Gaza protestors attempt to hijack pro-life display

On Monday, two pro-life student organizations at IUPUI, Life Defenders and Law Students for Life, hosted an event they called “Cemetery of Innocents” in Taylor Courtyard. The display was set up to cover the entire courtyard in the morning and consisted of 1000 pink flags, each of which represented 2.3 victims of abortion per day in the United States. However, protesters attempted to hijack the display to make it about the Israel-Hamas war. 

“The reasoning in setting up the display was to show respect for innocent lives lost by abortion and to create awareness for it,” said Aaliyah Mcgowan, Vice President of Law Students for Life. Chalk and yard signs surrounded the flags to explain the lives they represented. 

One protester, however, placed a sign that stated “Gaza Graveyard” sign in the middle of the grass, but removed it after being told the courtyard was reserved. Another protester wrote “do you defend life in Gaza?” on the sidewalk, and others placed Palestinian flags and other messages on chairs in front of the display.

“It was turned into something much different… and took away from the display’s primary message of advocating for the innocent victims [of abortion],” said Mcgowan. 

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Property damage, moralizing

Other protesters ripped up flags, tore apart yard signs, stealing the group’s equipment and disposing of it in a nearby trash can. Another wrote “only pro white life” on the sidewalk.

“It is ironic that we are accused of being only pro-white life when you consider the fact that abortion disproportionately impacts minority communities. Around 38% of abortions are performed on African American women while they only make up 14% of the US population,” said Caleb Manring, President of Life Defenders. “Additionally, the founding of Planned Parenthood has strong links to eugenics. It is no coincidence that the majority of Planned Parenthood clinics are in predominantly minority communities.”

Manring also mentioned that he noticed multiple students ripping up flags, and after asking for the students to return the flags, one threw them and nearly hit him. 

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Campus police involved

The protesters came near the beginning of the day, and came back closer to the end of the display. Campus police came afterwards to talk to the club and ensure no further violence or property damage occurred. 

Rachel Cooper is the general editor of The Collegiate Commons and a freshman at IUPUI. She is also a member of Life Defenders.

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