Staff Editorial: Anti-abortion protesters use hateful methods


Photo by: Moises Dominguez

Screaming and crying: Anti-abortion protesters screams derogitory phrases at teachers Karen Spahr-Thomas and Janee Dehmlow.

Photo by: Moises Dominguez

On Dec. 5, two men were protesting abortion using signs and handing out flyers on the Main Street sidewalk as students walked into school. Teachers were covering the signs with blankets and umbrellas as well as shouting over the protesters’ voices telling students to have a nice day.

Two days later, the same two men were in front of the school again. This time, teachers and staff didn’t cover signs and instead welcomed students in the Main Street lobby with happy smiles and loud music.

These protesters have since stood up and interrupted the United Church of Christ church service in downtown Downers (Sunday, Dec. 9), and once again came to DGN the following Monday Dec. 10.

There is a difference between protesting abortion and behaving like a complete lunatic. No matter their beliefs, the way they went about expressing these beliefs was appalling.

Freedom of speech protects the protesters legally. However, they should know that this way of protest will turn heads; but in the opposite direction. Showing graphic images to primarily underaged students is despicable, and scares them from the protester’s beliefs.

As journalists, we are direct advocates for free speech and peaceful protest. Forcing 14 to 18 year old students to view horrific images of obviously fake propaganda is not using the law justly. Standing up for something doesn’t mean you should expose underage students to unnecessarily graphic content.

The protestors explained to a teacher the reason they decided to come to DGN was because the female students will be getting pregnant soon enough. However, having middle-aged men comment on the sexual activity of anyone, let alone minors, is frankly extremely creepy.

As high school students, we should be able to make our own decisions. If we wanted to listen to the protesters we could have, and if we didn’t want to, we could have just walked right past them. However, students who declined a flyer were called a “bigot” or told that they were “going to hell” by the protesters. That is not an acceptable way to treat people and spread your message.

Whether something is legally protected or not doesn’t decide if it is socially justified. Just because these people have the right to protest with graphic images doesn’t mean they should. By now, they should realize the negative consequences they face from the majority of the community, and change their style of objection.

If the protesters are protesting at a school that is known for being a very accepting and rational place, and they are receiving this harsh of a response, then they are doing something wrong.