Anti-abortion group Created Equal came to campus Wednesday afternoon at the corner of College Road and Annie and John Glenn Avenue with a JumboTron that screened videos of abortions.
Standing among signs depicting graphic images of aborted fetuses, representatives from Created Equal distributed promotional pamphlets and spoke with passers-by.
Mark Harrington, founder and national director of Created Equal, said the goal of the screenings is “civil debate.”
“Obviously we’re trying to change hearts and minds, and we will succeed in that to a certain degree,” Harrington said.
This is neither the first time that an anti-abortion group has come to campus nor is it the first time the group Created Equal has come. However, it’s the first time that such a large medium was used to display graphic content to students walking through campus.
As part of its college campus tour which was at Columbus State Tuesday, Created Equal displayed graphic photographs and videos to draw attention to its cause, said Evangeline Dunn, a full-time Created Equal staff member and recent high school graduate.
“We know from social reformists throughout history that graphic imagery has been used to change people’s mind about injustice,” Dunn said. “We’ve seen very positive feedback with people who have seen these images and completely changed their minds. We wouldn’t use them if they were not effective.”
The tour has generated news coverage in the past for confrontations it has spurred, including one student who was arrested for vandalizing Created Equal material at Indiana University.
While Ohio State policies permit external organizations to reserve outside spaces through the Buckeye Event Network, the lurid photographs and videos prompted some pushback from students.
Simran Sohal, a second-year in psychology who had a back-and-forth discussion over a microphone after being invited to by a Created Equal representative, said in an interview afterward, “I think it’s very disrespectful and traumatizing for people who have had an abortion to see graphic images like this.”
While many students reacted negatively to the message of the event, some engaged in discussion with the representatives.
“Just come with an open mind. You give your stance, they give theirs,” said Dozie Nwaru, a second-year in chemical engineering. “And at the end of the day, you don’t have to change your opinion. Just know that you learn something new.”
Harrington noted that many people in opposition argue that the pictures and videos are fake.
“Sometimes they’re only left with that argument,” Harrington said. “So if they can convince people that [the images] are fake, then people don’t have to believe in what they’re hearing or seeing.”
Harrington and other representatives claimed they receive their pictures and videos from abortion clinics, including Planned Parenthood, but didn’t detail specifications. On its website, Created Equal offers signed statements validating the authenticity of the photographs from an abortion photographer, whose name was blacked out, and a former abortionist turned pro-life OBGYN.
“Some people change their minds on the spot. Some people go home, do some research and change their minds later,” Dunn said. “We’ve seen many babies saved through this organization. It’s such a fruitful ministry.”
Created Equal will continue their campus outreach tours in their “Road Trip for Life,” visiting 18 schools and six states across the Midwest.