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Shirtless Abortion Supporters Protest ‘Offensive,’ ‘Harassing’ Pro-Life Group

Threaten lawsuit against university.

11:51 AM, May 2, 2013 • By JOE LUPPINO-ESPOSITO
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After the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) student government failed to silence the campus pro-life group, a newly formed pro-choice organization intends to target those students with harassment charges—while taking off their shirts in protest.

A new organization, Voices for Choice, is not interested in debating abortion—they want to stop JHU’s Voices for Life from speaking out. The Johns-Hopkins News-Letter reports that “[t]he ultimate goal of the movement is to eliminate harassment on campus.” The group’s leader, graduating senior Caitlin Fuchs-Rosner, told the student paper that she believes Voices for Life will use “harassing tactics” that “could be triggering for rape victims.”

Earlier this month, we reported that Johns Hopkins University’s student government association (SGA) had refused to recognize the pro-life student group because student leaders thought that their message was offensive and could constitute harassment. But the university determined that sidewalk counseling at the local abortion clinic does not constitute harassment. In turn, the SGA’s judicial council overruled the student government and approved Voices for Life.

Now, VFC claims that the administration “coerced” the judicial council. That’s why Fuchs-Rosner and fellow JHU senior Sophie Grossman went topless in front of one of the university buildings. The students covered their nipples in tape, and wrote “Your Body Your Choice” on their chests and stomachs and “JHU steps on women for $” on their backs. Other photos posted on Facebook show Fuchs-Rosner throwing condoms in the air.

VFC is also circulating a petition to file a preemptive harassment complaint against the pro-life students. Andrew Guernsey, president of Voices for Life, wrote in an e-mail to administrators that the university should crack down on the false, frivolous complaint to make sure that actual harassment is punished and that the anti-harassment policy “is not abused by one group to attempt to punish and censor those with contrary viewpoints.” Guernsey also stated that Voices for Life is “exploring all of our legal options.”

In response, Fuchs-Rosner wrote that her organization is considering a lawsuit against the university “against a range of offenses that have rendered this university hostile (and sometimes dangerous) to women.”

On the website, Keep JHU Safe!, pro-abortion students insist that pro-life sidewalk counseling off-campus “has the potential to become emotionally damaging harassment,” and that displaying fetal models on campus is “rather obviously an attempt to publicly shame those that may hold pro-choice beliefs, or who have considered or have had an abortion.” The site also states that Voices for Life cannot be permitted to distribute brochures with “biased, medical misinformation” and may also not protest or pray at “abortion sites.”

Further, the website says that the “actions and intended actions” of Voices for Life are discriminatory against women and are “meant to shame, shock, and create social hostility that would heavily impede women who want to exercise their personal freedom and right to bodily autonomy” and that it constitutes “emotional bullying” against women. 

The website also features quotes from students and alumni angry about the existence of pro-life students. Alumna Amy Peyrot believes that the “cemetery of the innocents” display by Voices of Life’s predecessor organization, which features American flags commemorating lives lost due to abortion, was “meant solely to harass people who may consider abortion” and that “[i]t was deeply disturbing to see this display on my campus, a place where I should feel safe.” The section “Abortion Stories,” includes one article purportedly written by an anonymous alumna titled “The Pro-Lifers Were The Worst Part About My Abortion.”

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