GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– A pro-life group at Aquinas College says they are being targeted by vandals who don’t agree with their message.
Saints For Life is planning an anti-abortion event Friday on campus, but they’re worried that someone is going to great lengths to sabotage their plans.
Posters torn, ripped in half, and vandalized time and time again; Saints for Life leader Emily Hazelbach says that’s just some of the things that have been done to her group.
“We put them up on Tuesday, and not even an hour went by, and they were ripped off,” Hazelbach said. “The next day I walked by, posters were shredded on the ground. Then last night, there was writing on a lot of the posters with words reading ‘stop spreading lies.'”
“These posters that we have are a way to educate our peers on our event tomorrow called the Planned Parenthood Project,” she said.
Hazelbach says they will reveal facts about Planned Parenthood procedures and the number of abortions that are done per year. They will even have a visual demonstration in which they will put pink crosses on the campus grass to represent the number of abortions done per year.
At first glance, the poster looks like it's advocating for the Planned Parenthood organization. However they are really campaigning against the pro-choice group. Sentences are written on the posters like, "The money wasn’t in family planning, the money wasn’t in prevention, the money was in abortion."
According to Planned Parenthood statistics, in 2013 there were more than 300,000 abortions. Their website shows they do much more, with only three percent of their services involving abortions. The bulk of their work involves contraception, preventing unwanted pregnancies, and STD tests.
Hazelbach says she knows the topic is one that has a lot of tension attached to it, and she’s no stranger to people protesting the group’s beliefs.
Another student, Anna Turner, said she doesn’t necessarily believe in all the group’s fliers, tactics, or their message, but they still deserve to express their opinions. “If people are tearing (flyers) down, that’s disrespectful,” said Turner.
Hazelbach expects protesters at the event Friday, but she still says she has the right to stand up for her beliefs.
“I just feel like we have the first amendment right of the freedom of speech,” Hazelbach said.
Hazelbach has no idea who would vandalize and rip up their signs, but she is concerned that whoever is doing this is destroying college-approved property and trying to intimidate her group.
Aquinas College says, "they expect all individuals on campus to respect the materials of others. We are disappointed that anyone would destroy fliers on campus."