Student abortion activists at Cornell University protested a debate about abortion last week, arguing that even an academic debate on the divisive subject could “traumatize” students.
The pro-abortion students appear to have been peaceful and did not interrupt the debate. However, the protest and the students’ comments add to growing concerns about censorship of pro-life advocates and conservatives, especially on college campuses.
Campus Reform reports student abortion activists with Cornell’s Planned Parenthood Generation Action protested the debate on Thursday, claiming it “normalized the idea that it is okay to control people’s bodies.” The university Democrats’ club also supported the protest, according to the report.
The debaters were Ithaca College professor Jonathan Peeters and pro-life advocate and Blackstone Legal Fellowship faculty member Stephanie Gray.
In a Facebook post, the pro-abortion group said its goal was “to be a strong presence for reproductive rights and to provide support for anyone who may need it as this may be a traumatizing event for many people to hear their rights and bodily autonomy being questioned and judged.”
The group also encouraged pro-abortion students to wear pink and hold signs supporting the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
Here’s more from the report:
PPGA Cornell chapter leader Zoe Maisel told Campus Reform that the protest was intended to provide more exposure to Planned Parenthood and its services.
Though PPGA did not stop anyone from attending or speaking, Maisel believed that the debate did not provide constructive dialogue.
“We like to focus our energy on community education and community building and creating safe spaces,” she explained. “That isn’t necessarily what is happening in tonight’s debate so we want to create a space where we focus our energy, not on debating, but creating a welcoming space to learn.”
Pro-life advocates, students in particular, increasingly have become targets of hostility and censorship. Some have had to fight to start pro-life clubs or hold pro-life events on their college campuses.
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Students for Life documented at least 40 incidents of vandalism alone in the past five years against its pro-life students groups. A new interactive map displays the places where its clubs have been victims of vandalism.
This fall, vandals destroyed pro-life student displays at both Northern Kentucky University and St. Louis University. Campus Reform reported two other instances of vandalism just this week: one at the University of Florida and another at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.
A few weeks ago, a professor at San Jose University also allegedly threatened to “ beat the s— out of” pro-life students who were protesting on campus. A university spokeswoman said they are investigating.
In March, a pro-life student display at the University of Colorado at Boulder was vandalized, and another one was vandalized in April at Texas State University. Yet another was vandalized at Fresno State University in California in May, allegedly by a professor.
“Other incidences of violence against our group include: Administrators destroying chalkings at Kutztown University, vandals throwing paint on a display at Portland State University, and a display of graduation cords (to highlight ‘missing students’ who were killed by abortion) at University of Miami,” according to Students for Life.