Pro-Choice Students Protest Graphic Abortion Demonstration


Evan Green

Pro-choice protesters gathered near the signs to protest their message and graphic imagery

Matthew Schaffer, News Editor


Ideologies clashed and graphic images lined Buskirk Field as the national anti-abortion group, Created Equal, visited campus on Tuesday, April 4, and was met with counter-protests from the student body. 

The demonstration took place from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with members of the anti-abortion group lining the walking path between the Memorial Student Center Plaza and Buskirk Hall while handing out pamphlets and displaying large signs with graphic images.

“Our organization focuses on educating people on the reality of abortion,” said Molly Myer, Created Equal member, about the demonstration. “We recognize that college students are our future leaders and future voters, so we want to reach these people because they are our future.”

Regarding the graphic images, which included photos of alleged aborted fetuses, Myer said, “The signs are graphic because abortion is graphic. We recognize that people need to see the injustices to change how they think about it.”

Many students soon gathered with signs and led chants to counter-protest the anti-abortion group, with many contesting the authenticity of the graphic images that the group used, including Marshall freshman Max Verney.

“We don’t have a problem with them protesting because they do have a First Amendment right. However, we do have a problem with the fact that they are spreading misinformation and that there are children here that are seeing this,” Varney said. “I don’t want kids to be scared of coming to Marshall because it’s a wonderful place.”

Created Equal visited Marshall as a part of its Southern Swing Ring Road Trip for Life tour, in which the group is traveling to college campuses in West Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky.

While abortion has been a highly contested subject for decades, in 2022 the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, a landmark ruling that determined that a woman’s right to privacy included the right to an abortion.

Since its overturning, many Republican-led states have banned abortions, including West Virginia. Anti-abortion legislation continues to be drafted across the nation.

“No matter what they do, there will always be people to fight back against it,” Varney said. “I believe that anti-LGBT laws that are being passed and anti-abortion laws that have been passed will continue to be protested, and people will continue to be protested.” 

“As long as there are people protesting and as long as there are people against it, they have not made their cause valid,” he said.

Near the protests, Marshall’s Women’s and Gender Center had a booth – planned prior to the protests – to give students resources for birth control and reproductive care.

“What is really important to the Women’s and Gender Center is ensuring that our campus gets accurate, judge-free medical information with rights to any reproductive decisions that someone would have to make,” said Blair Bocook, program coordinator of the Women’s and Gender Center.

“If there are any questions or concerns over access to anything involving reproductive care, we would be more than happy to talk to them and point them in the right direction where they can obtain objective, non-judgmental healthcare-related guidance,”she said.

Created Equal previously visited Marshall’s campus in September 2021 where they also displayed large photos of alleged aborted fetal remains. They were met with counter-protestors then as well, with at least one person being detained for attempting to steal one of the organization’s signs.

According to a press release, Created Equal founder Mark Harrington claims that “abortion is age-based discrimination” and, according to the organization’s website, hopes to “transform students from across the nation into a family of preborn defenders.”