Cemetery reignites debate

A field outside of Cooper Hall was strewn with 235 faux grave markers in protest Wednesday, representing the average number of abortions performed in Florida every day.

The protest was held by an on-campus group called Voices For the Unborn.

“This is a memorial to all of the abortions that happen in Florida every day,” said group President Ted Bianculli, a junior majoring in religious studies. “Our take on it is these are human beings that have never been given a chance at life. They will never have a funeral. They will never get the same opportunities that you and I have. That is what all of this is about.”

The display drew the attention of the Feminist Student Alliance (FSA), which had a table at the nearby Bull Market and launched a counter protest.

“We saw their display out here, and we are really working just to say that they have a sign that says they speak for all of the women here at USF, and we just wanted to let everyone know that they don’t speak for us and probably don’t speak for the majority of people here,” said Ali Hall, accounting senior and chair of the FSA.

VFU supports the belief that life begins at conception and abortion is a form of murder. Members point to faith and science as reasons for this belief.

“I believe it because of my religion, but also scientific reasons,” biology major and VFU Vice President Brittany Flynn said. “If you look through different research that’s been done, the heart starts beating at about three weeks and brainwaves start at three weeks. When you are proclaimed dead, you are proclaimed brain dead. So if you end life with brain death, then you start life with brain waves.”

The protest went off without incident as both sides acknowledged respect for the other’s right to free speech.

No personal attacks were launched, but according to Hall, “As we hand out condoms with our information, they yell through an intercom, ‘Take the risk because 30 percent of the time that will fail.'”

According to a National Institute of Health report, condom breakage or slippage only occurs 1.6 to 3.6 percent of the time when used properly.

“We are saying that (the cemetery) is not going to stop abortion. To decrease abortion, we need safe-sex education and to bridge the gap between pro-life and pro-choice,” Hall said.

Political science sophomore Zac Sitzberger is also a proponent of the moderate path.

“Personally I am pro-life, but I don’t think that this is anywhere that the government needs to be interfering,” he said. “They have more important issues to worry about. I don’t think they can tell a women what they can and can’t do.”