Activists demonstrate on Quad, compare abortion to Holocaust

Pro-life activists used large posters with detailed images to share their message with the University community Monday on the quad.

Dan and Donna Holman of Keokuk, Iowa joined David Griffin of Mattoon, Ill. to express their views on the issue. Holman also voiced his opposition to abortion rights by speaking to all passers-by in aggregate and individually to those who chose to stop and converse with him.

Dan Holman, a former electronics technician in Rockford, Ill., said he and his wife spend approximately 10 weeks of the year on the road protesting abortion by visiting schools across the Midwest and South. The Holmans both consider themselves “missionaries for the pre-born.” After the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973, Holman said he viewed footage of two abortions.

“(I) was moved to do something for the pre-born … The word ‘fetus’ is used as a pejorative to dehumanize unborn children and more easily kill them,” he said.

One of the signs the group displayed paralleled an image of corpses in Hitler’s death camps with a photo of body parts of a fetus. Another displayed a photograph of a bloody fetus with a caption above it that read “Nobamacares,” and a caption below that read “Abortion.”

Several Jewish students also reacted to the Holocaust reference.

“I don’t know how you can even compare abortion to the Holocaust,” said Mimi Stender, junior in Education who identifies as Jewish. “It just isn’t right.”

Griffin is hosting the Holman’s at his home for this event and their upcoming trip to Eastern Illinois University. This was Griffin’s first time participating in a pro-life protest. After coming across YouTube clips about the Holmans, Griffin wrote to them and asked if he could come along for Monday’s protest. Griffin, a former real estate broker, said he has supported the cause for years and has worn a button that says “abortion,” with a swastika inside the “O.”’

Regarding the graphic nature of his poster, Griffin said, “If I had a prettier picture of abortion, I’d have put it up.”

Several students approached the activists, making comments about the posters and the abortion issue overall. Warren Souza, freshman in LAS who identifies as Roman Catholic, said he opposes abortion but decried Holman’s harsh words.

“We are not preaching the same gospel,” he said. “We can share the message in a more loving way, like telling a pregnant woman her options. Condemnation can come from God only.”

John O’Connor, graduate student in LAS, thanked the demonstrators for “ensuring a continuing Democratic majority with their reactionary views” and added that their viewpoints and strategy show “a total lack of nuanced understanding” of individual circumstances that could lead to women turning to abortion, such as “health issues with the child or mother.”

Holman said he “represents God” but cannot understand why “God should bless America, a wicked nation that allows baby-killing.” He said he did not sense apathy on the campus.

“People just don’t care,” Holman said.

Ilya can be reached at [email protected]