Anti-abortionists visit CWU to tell students about their beliefs

Star Diavolikis and Stephen Martin

A dozen members of anti-abortion groups Project Truth and Tiny Heartbeat Ministries visited campus on Tuesday, Oct. 5 to share their message of abortion being wrong. Their appearances were not related to the pro-choice march on Saturday.

One of the activists, who identified himself as John, said Project Truth believes that “it’s wrong to kill an innocent child in the womb.”

The group brought with them several signs with pictures of aborted fetuses, and distributed pamphlets which share information regarding abortion.

On all pages, there are spreads showing different resources supporting the topic mentioned at the top of the page, including testaments from doctors, professors and authors of various news or information sources. In the back of the pamphlet, there are support hotlines for those who regret getting abortions as well as a pregnancy hotline.

Nearly all members of both Tiny Heartbeat Ministries and Project Truth toted GoPros, and were described as a safety measure.

Project Truth and Tiny Heartbeat Ministries have traveled all over the western United States to spread their message, and Tiny Heartbeat Ministries was reported to be at the University of Washington’s Red Square on Oct. 4.

John positively characterized the student body’s reaction to the activists, saying that, “They want to get into a dialogue. They want to know about [us],” John said. “They want to know why we’re out here, and we’re letting them know why we’re out here.”

Robert Seemuth is part of Tiny Heartbeat Ministries, and has been active for 30 years. Seemuth explained Tiny Heartbeat Ministries has been travelling in order to have conversations with college students regarding abortions.

“We go to where students are on the theory there’s more potential communication,” Seemuth said. “Just conversations all day long.”

Seemuth said abortions are a major topic in conversations today, and that they should not be one-sided conversations.

“This is life and death. If you’re a baby, it’s war,” Seemuth said. Seemuth said if a person disagrees, he would “love to have a discussion with them.”

When asked, Seemuth said his reasoning for joining Tiny Heartbeat Ministries is that he likes their mission statement. The “About Us” of Tiny Heartbeat Ministries states, “We are a Christian, anti-abortion nonprofit purposed to provide the educational arm of the pro-life movement in the Pacific Northwest by focusing our outreach efforts on the 3 C’s: Churches, Clinics, and Culture.” 

Part of the student body showed opposition to the group, playing music over their speeches and tearing up their pamphlets. One of the students who came out to protest was Megan, a junior majoring in elementary education. 

“I was informed on social media that these people were out here, and it’s something that I don’t stand for so I decided to come out and counter-protest,” Megan said.

Megan attempted to disrupt the group by playing songs like “Rick N’ Morty” by Soulja Boy over a speaker, an act she justified by saying the group was not trying to have conversations in good faith.

“My argument with that is that you’re not going to change their opinions. They’re really out here to shame women, they’re not here to have an open conversation,” Megan said. “I thought that it would just be more empowering in a way, make it more fun and just generally dismantle the environment that they try to create on campus.”

Many students believe the group should not have been permitted to speak on campus. Sierra Moore, a junior who is majoring in English with a minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality studies, said CWU’s lack of action towards the protesters, as well as their lack of a response to the preachers who were on campus last week, has her doubting CWU’s commitment to diversity and tolerance.

“I understand that they have their First Amendment right, but … I don’t think Central should allow them to be here. Not only am I someone with a uterus, I am a part of the LGBTQIA community. So when I walk these streets now on campus, all I can think about is the fact that Central advertises like they want me here, but that’s not what I’m seeing when I’m here,” Moore said. “And it makes me feel really uncomfortable and unsafe, and really disappointed in the school I chose to go to.”