Anti-abortion group Project Truth draws attention at EMU Amphitheater

Don, a pro-life abortion activist from the California group Project Truth, responds to challenges from students outside the EMU. "We think abortion is the biggest Holocaust in the world," Don explained, "and we have biological facts on our side."
When asked why his group uses such controversial graphic images in their displays, Don responded, "My team has been to over 76 schools, and we hear the same thing at every campus: 'I never knew this is what it looked like'." (Michael Arellano/Emerald)

Don, a pro-life abortion activist from the California group Project Truth, responds to challenges from students outside the EMU. "We think abortion is the biggest Holocaust in the world," Don explained, "and we have biological facts on our side." When asked why his group uses such controversial graphic images in their displays, Don responded, "My team has been to over 76 schools, and we hear the same thing at every campus: 'I never knew this is what it looked like'." (Michael Arellano/Emerald)

Posted by Ian Campbell on Monday, Oct. 15 at 12:40 pm.

Project Truth, a group that travels around to different colleges to promote pro-life beliefs, displayed graphic images of the abortion process in front of the EMU Amphitheater Monday afternoon.

Pro-choice student protesters took a place right in front of Project Truth to try to comfort students and to defend women’s rights.

“We find that their tactics are really wrong. It’s using other people’s suffering for political gain, and it’s just wrong,” said Aurora Laybourn-Candish, the organizer of the counter protest. “They’re triggering students. We want to be a form of solidarity. I want (students) to voice their own opinions, without being coerced.”

Project Truth has traveled to more than 70 different colleges across the nation to educate students about abortion and to answer any questions.

The group will occupy the EMU Amphitheater Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • (___) Choice

    Pretty petty to protest a group of people that disagree with you. Election years bring out the ugly in people. Their should be a respect for both sides of the issue. If you don’t agree with the latter then do it professionally and state your peace and leave. That, or keep it to yourself because you know what you believe in and that is all that matters.

    • Jeremy Hedlund

      I’m…confused. You’re arguing that, in an open and free society, it is only acceptable for one side of an issue to be present at a time?

    • Ash

      “If you don’t agree with the latter then do it professionally and state your peace and leave.”

      You could just as easily say that to Project Truth, given that the whole point of their demonstration is to disagree with the beliefs of the pro-choice.

      Personally, I find a counter-protest to be infinitely less offensive than gory, poster-sized images of medical procedures (and not the standard version of these sorts of medical procedures, which can look about as innocuous as a pan of blood, but the most grotesque versions possible) set up as inflammatory attempts to discredit the other side of the argument.

      • (____) Choice

        I agree on the gore in the photos. I think it’s distasteful and offensive to everyone. They run on shock value which is inherently wrong and not the time nor place for that. Their is a wrong and right way to show your opinion and this isn’t a good way at all.

        • Buzz

          It is not inherently wrong to use images that are true in order to educate others about an issue. When Schindler’s List came out years ago, a free copy was given to public schools in order to show students the real and shocking atrocities of the Holocaust. The goal: To not let anything similar to it happen again. Or, was Spielberg, to use your words, merely running “on shock value which is inherently wrong?” I don’t think that was the case. I hope you would agree. The Holocaust was real. It was horrible. Let’s not let it ever happen again – anywhere. There is a very graphic yet historically accurate book titled Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America by James Allen. Even if you could stomach a cursory view through the book, you’d come away with a horrible sense of how ugly we humans can be. Or, was Allen merely running “on shock value which is inherently wrong?” Again, not the case. Lynchings were a testament to the brutality of racist individuals. Let’s not let this ever happen again – anywhere. One may say they should have chosen not to use these graphic images to express their opinions on these issues. However, that would have left us in want of something much greater: the truth.

          If I had a friend who denied the Holocaust or that believed that lynchings in America were “not that bad”, you better believe I’m going to use graphic visual images to get him to see the real brutality and inhumanity of these issues. I wouldn’t do it so he could have the same opinion as me or so that I could feel better about myself because I won him to my side. I want him to see the truth.

          A better question to ask about the validity of using graphic visual images in terms of abortion would be: Are they real? If they are real, abortion is not a benign procedure. And if they are real and if they really kill innocent human beings, than this is where the debate on this issue should begin. If they are being used by pro-life proponents like Don, he is not expressing an opinion on the issue, he is showing you the truth about the issue. There is a world of difference. For example, the President of Iran denies the Holocaust. I wonder if he would still deny it if he watched Schindler’s List and immersed himself in the writings of Primo Levi, Corrie Ten Boom, Elie Wiesel, Wolfgang Benz and many more. He would still deny it I’m sure. Facts schmatz. To concede the Holocaust actually occurred might lead him to have sympathy towards the Jews. I’m sure he is unwilling; he has vested too much hatred towards them especially since he has vowed to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. I believe the same thing could be said about those who are pro-choice. They have too much vested in their side of the argument. They have attended rallies and staged counter-protests. It’s part of their identity. They don’t want to cause waves between their friends, family members, college professors. It’s the feminine thing to do. It’s liberating and powerful to be in control of your own body. “Change my mind? Give me one good reason?”
          If one can see the utter inhumanity in the Holocaust and lynchings, why does that seem to escape so many when it comes to this issue? Lastly, aren’t college campuses supposed to be the marketplace place of ideas and revered for their freedom of expression? If this is not the place for such a demonstration, apparently it is no longer the place where real thinking occurs.

          • UOAlum11

            This is not a rational debate, as so many people have already commented before. The pictures are used to shock and repulse people. They are educational insofar as it would be educational for a person to show you pictures of the Holocaust and then asking you to be anti-Germany in the present day. The goal of Project Truth is to get individuals to react emotionally by showing them something awful. And that is what is inherently wrong. Bearing witness to an atrocity is something entirely different.

            Also, comparing abortion to lynchings and the Holocaust is disgusting. Lynchings were done to live, sentient human beings in order to remind them that they were black and therefore powerless. The Holocaust performatively dehumanized European Jews (and many others) by treating them like livestock or pests and then exterminating them in the most literal sense of the word. Regardless of your opinion on abortion, to think that a woman who decides that she cannot provide the money or love or stability required to raise a child is in any way comparable to those who lynch black folks or who murdered the Jews of Europe is abhorrent.

            And that is the entire point of “Project Truth”? To “show people the truth”? Well, there’s the truth. That its comparison is historically, factually, and philosophically inaccurate, and that their goal is not to “stimulate dialogue” but to outlaw abortion. So please, for all of our sakes, give the self-righteous crap a rest. This is the place for REASONED dialogue; Project Truth has been heard and found wanting. Get over it.

        • noncensor

          Maybe it was wrong to display photos of the NAZI holocaust afterward – nah – that would be censorship. The fact is that it happened and to subdue it is to promote the ones responsible for the travesty. Yet today you can see deniers already trying to discredit the NAZI holocaust and if you were profiting off of young girls like Planned Parenthood, wouldn’t you want some useful idiots to take up the cause for censorship?

          • Debbie Adams

            you cannot compare an abortion to Nazis, you idiot, they have nothing in common!the holocaust was bad, and abortion is good.go suck your thumb.

  • John

    Interesting how those that are protesting Project Truth are opposing true pictures of abortion. How is the suffering of the unborn being used for political gain? Where is the tolerance for a free exchange of ideas? If the truth of abortion is so disturbing that you have to comfort students maybe the students should fight to put an end to the practice of abortion that victimizes over 3,000 vulnerable human beings every single day in this country.

    • (____) Choice

      Don’t try to argue your side. If their is anything I’ve learned at the UO it’s that the only stance you can take is the stance the masses take. I’m with you on this.

    • Stacy

      Most of those photos are fake. If they are real, they only show a very, very RARE form of abortion, or an illegal form of abortion. Most abortions are done at a very early stage in the pregnancy when it just looks like a mass of cells.

    • Debbie Adams

      fellow, you can post pictures of babies being murdered by nasty doctors, i do not care; it does not change any of our mind. life is full of PAIN. get used to it, i have!!

  • John

    P.S. Why the cover up by the Daily Emerald of the Graphic picture of abortion? Isn’t that what the thrust of the article is about the opposition to the use of the graphic nature of the display? It looks like censorship to me!

    • Clinton Wilcox

      The problem is you never know who may be reading. Children may come upon the article. I believe in showing graphic images, especially on college campuses, but it should always be done respectfully.

    • Debbie Adams

      WHO THE hELL CARES WHAT ABORTION LOOKS LIKE?my root canal x-rays looked worse!!so did the x-rays of my impacted wisdom teeth! now, that was a horrible operation!!and i had to pay for it!!screw that right to life, “right-to-dentistry!!!” more of us need “Planned dentistry, ” ha ha.

  • Karen E

    These are pictures of innocent human beings destroyed by “choice”
    which is the euphemism for abortion. Why would we want to hide that? Wouldn’t a
    just, compassionate society want to expose cruel injustice wherever it is
    found? If shredding innocent human beings thru abortion is okay: why the
    attempt to try and hide it?

    • CHOICE

      First of all, it’s not a human, it’s a fetus. And it is a CHOICE. Glad to see you want to let the government and a bunch of men control your body. A fetus is a parasitic life form that cannot exist on its own. It’s not cruel injustice to make a choice about what a woman wants to do with HER body.

    • Debbie Adams

      why don’t you show the actual abortion being done?and the fetus afterwards? go for broke, you idiot!

  • anon

    What I find frustrating is that this is NOT what 99 percent of aborted fetuses look like. Project truth shows only the most advanced aborted fetuses, which barely accounts for anything, since most fetuses are aborted much, much earlier than what this shows.

    • John

      Not true Anon. Most of the pictures of the display were of first-trimester abortions. 90 per cent of abortion are in the first abortion. Every abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being so what is your point?

      • CHOICE

        Actually, no that’s not what a fetus looks like in the first trimester, but good try.

    • ted

      Actually more revealing might be some of the later ones, including the photo of a baby’s hand on a physicians finger during an operation through which the baby lived and is alive today.

      • Debbie Adams

        it’s a bloody fetus, and NOT A PERSON; there is a big difference.i had a friend who’s vaccum-abortion did not work; she went out and got an illegal abortion, past the time-limit, she had to. she did not want the baby, and no one else did. it would have gone to foster care, and never adopted, said the adoption agency i talked to; they said”no one adopts babies of that race rarely..”it’s birth mother would have told it, one day,”I never wanted you!I tried to abort you!”the father was equally rotten. THAT IS A FETUS LOOKING FOR AN ABORTION. Many babies are unadoptable, cause prospective parents are PICKY. yes, they are. what right have you pro-lifers, to decide the fetus’ fate? it’s up to the PREGNANT WOMAN, NOT YOU!

  • Nemo

    I donate a hundred or two hundred bucks a year to the Network for Reproductive Options Women in Need Fund.
    Last year, they helped over 300 women pay for abortions who otherwise couldn’t afford them.

  • ANON

    I am proud of the Pro-CHOICE students who were out there offering a counter-point, and without the need of visual props. I am all for free speech, as long as everyone who wants to speak gets a fair chance, but I do not believe in trying to alter people’s beliefs, by now we all know what we stand for.

  • Sabrina G

    to the editor: we are a Pro-CHOICE student group, not Pro-Abortion…the change in vocabulary is incredibly important to distinguish.

  • Students for Choice

    Given the events of Monday and Tuesday we, the
    members of Students for Choice, feel it is necessary to issue a few clarifying

    Our intention was to stage a counter demonstration. Our presence was a public
    civil display of disagreement. We mostly intended our presence to be one of
    calm support for students who may have feet upset or targeted. We wanted to
    create a safe space for students to react and voice their opinions in a
    respectful, productive and positive way.

    We intended to be a peaceful counter demonstration by providing a wave of
    collective solidarity for students who were passing by “Project Truth.” We
    think that students should have had a choice before being exposed to the
    potentially triggering images that “Project Truth” utilizes for their campaign.

    As pro-choice students we would never ask anyone to
    compromise their beliefs. There are many equally valid choices. We think that
    it is fundamentally wrong to expect anyone to compromise their body because of
    any personal belief or set of beliefs that any one person or group of people
    may hold.

    We respect “Project Truth’s” first amendment rights; our counter demonstration
    was in response to “Project Truth’s” use of this freedom of expression to
    provoke, shame, and humiliate members of our campus community. We believe that
    students have a right to attend class in a safe environment where they are not
    targeted and they do not feel triggered.

    We would also like to make it clear that we oppose their denial of a woman’s
    right to bodily autonomy. We oppose Don of Project Truth’s statement that “abortion
    is the biggest Holocaust in the world.” This claim is both untrue and
    constitutes a gross misappropriation of suffering. We think it is amoral,
    unethical and extremely distasteful for “Project Truth” to capitalize on the
    painful experiences of so many people for the purpose of taking away a woman’s
    rights over her own body.

    Aryn and Aurora

    Co-Directors of Students for Choice

    • Karen E

      As a person who participates in Project Truth events, I know that peaceful dialogue is the goal of the display.
      I don’t understand a few of your comments; What or why does the display “trigger” anything? How does it provoke shame or humiliate members of the campus community? How does it advocate taking away a woman’s rights over her own body or capitalize on any painful experiences?
      The only way this would happen is if abortion kills an innocent, separate, distinct human and scientifically you really can’t credibly argue that it doesn’t.
      If your unborn child is not human then there is no need for anything to be “triggered” because you aren’t killing anything but if it is human then there is no justification for the killling.

      • Bubbabear

        Let’s be honest here. This isn’t a message that edifies The Lord. So if you are standing on the ground that this is a Biblical message, it isn’t. This is just a message that doesn’t make you or the organization a good testimony. I think too many time organization like Project Truth stand behind fundamentalist Christian beliefs that really don’t favor women in the first place. If more churches became better role models for women by letting more women into pastoral positions that in turn could create a mentor program that could build women up then to bring them down, there wouldn’t be a Project Truth in the first place. If you live in a community with a teenage pregnancy rate that effects ten percent of the population, do you think it’s better to stand in front of Planned Parenthood or would it be better to build teenage girls up by helping them with schoolwork, setting up activities to do that give them worth and value in themselves? Maybe Karen when you and Project Truth see that the best community message is to help rather than antagonize then you really are doing the work that Jesus taught us as Christians to do.

        • friendly

          Christianity is not the only religion that would protect the innocent, though there is a history of sacrifices in some archaic religions, there are eastern religions where one would not wish to squish the life from a bug, let alone a young developing human. And what of Jews and Muslims? “Thou Shalt Not Kill” did not originate with Christianity, it is shared by many.

        • Debbie Adams

          make them get “embedded” birth control drugs, so they cannot get pregnant.

      • Debbie Adams


  • Debbie Adams

    what a bunch of rot; why do strangers get to decide what a woman in the united states does with her body?of course women need to have the right to choose. but if you make abortion illegal, women will resort to illegal abortionists. a fiend of mine, years ago, got a suction-machine abortion; however, weeks later, she discovered that the abortion had FAILED, she was still pregnant! since she was over the time-limit, she had to go to an illegal abortionist, and have it done. and the failure first time, was not even her fault!

  • Scott Austin

    It seems rather interesting to me that so many people would argue that “this message is far too offensive” (I wonder, bubbabear, if you have canvassed every Church, every religious group to see whether your presumption on that point is as resounding as you claim it to be) to be permitted and allowed. Indeed, there is a significant percentage (even if we ceded that it was, arguendo, a plurality) who disagree with the notion that it is “offensive to the Lord”. So ought the “offensive” voice be silenced? I wonder who precisely you would license to regulate that (and whether you would feel so comfortable if your particular point of view offended that censor; anyone interested in re-reading Milton’s Areopagitica?) Indeed, I would argue that there are decent number of Protestant fellowships (the one I attend included) that would find the message of Project Truth both edifying and truthful (not to mention that pesky little bit of Ephesians 5:11 bit about shedding light on wickedness). Are we to be silenced, or threatened? I wonder further, just out of curiosity, whether it would be as permissible if a church or religious group were to assembly in mass and yell, throw things and “protest” against women who were gathering for a “liberation” assembly. Or are the standards only applicable to those of us whose ideas are in the minority? How convenient. How wonderfully convenient.

  • Caspin

    Ridiculous to traumatize students who have had personal experience with the tough decision to have an abortion. These “Christians” should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.