Twelve-foot tall panels drew attention and sparked debate on the Plaza Monday as part of an annual pro-life event, and will remain on campus until Wednesday.
Stop and Think, a Justice For All traveling exhibit, discusses issues such as abortion and feminism.
According to their website, Justice For All is a nonprofit educational organization that partners with local church communities to make abortion unthinkable. They partner with Colorado State University’s pro-life club to bring the exhibit to campus annually. The group’s first public exhibition took place on CSU’s campus last year at the same time.
“We want to open up the dialogue and listen to one another,” said Catherine Wurts, a Justice For All staff member. “We are creating a space for productive conversation.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 664,435 legally-induced abortions were reported in the United States in 2013. Compared to 2012, this was a 5 percent decrease. According to the exhibit on the Plaza however, the group claims that a total of approximately 1.06 million abortions are performed annually.
The exhibit was first displayed in 2000, and it is run by Christian staff members. Free speech boards, as well as the opportunity to “create your own feminist sign” were available at the exhibit.
“We are looking at abortion from a human perspective. We are all so different, yet we are all equally human,” Wurts said. “Whatever religion or ethnicity we are, we all deserve equal treatment.”
The exhibit also posed the question, “Can feminists be pro-choice?” Students wrote down their response to the question and engaged in conversation with staff members.
In response to the question, students wrote phrases such as, “Women’s rights are reproductive rights,” and “My body, My choice,” on the board. One pro-life student wrote, “Adoption, not abortion.”
“I simply want life, hope and love to prevail,” said Zach Lee-Watts, a staff member at the exhibit. “I don’t want a woman to be forced to not have an abortion. I just want the thought of abortion to never even pop into her head.”
Lee-Watts emphasized the need to connect with people through peaceful dialogue. Through this dialogue, students argued their opinions from both sides of the issue.
“I don’t want there to be abortion, but we can’t take away women’s rights to do what they want with their healthcare,” said Catherine Turner, a freshman at CSU. “It’s their choice. Why can’t it just be a choice?”
Many students wrote on the free speech boards surrounding the exhibit. The boards included phrases such as, “I’m tired of men controlling my body,” and “Informed opposition to a popular opinion should not be considered hate speech.”
“We need to provide contraceptives and sex education,” Turner said. “Abortion needs to be accessible.”
The group also provides information in the exhibit for those who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy or who have had an abortion. Wurts described the resources as a place for women to turn to where they will face no judgement.
The exhibit will continue on the Plaza until Wednesday, April 26 from 9 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
More information about the group and the exhibit can be found on the Justice For All website.
Collegian news reporter Jenn Yingling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jenn_yingling.