Surprise protest shocks viewers

Tim Paluch and Amber Billings

Wednesday’s nice weather brought out more than short sleeves and sack lunches, as pro-life activists visited Iowa State to share their beliefs on abortion with the ISU community.

Members of Missionaries to the Preborn, a Milwaukee-based organization, said they were participating in a four-day campaign at major Iowa universities.

The protesters donned posters and signs with pictures of aborted fetuses on them.

Paul Korzengo, member of Missionaries to the Preborn, said the group used the graphic images to show what abortion actually does to an unborn child.

“We are here to show the people what a pre-born child murdered by abortion looks like,” he said. “Pro-choice is the choice to murder.”

Sara Trewhella, 18, has been a member of the group since she was 10 years old. Her father, Matt Trewhella, founded it in 1990.

“We came here because we want the next doctors, lawyers and politicians to know what’s right in the eyes of God and their babies,” she said.

The group was not without opposition, as abortion-rights supporters gathered together at the last minute to counterattack the pro-life demonstration.

“I had no idea that they were coming to campus today,” said Nikki Feuerstein, member of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance. “So we couldn’t organize a counter protest.”

Feuerstein, freshman in chemical engineering, said the pro-life activists’ tactics were inappropriate.

“The only thing they are doing is cramming religion down people’s throats and showing disgusting pictures,” she said. “They are trying to belittle people who have different opinions.”

Abby Hansen, FMLA member, said the pro-choice activists were there to tell the other side of the story.

“I go by the belief that everyone is against abortion, but it’s about choice,” said Hansen, junior in women’s studies. “I don’t like abortion, [but] I think it needs to be legal and it needs to be safe.”

As the afternoon went on and temperatures rose, so did the debate between pro-choice and pro-life supporters.

Outside the Hub, Matt Trewhella addressed more than 100 students who gathered to listen.

“It’s wrong to kill babies, I’ll say it,” he said, pointing to a gathering of pro-choice supporters. “These people are freaks and baby killers.”

An unidentified pro-life supporter defended the graphic nature of the group’s signs.

“You need to see these pictures of mangled bodies,” he said. “You need to see that baby – it’s a disgrace.”

Meanwhile, outside the Memorial Union, supporters of both sides clashed.

Gerard Carroll, a pro-life protester, scolded ISU Greens member and pro-choice activist Derrick Hochstatter, senior in liberal studies, for his beliefs.

“I could pray to God that he strike you dead,” he said. “You believe that a human being could be killed for convenience?”

ISU student Jane Nakayama, freshman in animal ecology, saw the protesters while walking to class, and said she was shocked by the pro-life displays. But she said it was their right to protest their cause. “People who feel it’s a woman’s right to choose are not going to get anything out of this.”

The FMLA plans to organize a protest of its own today at noon, beginning outside Margaret Sloss Women’s Center.

“We are going to do a cleansing,” Feuerstein said. “We’ll have mops and stuff to cleanse the places they’ve been.”