The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday February 2nd

Protest against abortion takes place in the quad

Aryana Bolourian (left), a senior economics and public policy major, holds a "Women's rights experts" sign pointing at the demonstrators.
Buy Photos Aryana Bolourian (left), a senior economics and public policy major, holds a "Women's rights experts" sign pointing at the demonstrators.

A group of members from the American Society for Defense of Tradition, Family and Property protested against Planned Parenthood and abortion in the middle of Polk Place Thursday.

According to the organization’s website, they are “lay Catholic Americans concerned about the moral crisis shaking the remnants of Christian civilization.”

The campaign is part of a one-week tour around the entire state of North Carolina.

John Ritchie, TFP's director of student action, said the organization currently has over 250,000 members throughout the United States. Ritchie said he traveled all the way from Pennsylvania to lead the protest. 

“The most basic human right is the right to life, and therefore, we’re standing up for the unborn child and its right to live inside of its mother’s womb without being killed by procured abortion,” Ritchie said. “Because of its personhood in the womb and outside the womb, we have to defend it and stand up for that.” 

Senior Patrick Ryan is counter-protesting with a sign that says, “Not all men,” with an arrow pointing toward the group. 

“From what I can tell, they’re people with too much privilege and too much time on their hands,” Ryan said. "One in four women on college campuses are sexual assault survivors, and what this can do to them, what this has the capacity to do to them, it’s not what’s right. It’s not what UNC is about. It’s not what any of us should be about.”

He said that people should get involved with Project Dinah, a organization at UNC dedicated to safety and empowerment.  

“I work with them, and they’re an amazing feminist coalition,” Ryan said. “We’re all talking together about doing whatever we can to get this off of campus. We’re trying to form a barrier around the group. We’re going to keep trying.”

Gabrielle Reenstra, a sophomore who watched the protest on the sidelines, said she thought the protest was stupid. 

“Most of their ideologies are just centered around a ridiculous amount of religion that has been shoved down their throats and their children’s,” Reenstra said. “It’s not fair to women at all to be like, ‘Oh, it’s murder,’ and spread lies about something that’s helpful for women’s healthcare, especially for underprivileged women.”

She said not all women are lucky enough to have the ability to support a child. 

“My mother had enough money to support a child where some women don’t,” Reenstra said. “So it’s not like I survived it, but many people can’t afford a child, especially on a minimum wage salary.”

Reenstra said the best thing to do is to not give them attention.

“That’s all they want, because they think that they’re winning because people hate them because it makes them martyrs. But ignore all the stupidity that they’re doing so they don’t get any fuel from it,” Reenstra said.  

Despite the counter-protesters, Ritchie said the campaign has been peaceful so far and hopes it remains that way. 

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