Anti-abortion activists unaffiliated with Northwestern protest at The Arch


Jacob Wendler/The Daily Northwestern

The protesters were part of Created Equal, an Ohio-based anti-abortion organization.

A group of anti-abortion activists protested at the intersection of Sheridan Road and Chicago Avenue on Thursday morning, displaying signs with graphic images and handing flyers to students.

The demonstrators were members of Created Equal, an anti-abortion youth organization based in Columbus, Ohio. Wearing body cameras, they arrived in the late morning and stayed until about 3 p.m. The signs depicted bloodied and dismembered small figures with the caption “Abortion.” 

Two NU students launched a counterprotest against the Created Equal organizers in the early afternoon. Communication junior John Jameson said he couldn’t believe there were anti-abortion protesters on campus because of the University’s liberal reputation. After initially biking past them, he made a sign reading “Pro-lifers suck” and held it up next to the protesters at The Arch. 

Jameson said he intended to disrupt the Created Equal activists and make them feel unwelcome. 

“I was just like, ‘This is a campus that does not support you, and I really hope you don’t come back because I will be here when you do,’” Jameson said.

Jameson said the anti-abortion demonstrators glared and took a photo but did not engage with him. He added that he thought they wore body cameras in order to provoke and document aggressive reactions from opponents.

Weinberg senior Maddie Brown joined Jameson after a Created Equal activist approached her with a flyer. The signs, she said, made her sick to her stomach. She added she thought the portrayals of aborted fetuses were doctored to create “the most visually disturbing image possible.” 

Brown made a sign that read “Abortion is healthcare” and held it up alongside Jameson. She said they stood at The Arch, receiving cheers and support from passing pedestrians, until the anti-abortion protesters packed up and left campus. 

Weinberg junior Olivier Elkan said despite identifying as pro-choice, he respected the activists’ perspective and had a “comfortable” conversation with one of them. They were “brave,” he said, to demonstrate at Northwestern.

“I’m always a supporter of free speech, so I didn’t think there was much of a problem with it,” Elkan said. “You’re always going to have arguments and conversations about it. As long as you both understand that you have different views and different perspectives, that’s really all that matters.”

However, Brown said that after a “difficult” summer during which the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision, she felt she needed to take action when she saw the activists.

“I just wanted to do something, and also put out the message to everyone walking by The Arch that this is not what the majority believes,” Brown said. “We don’t need to accept the legitimacy of an argument against bodily autonomy. There’s better things out there.”

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