sexist" anti-abortion group."
An anti-abortion group caused quite a stir on campus when they arrived at Laney College March 8. The group showcased banners with graphic images of dismembered fetuses.
“We came to campus to educate students about the truth about abortion,” said Don Blythe, member of the Sanctity of Human Life Network’s ‘Project Truth.’ He said many students people don’t actually know what an abortion looks like. “People don’t know what abortion is, it’s just a word, but when you put the reality of abortion on a picture the words have meaning.”
Mer Stevens of the Laney International Socialist Organization (ISO) responded by organizing a counter demonstration. Another woman at the ISO’s table asked why all “Project Truth” missionaries were men, including two children. Jonathan Whueller, with the anti-abortion group, quickly responded, "They're in the library."
Vice-President of Student Service Dr. Donald Moore apologized in a March 9 email sent out to the campus faculty and staff listserv for the display being on campus during International Womens' Day and Womens' History Month.”
|"We’re here specifically targeting African American students so they can be educated to know it is genocide. We’re losing our race at a rate that is astronomical."|
But after someone allegedly spat at Blythe as he prepared to leave on Monday afternoon. He then called for local reinforcements.
Bay Area Pastor Walter Hoye and his wife, Lori, came Tuesday to show “what actually happens inside an abortion clinic.” Both Pastor Hoye and his wife are Black.
“We’re here specifically targeting African American students so they can be educated to know it is genocide,” Lori Hoye said. “We’re losing our race at a rate that is astronomical.” The Hoye's are both African America, while Stevens and Blythe are of European descent.
|"Abortions save women's lives. Women should be the final authority on how their lives are lived."|
“Abortions save women’s lives,” Stevens said. “Women should be the final authority on how their lives are lived.”
|“Every time I see that, it keeps bringing up what I’ve been through in the past. I know for many women, who’ve had abortions, they don’t want to keep reliving it everyday.”|
Laney College student
A Laney College student and a recent mother, who previously had an abortion, said she understands both sides. She has friends who’ve also had abortions who are still dealing with post-abortion trauma and felt the images should not be displayed prominently on campus.
“Every time I see that, it keeps bringing up what I’ve been through in the past,” she said. “I know for many women, who’ve had abortions, they don’t want to keep reliving it everyday.”
|"I’m sure these pictures hurt people’s feelings, but it’s the truth. The truth does hurt."|
Pastor Walter Hoye
“Wouldn’t you publish that picture?” Hoye asked, referring to the iconic civil rights image. “I’m sure these pictures hurt people’s feelings, but it’s the truth. The truth does hurt.” He added that women also come up to him and thank him for displaying the images.
Hoye was jailed in 2008 under Oakland’s “Bubble Ordinance” which bars protesters from coming within eight feet of anyone entering an abortion clinic.
Moore said the same group was also “involved in litigation with Peralta over their visit to COA about (two) years ago.”
In 2008, three members of an anti-abortion group were arrested at COA and charged with trespassing, according to the Laney Tower. The “Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust” were asked to leave campus after failing to follow campus procedures.
Blythe said he was warned that there would be serious opposition to Project Truth’s message at Laney College. But, with one exception, he found students to be “very respectful” whether they agreed or not.”
“That’s what America is about,” Blythe said,” being able to have a civil debate.”
Moore’s email concluded, “Ultimately, having both views of an issue presented provides a richer environment for our students.”
On March 1, the group began their spring tour at Chabot College while they landed at San Jose City College on March 15. For information about SOHLNET, visit their website. You can also learn more about the International Socialist Organization (ISO).