Kentucky College Sees Respectful Abortion Debate One Year After Vandalism

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 18, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Kentucky College Sees Respectful Abortion Debate One Year After Vandalism Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 18
, 2007

Highland Heights, KY ( — One year after Northern Kentucky University came under a national spotlight when abortion advocates vandalized and destroyed a pro-life display, groups on both sides of the abortion debate put up exhibits on campus that were peaceful and respectful.

Both the Northern Right to Life student group and the pro-abortion campus organization reserved space to put up competing exhibits — on the same day and in the same place.

But, unlike the attack pro-abortion students and a professor organized on the pro-life display last year, both groups agreed to watch over the other’s exhibit.

"I have no problem with it at all," junior Katie Walker, president of Northern Right to Life, told the Cincinnati Enquirer about sharing the space. "I think it’s great. This is what free speech is — two totally different points of view side by side."

Alex Kindell, president of Students for Choice, agreed, telling the newspaper, "It’s amazing that we’re on a campus where we can do this."

"At a lot of schools, opposing groups wouldn’t be able to do this," he added.

Last year, six students joined Sally Jacobsen, a British literature professor in destroying a display of crosses Northern Right to Life set up to memorialize the babies who have died from abortions.

They trashed the crosses and ripped up a sign that accompanied them and their actions were caught on film by a reporter from the student newspaper.

Jacobsen was charged with theft, criminal mischief and criminal solicitation but those charges were dropped after a court demanded that she apologize. Beforehand, she defended her actions and when the vandalism came under scrutiny, she encouraged the students not to talk to police and to get their own attorneys.

The court required Jacobsen to complete a mediation and she agreed to pay Northern Right to Life for the costs of the display. Jacobsen also made a $1,000 donation to the Madonna House, a Northern Kentucky crisis pregnancy shelter.

Jacobsen was suspended by Northern Kentucky University for the remainder of the school year and her classes given to other professors to complete. She has since retired and moved to Portland, Oregon.

The pro-abortion students were sentenced to perform community service in exchange for dropping charges against them. They were required to pay a $100 fine and issue letters of apology.

In September, three students who took part in the vandalism apologized.

The students wrote letters to the editor in the student newspaper expressing their views. Though they say they are sorry for vandalizing the display, at least two of the students wrote that they still believe the cross memorial was inappropriate.

The pro-abortion students who destroyed the pro-life display included: Michelle Cruey, 21, of Walton, KY.; Katie Nelson, 21, and Heather Nelson, 27, both of Dayton, Ky.; Stephanie Horton, 23, of Alexandria, Ky.; Sara Keebler, 25, of Cincinnati, Ohio and Laura Caster, 23, of Highland Heights, Ky.

Related web sites:
Northern Right to Life –