On Tuesday, officials at John Hopkins University (JHU) reversed their decision to ban a pro-life display that had appeared for decades at the school’s Spring Fair. FoxNews reports that the display was sponsored by the JHU Voice for Life group and had been featured at their fair for 30-years.
Initially, the models, which display unborn babies at various stages of development, were banned because a student committee and faculty advisors decided that they contained disturbing images. In an email to the JHU Voice for Life group, the school wrote, “We’ve reviewed your pictures with our advisers and have determined that your display contains triggering and disturbing images and content.”
However, Voice for Life immediately said the decision was discriminatory against pro-life views. The president of the pro-life group, Andrew Guernsey, said, “I certainly find it ironic that a university that has dedicated itself to the advancement of medicine and biology would find displaying medically accurate fetal models disturbing and offensive. Abortion is disturbing, that’s the reason we have such a table.”
He concluded, “I certainly find it ironic that a university that has dedicated itself to the advancement of medicine and biology would find displaying medically accurate fetal models disturbing and offensive. I mean, these are images shown in high school textbooks.”
The student committee explained in a statement to FoxNews that their first decision was wrong. They said, “We… were wrong in our initial decision and, upon further reflection, have decided we will not impose restrictions on the displays presented by any community groups at Spring Fair… The committee values free speech.”
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The president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Greg Lukianoff, explained that schools have tried to shut down pro-life groups on many occasions. He said, “Attempts to censor pro-life speech on campus has been a consistent problem throughout my entire career. Pro-life speech is often very unpopular speech on campus, and too many campuses and students have little tolerance for it.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time pro-abortion activists at JHU have tried to stop pro-life groups from having a voice on campus. As LifeNews previously reported, in 2013, a pro-abortion group at JHU submitted a complaint arguing that the their pro-life display constituted “harassment” and was able to remove “JHU Voice For Life” from being recognized as an official student group.
Kristan Hawkins, the President of Students for Life of America (SFLA), commented on this case by remarking, “Sadly, this pro-life group at Johns Hopkins University is not alone. Because the school is considered a ‘private university’ they believe they have the right to limit the free speech of students. Time and time again we have seen this happen, especially on ‘private’ college campuses, where a handful of students believe it is their duty to limit discussion of abortion on campus. College is where you should be forced to think about hard issues like abortion and learn to defend your beliefs. And trying to link a peaceful, pro-life organization to a white supremacist group is beyond the pale. Abortion is the greatest human rights battle our nation currently faces, and we can’t allow it to be swept under the rug at Johns Hopkins or at any university.”
Thankfully, after intense pressure from Students for Life of America and the Thomas Moore Law Center, the Student Government Association’s Judiciary Committee at JHU reinstated the pro-life group at John Hopkins.