Today I protested an anti-choice installation at FIU because my college campus provides freedom of speech to some of the most heinous of groups.
I didn’t intend to get into the fray at first, but while I was waiting for my friend to come on-shift at the booth for counseling services (because the graphic images and hateful rhetoric spewed by the anti-choice jerkwads can trigger people), I got upset because the people on our side, the pro-life side, weren’t yet out in force. My friend Gabby and I grabbed signs and dove in, standing opposite the horrific installation that equated abortion to actual acts of real world genocide while showing images of death and gore.
At first, no one said much to us. We were standing next to the free speech board (seemingly set up by the anti-choicers), but the few people who dared to interact with us were on our side.
Then one of the people on the anti-choice side came up to us. He was an older white man reminiscent of the major general in Pirates of the Penzance only you know… a fucking bigot.
Almost immediately, he started attacking me, insinuating that abortion is akin to murder. He kept asking me loudly if I would kill my child (aka if I would have an abortion if I got pregnant and could not carry the baby to term for any reason) as if to frame me as this demonic child murderer. When Gabby tried to interject and be a badass lady, the dude straight up ignored her thoughts to zero in on me, the ultimate baby killer: a Black woman.
Several people jumped in to defend us and explain why the dude was dead wrong. Of course, none of it got through, but I really like arguing. At one point, he was like “you wouldn’t kill another adult, would you” (because fetuses are somehow on a similar level of importance to fully grown adults).
And here’s the thing though:that’s a terrible argument. I’m a supporter of the death penalty and a huge fan of reactionary violence (marginalized people fighting back against their oppressors/bullied people fighting their bullies) so my thoughts on what is okay when it comes to death are more pragmatic, I think. Of course, I verbalized my thoughts as “yeah I so would” because I am terrible but even that didn’t scare him away.
Then he brought up the genocides.
All the genocides. Because with their statistics, supposedly thousands of women have abortions every day in the United States (mind you, these protesters were largely from Canada) and that equates with the systematic and destruction of Jewish people, Black people in the diaspora, and other marginalized people.
I had my “oh god I’m going to kill someone” moment at this point. The old man brings up the Black genocide. Not the reality of Black existence where you can be killed for being Black, but some trumped up stats about how 4000 Black babies are killed every day via abortion. When I tried to correct him, to point out that we were being killed for real every day, he rolled his eyes at me.
Rolled his goddamn eyes because Black lives only matter to anti-choice proponents when the bodies are in the womb.
I immediately demanded that he move from in front of me. For several minutes he actually refused to removed himself from my space. It took me & Gabby talking to a super cute (and super sensitive) dude about Deadpool in the most vulgar language we could muster for him to leave us the hell alone.
Our college doesn’t have to approve every request for a gathering on campus. They don’t.
And allowing an anti-choice organization to spew violent hatred, graphic images of violence, and inaccurate “facts” on a college campus (where there are children under eighteen on campus on a regular image) is so horrible. Today I felt unsafe on campus and I fought back because I believe in choice and bodily autonomy. Hopefully I made a difference, but even if I didn’t, I made sure to fight for what’s right.