This is the first time I have ever written to any paper, but an experience I had today compelled me to do so. Coming from my apartment at around 11 a.m., heading to grab some lunch at a vendor outside of Neuberger, I came across a group of people protesting partial-birth abortions. Please understand that I here voice no opinion on this subject, not having sufficient knowledge to do so. I am the father of a 3-year-old son, for what it’s worth.
My complaint, not a rare one I’d imagine, is with their tactics, which consist of the shocking, puerile use of large, gaudy images of grisly corpses of what one takes to be the “results” of such abortions. I find this to be particularly offensive in a public setting where people gather to eat. This disgusting imagery is indeed effective in moving my emotions, but with the perhaps unintended result of my immediate distaste with the people employing it. If I were to parade around the Park Blocks with 5 x 7 photos of consensual adults enjoying fellatio, or other sexual imagery (quite positive imagery, particularly relative to the corpses now displayed), I have little doubt but that I would be descended upon and ordered to “cease and desist” my display of “pornographic” imagery, yet those showing slaughtered corpses cringe behind brayed invocations of First Amendment rights and continue with their offensive display.
It is a slippery and dangerous slope to ever call for anything that could be hailed as censorship or an abrogation of these hallowed First Amendment rights, but at what point do the dictates of decency and taste come into play? Would a display of nude men consuming human feces be acceptable? What of photos of death-row inmates before, during and after execution? As horrible as one perhaps finds partial-birth abortions to be, such a display not only taints and weakens their message, but crosses the boundary of good taste into the realm of yellow journalism and pornography, and would better be displayed on the “Jerry Springer Show” than on our campus.
R. Fulmer, freshman, PSU, international studies