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Archive for Wednesday, September 23, 1998

PROTEST PERSISTS OVER ABORTION DISPLAY AT KU

September 23, 1998

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In a news conference Tuesday, KU student leaders expressed their ongoing dismay over a graphic anti-abortion display.

Campus unrest mounted Tuesday over the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform's use of photos depicting lynchings and the Holocaust to promote an anti-abortion message at Kansas University.

Leaders from the Black Student Union, Pro-Choice Coalition, the Jewish student organization Hillel and other groups gathered on the sixth floor of the Kansas Union Tuesday to reiterate their protests to the center's methods.

Jonathan Macklin, KU senior and BSU executive board member, said the images irresponsibly force people to relive a terrible time in the country's history.

``We have come too far as a country in the last 20 or 30 years to go back,'' Macklin said.

Based in Mission Hills, Calif., the anti-abortion group put up a number of large murals Sunday on KU's Daisy Hill, then Monday in front of Strong Hall and Tuesday in front of Watson Library. Center representatives plan to hold a public forum at 7 p.m. Thursday in Budig Hall.

Hillel president Seth Weisblatt first heard about the display after Sunday services celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Weisblatt said the center's juxtaposition of Nazi death camps, racial lynchings and aborted fetuses ``watered down'' and ``trivialized'' the horrors experienced by Jews and blacks.

``What happened during World War II, you cannot compare that to abortion,'' Weisblatt said. ``To do that is to rid us of our heritage, to undermine the effects of the Holocaust on our people. And the pictures that are being used in this exhibit are insensitive, especially during this time of year.''

The center's spokespersons, who did not speak at the news conference, have maintained that abortion is genocide, and that the use of such graphic images is necessary to bring about important dialogue on the realities of abortion.

Thad Holcombe, campus pastor of Ecumenical Christian Ministries, countered that the group's methods trivialize racism, and that fundamentalists who declare their views to be the word of God are not trying to foster dialogue.

Members of the groups represented Tuesday night invited the public to join them in a campus protest march beginning at 12:30 p.m. Thursday near the Chi Omega fountain.

-- Matt Gowen's phone message number is 832-7222. His e-mail address is mgowen@ljworld.com.

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