Students Catch Vandals at NKU Prolife Display
Members of Northern Right to Life, Northern Kentucky University’s prolife student group, decided to keep watch after their prolife display was torn down — twice.
It wasn’t the first time. In 2006, the year the group was founded, its first-ever display was vandalized by a professor and six students she recruited to help her. That display consisted of small wooden crosses symbolizing aborted babies, crosses the professor and her students pulled out of the ground and threw in the trash. According to the group, subsequent displays and posters have also been vandalized or torn down.
This display is even simpler: two clothes lines hung with infant “onesies.” Every fourth onesie is marked with an X made of red tape. A sign taken in at night says “1 out of 4 babies dies from abortion,” and sites the Guttmacher Institute (an abortion-related research organization owned by Planned Parenthood) for the statistic.
Twice, someone pulled down all the shirts and left them in the grass. The first time, it had been up for less than 24 hours. “A simple sign with a properly researched and cited fact on it, coupled with a few clotheslines that have baby clothes hung on them, is apparently enough to warrant the destruction of property under the cover of darkness,” says Nathaniel Thomas Hall, one of the students who decided to hang out by the display after evening mass on Holy Thursday and see what happened.
What happened, at around 1 am Friday morning, was that four young men began pulling down the baby clothes. Hall and his friend Pierce, a student from another area college, did what police had told them to do: called 911, and started snapping photos. “Pierce stepped from our hiding place and began snapping pictures,” Hall recounts. “He saw four men rushing to stuff the clotheslines and baby clothes into the trash cans outside of the Art Building.” The two young men chased after the them, Hall still on the phone with a 911 operator. They ran straight to a police cruiser, where three of the alleged vandals (the fourth had made it into a building but turned himself in later) were detained.
The officer, Hall says, allowed him to ask why they had torn down the display. “Their response was unified, instantaneous, and loud. The three began leaning forward, angry and belligerent, speaking about how horribly offensive and vile our simple baby clothes had been. One barked that the information of the sign had been a lie.” The officer stepped in before things got too heated, and Hall says the three admitted they had been drinking and had planned the vandalism earlier in the day , at class.
“They repeatedly gave their reason for vandalism as the terribly offensive nature of our display,” says Hall, who reports that all four were arrested for alcohol-related offenses and criminal mischief, and that none of them were responsible for the previous vandalism.
The clothes and clothes line are now official evidence. Northern Right to Life is collecting baby clothes to give to charity.
“We are the ones constantly portrayed in the media as crazed lunatics,” Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of Students for Life of America, wrote in a blog post about the vandalism. “It is the advocates of abortion – which is a violent act against an innocent human person – who are the ones constantly vandalizing pro-life displays. I am so thankful for the students at Northern Kentucky University who continue to brave these elements year after year in their efforts to peaceably and lawfully bring the pro-life message to their campus.”