On November 1 and 2 The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform Midwest set up its Genocide Awareness Project exhibit at the Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne campus. The GAP display not only shows the reality of abortion in large full color photos, it also compares abortion genocide to other historical genocides.

On the 2nd day student Tara Boes was arrested for “jumping over the display’s fence, tearing down the posters and attempting to injure volunteers of the exhibit,” according to IPFW’s The Communicator. Here’s video…

Boes was an unusual figure, and his gender was unclear to officers. Turns out he’s transgendered and is unusually hostile toward preborn children. All of that became clear in a follow-up interview:

“Approaching the display, I started to feel really physically ill. I thought it was really disgusting that someone would compare abortion to genocide. To compare a woman ridding her body of a parasite to a lynching – that’s pretty disgusting.

Boes denies attempting to go through official school channels of filing a complaint against the group that brought the display to campus.

“I wouldn’t know who to talk to and I don’t think that it would achieve anything – especially on a campus like ours where we have 5 or 6 religious groups for such a small campus, even though it is state funded.”

The president of Students For Bioethical Research, Jami Beer, stated that SBR is not affiliated with any religious institutions.

“We understand religion is a volatile topic, and we try to shy away from it. We focus more on the morals and history.”…

Boes would not comment extensively on the reasons that compelled her to act in such manner due to her upcoming court date. She does, however, express confusion about the arrest.

“The arresting officer told me 3 or 4 times that I was not under arrest, yet I was put in handcuffs and brought down to the jail, where I spent the night and was charged with 2 misdemeanors.”…

Despite the outpouring of support, she expresses some regret, due to the legal repercussions of her actions.

“Yeah, I regret what I did because I spent a night in jail where my gender wasn’t respected – [she was] forced to sleep in a cell with 2 naked men. I have legal fines to pay. I am being charged with battery and criminal mischief… none of that stuff is really worth what happened.”

Note Boes immediately concluded the pro-life display was religious, when it was biological, scientific, and historical. And he regretted not the vandalism and battery but the consequences.

There is ongoing debate on the IPFW campus about the GAP display, with at least 1 student displaying woeful ignorance of the First Amendment. There is no need to protect free speech everyone loves. From The Communicator, November 10:

But student Mandy Parker [said]… “I think the demonstration was in poor taste, and designed for shock value. I feel it was an insult to the academic atmosphere and harassing to the student population,” she said.

Parker… delivered 30 to 35 complaint forms from students to the Dean of Students…. But she didn’t file the complaints strictly for subject matter.

“I filed a complaint form because the IPFW Student Handbook was ignored,” she said. “When the incident concerning a student and “disorderly or disruptive conduct” occurred in conjunction with the GAP demonstration, the event should have been shut down, as such actions are “not permitted,” she said, citing pages 169 and 170 of the IPFW Student Handbook.

Mark Harrington, Executive Director for CBR Midwest… said he believes many college students feel they are an exception to laws and that they can act out because of many reasons.

“They haven’t been taught basic civics in high school, or they haven’t been taught the meaning of the First Amendment. The First Amendment was meant to protect free speech,” he said….

“Politically correct or popular speech doesn’t need protection. I think we’ve lost that. We believe only that the type of speech that won’t offend anybody should be permitted,” Harrington said….

“When it comes to disagreeing, young people haven’t been taught how to disagree without being disagreeable,” Harrington said, adding that some students haven’t been taught how to make their opinions known without doing something illegal.Parker, on the other hand, respected the exhibit, but still felt strongly about it.

“I support the freedom of speech. I respect the rights of the GAP to hold such a demonstration. I also believe that I, as a student, had the right to assembly and the right to not like the GAP,” she said. “I wish GAP had a more open point of view, and presented their beliefs in a less offensive manner.”

Harrington wrote in a follow-up email:

Ms. Parker advocates mob rule.  If IPFW were to abdicate its duty to deter assaults against GAP by shutting down the display because of the violent actions of a single pro-abortion student this would be seen as an attempt to encourage a “heckler’s veto” as a means of discouraging the free expression of ideas. The US Supreme Court has ruled that a “heckler’s veto” is an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.

The message of social reform always offends those responsible for the injustice. Offended passersby frequently threaten and or employ violence as a means of suppressing speech.  The constitutional right to speak out against those injustices has little meaning if government officials permit defenders of injustice to suppress criticism by expressing threats.

If IPFW or any other government institution caved to mob rule that would effectively end all attempts bring about social reform.  GAP not only teaches students about abortion but provides a reminder to students that the first amendment applies to everyone and speech cannot be silenced because it is disturbing.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...