“Missionaries” and Planned Parenthood spar on campus

pic of buses

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Students at the University of Southern Mississippi were assailed with graphic images last Monday by a pro-life group that styles itself "Missionaries for the Pre-Born." The group arrived on campus as part of its "Personhood Tour" through Mississippi to promote a ballot measure that would define life as beginning at the moment of fertilization.

In a press release, Planned Parenthood described this organization as "extremist," and it is not difficult to see why.

The "missionaries" group utilized some less-than-tasteful tactics to try to advocate their position. These included posters featuring graphic images of dead, mangled fetuses, which were understandably shocking and disturbing to many of the students in the area. The activists also employed children, having them stand around campus distributing pamphlets filled with gore. One such child would distribute these documents adding, "Please sir, don't kill me." Much of their information was factually incorrect, such as their much-debunked claim that abortion causes breast cancer. Members of the group also had images on their vehicles that were anti-vaccination, but there was no explanation as to why.

Not to be outflanked, Planned Parenthood responded on campus Thursday in the form of a large pink bus, detailed with (factual) statistics. Their activists took questions from passing students, without resorting to gore or debunked myths. These activists reminded students that Planned Parenthood offers a variety of services such breast exams, testing for sexually transmitted disease, and sexual education, and that only approximately 3 percent of its services involve abortion. Instead of gruesome pamphlets, the crew of the pink bus offered pink T-shirts that stated, "I Stand With Planned Parenthood."

If anything, the "Missionaries for the Pre-Born" may have helped Planned Parenthood's cause. Without their shocking display, Planned Parenthood likely would not have sent its pink bus and facts to USM's campus, educating many students on the wide variety of necessary services it offers. In addition, the "missionaries" appeared to seriously turn off many students.

Besides numerous negative Facebook and Twitter posts about the "pre-born" missionaries, the editors of the student paper, The Student Printz, posted their opinions on the paper's website, which were overwhelmingly negative toward the group. One writer said that "having eight-year-old children line the streets and campus to hand out anti-abortion cards urging people to vote yes for Proposition 26 is morally grotesque," while another posted that the missionaries were "no better than the people who decided to make the last four 'Saw' movies."

Proposition 26 is the so-called Personhood Mississippi Amendment, which Mississippians will vote on in November. It redefines the beginning of human life as the moment of conception, as a way of challenging a women's right to have an abortion as set forth by Roe v. Wade, according to the Personhood Mississippi website.

Overall, it seems that the Missionaries for the Pre-Born were more concerned with shock value and gore than they were with their message. Fortunately for Planned Parenthood, this seemed to backfire, and backfire badly.

Photo: PW/Ryan Ebersole



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  • This horrid van is currently parked on the side of Hwy 49 south of I-10 in Gulfport. Maybe we can get the Planned Parenthood bus down here. I am both pro-choice and anti-abortion. Abortions are horrible but that doesn't mean I have the right to tell someone they should not have one. If it's illegal desperate teenage girls will find other ways to end the pregnancy which could lead to the death of both the mother and the child or serious damage to the baby if it is born. More than anything I'm pro-education. If we improve sex education in this state we'll cut the rate of abortions more than any scare campaigns.

    Posted by Sarah Worrel, 10/12/2011 4:47pm (4 years ago)

  • Just as a point of information the American Congress of Obstestrics and Gynecology steadfastly oppose the personhood amendment for legal reasons. Most OB/Gyn docs in the state are members of this organization.

    Posted by Wayne A Slocum MD, 10/05/2011 10:15pm (4 years ago)

  • @Jenny
    Your comment, "And if you are prochoice, why would pictures of abortions bother you? If you are going to support something, don't be too cowardly to face it," is completely irrelevant.

    First off, rarely do people enjoy seeing any sort of surgery procedure, abortion or otherwise. You assume that because one is pro-choise, they must have no issues at all with seeing images. Well, I'm pro-choice and I don't enjoy seeing pictures of hearts,livers, even broken bones; please tell me why abortion images would be any different? You assume incorrectly that pro-choice people "support" abortions, and therefore should delight in the imagery.

    What you, like so many other pro-life supporters forget and/or are confused about is that being pro-choice does not mean being pro-abortion. It means woman should at least have the CHOICE. We are not promoting abortion, we are promoting the right to choice.

    Posted by Kendall , 04/10/2011 5:02pm (4 years ago)

  • @ Jenny

    No, I do not work for Planned Parenthood. While, I admit that I am biased towards the organization, as I used to be involved in the HIV/STD-prevention field.

    I'm not sure what "Peer-reviewed" articles you may refer to, but this so-called link between Breast Cancer and abortion has been disproved by the World Health Organization, the U.S. Nation Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Royal (British) College of Obsetricians and Gynecologists. This link has about as much factual basis as the link between austism and vaccines (also heavily disproven.) So yes, the research favors my article.

    Showing bloody fetuses, and exposing children to that is a deplorable way to try to make a point. This group should try to argue on the merits of an argument, not resort to graphic depictions. The bias you picked up was me comparing this group's factually incorrect horror show, with Planned Parenthood's adult, factual and friendly response. Thanks for your suggestions though Jenny!

    Posted by Ryan Ebersole, 04/08/2011 2:12pm (5 years ago)

  • We should also care more about women's sexual health. STDdatings. com says 1 in 4 teen girls got stds. Over 70 million people are living with STDs in the U.S. There's 600,000+ members on STDdatings, some famous people also find support there. wish you luck and find someone understand you.

    Posted by Sarah, 04/08/2011 2:20am (5 years ago)

  • Have you noticed, these anti-choice people are only concerned with children's welfare until they are born - after that, they don't care.

    Posted by Gail Ryall, 04/05/2011 8:28pm (5 years ago)

  • Gee, this article is so fair and unbiased...lol, Does this writer work for Planned Parenthood?
    By the way, I just googled "abortion breast cancer link" and found peer-reviewed journals that prove this article wrong. So I guess the "missionaries" were at least right about that! This writer needs to do a little research and at least TRY to sound unbiased. And if you are prochoice, why would pictures of abortions bother you? If you are going to support something, don't be too cowardly to face it.

    Posted by Jenny, 04/05/2011 8:08pm (5 years ago)

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