the satuday abortion protests in ypsi

I’ve written about the recent protests against the planned abortion clinic on Washington Street, but I haven’t written about the counter protests yet. For the last few Saturdays there have been counter protesters on each of the corners at the intersection of Washington Street and Michigan Avenue, holding up sheets to obscure the blown-up photos of dead babies held up by the anti-abortion protesters. (Sorry for the grisly image, but I thought that you should see what it is that the counter-protestors are trying to keep people from seeing.)

I talked with a few of the people holding sheets and they tell me that the response from passers-by has been overwhelmingly positive. They also mentioned that a few of the people holding up the sheets with them were pro-lifers. I didn’t verify that, but I can see how it would be possible that someone from their side would find this particular approach distasteful.

Following is a clip from a note I received recently from Shawn Neal, one of the organizers of the counter protest:

…Every Saturday for the last month, there have been several Pro-Life groups setting up shop in downtown Ypsilanti outside a women’s health clinic-with huge, graphic photos of the remains of partial birth abortions, blighting the streets and harassing women who seek council inside. (see articles attached)

While some of the protesters are linked with the Christ is King Church in Ann Arbor, most of the demonstrators bus in from out of town, some from as far away as Minnesota.

These images, while extremely graphic (NSFW), are also misleading as they are the results of a 3rd trimester, partial-birth abortion performed in 1987; which is NOT being performed at this clinic and have not been performed in Michigan since 1996, and has been banned in the US since 2003 by the 108th Congress. (There is however a provision allowing the procedure if the life of the mother is at risk.) While we respect the right of this group to assemble peacefully in protest of abortion, we DO NOT condone these methods of deception, sensationalism and obstruction of women seeking this clinic’s services…

In the tradition of the Laramie Project and Angel Actions, our counter protest will be limited to pairs of volunteers holding up large sheets, obstructing the graphic images from public view and passers-by. This will be a peaceful, silent counter-demonstration, as we will NOT engage in any sort of heated debate or arguments.

I suspect that if you show up next Saturday, they could use some help… I’m thinking about showing up on the side of the anti-abortion protesters with a white lab coat saying, “Forensic Vagina Inspector,” and a sign saying, “Your Womb Will Tell Your Secrets.”

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  1. Dirtgrain
    Posted April 30, 2006 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Why don’t they go the extra mile and post pictures of these “fetuses” having sex with each other. You know, fetal, pro-life porn. It’s all the rage, and I definitely want my kids to see it (when I have kids, which honestly seems pretty gross considering what they “look” like according to those pictures). Do women really want those monsters crawling around in their bellies?

  2. mike_1630
    Posted April 30, 2006 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    There is no such thing as a “partial birth abortion”… that term has no real meaning.

  3. mark
    Posted April 30, 2006 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    I feel obliged to say it every time I post on the subject of abortion, but I really don’t see a problem with Clinton’s, “Safe, Legal, and Rare” stance on the issue. I don’t like abortion and I wish there would be fewer of them, but I beilieve it’s a person’s right to determine what is, or is not done to their body. And I don’t want to live in a country which has on its payroll Forensic Vagina Specialists that have the power to probe inside of women for evidence of a crime.

  4. Shanster
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    Why don’t you like abortion?

  5. be OH be
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I was thinking about how those protestors’ signs depict the results of a specific act which won’t be taking place in the clinic their opposing.

    Perhaps you could go protest outside of their church with signs depicting the Inquisition or some other horrible act that was once commited in the name of Christianity.

  6. be OH be
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    their = they’re

  7. Anonymous
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I agree with Mark, and OH be, I believe it is a womans right what she can and can not do with her body! And before you start believeing what the bible thumpers are trying to make you believe research it yourself! And then you will really see who is not telling the truth! And that’s one of the reasons why i don’t believe in organized religon! Each church want’s you to believe something different! But that’s another can of worms!

  8. murph
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I’ll second mark’s safe/legal/rare comment, and, by way of explanation to shanster: I can’t imagine that having an abortion is much fun, regardless of your thoughts on the matter. Granted, I’m male, so some would say I’m unqualified to imagine anything at all on the topic, but I think my statement above is fairly safe. Abortion is not a recreational procedure – it’s something you do to get out of a situation you don’t want to be in.

    A woman who needs to get an abortion should be able to, safely and with a minimum of added trauma. But this is kind of like saying, “We should be able to clean up nuclear waste safely.” It would be better to minimize the number of women put into situations where they need to have abortions.

    Long story short, I think we need to get a bunch of people in condom costumes out to do a conga line around the Gross Poster Pod People…

  9. schutzman
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    The artist responsible for the poster is very good, but they’re no Tom Savini.

  10. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I can’t read the sign in the top left. Does is say, “Welcome to Ypsi. Eat at Haab’s”?

  11. mark
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    For the record, I don’t like divorce, or any number of other unpleasant, but often necessary, things either, Shanester… Beyond that, I’ll just say that I agree with what Murph said. (Thanks, Murph.)

  12. mark
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    And, Brett, if you’re not busy this Saturday, we could blow up that Savini photo and head down to Michigan Ave to protest. “No Savini in Ypsilanti!” (Until some pro-Savini folks come down and surround us in their bedding, that is.)

  13. Shanster
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the answer, Mark. I really just wanted to know. I can also agree with murph on that answer almost completely. But I imagine we would differ on the definition of ‘need’.

  14. Dirtgrain
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    “And, Brett, if you’re not busy this Saturday, we could blow up that Savini photo and head down to Michigan Ave to protest. “No Savini in Ypsilanti!” (Until some pro-Savini folks come down and surround us in their bedding, that is.)”

    Can I come? Actually, we should go to their churches as be OH be suggests. Gory pictures of victims of the church would be cool. Maybe we could just have posters of naked women and men. How would they react if their children were forced to see nude pictures? Maybe we could recruit some strippers to stand naked outside of their churches.

    Disclaimer: in my earlier post, which grossed out my sister, I was just trying to point out the contradiction–that they would object to porn but not the vulgar images that they flaunt. I can’t quite figure out what would be worse to see. Could anti-pornography or child pornography laws apply to what they are doing?

  15. chris
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    In the absence of quality affordable daycare and education, universal healthcare for infants and children, no guarunteed living wage for single mothers, and active enforcement of court ordered child support I guess you could say I like abortion, or at the least its availability.

    Oh yeah, I forgot to include that I like abortion better than child abuse/neglect. Also, anyone that doesn’t like the idea of abortion being available I suggest they take a vacation in Brazil.

  16. Shanster
    Posted May 3, 2006 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    chris- How are you? I miss having our pleasant discussions. Your first list of things that make abortion’s availability likable are all financial. I would be willing to sacrifice wealthy people’s tax dollars (not mine, I am a ‘working’ person) for those things. If you use legislation to force the religious right to put their money where our mouths are, and you’ll see which politicians are pro-life and which are just pro-reelection. I saw a protestor’s sign outside a clinic that said “we will pay all your expenses through your pregnancy.” I could appreciate that more than the mangled feti.

  17. chris
    Posted May 3, 2006 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Screw expenses through pregnancy…that is not, nor probably ever was a real issue. Reason being, USA would like to keep their infant mortality rates in step w/ other first world industrialized nations, and as a result there is plenty of monies available for prenatal care and delivery.

    Where we fall short is providing mothers and children who do not have resources, access to said resources.

    Of course abortion is an answer to a financial question. It is the majority of the time the decision is made. Do you think we (women) go around saying, “Oh dear, I got knocked up how will I ever fit into my new 7 for all Mankind jeans” or “kids suck, let someone else have them”?

    And aren’t you the pro-Bush administration dude? These guys, the most vociferously anti-choice, are also the one’s who have eviscerated any parity in taxation in favor of even larger tax cuts for the wealthy. So large, that when my spouse whose livelihood and obsession is municipal finance, begins to explain the current administration’s changes to the tax laws I have to put my fingers in my ears and start saying, “toyboattoyboattoyboat” in order to keep from throwing myself on the nearest pike.

    But amen brother, to the comment reg. which politicians are pro-life (there, I said it, you happy now?-insert winking emoticon here) vs. pro-reelection.

    You see, I have a theory, and that is the anti-abortion debate is really a smokescreen to keep womens’ groups and their substituents from rightfully demanding those items that I outlined earlier. An artfully, modern adaptation utilized by colonizing nations when colonizing.

    Yeah, I missed you too. Whenever we “debate” I imagine that you have blonde hair, do you?

    Mangled feti…you better trademark that before a german death metal band co-opts for their name.

  18. mark
    Posted May 4, 2006 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Is aborting this discussion an option, or is it too far along?

  19. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted May 4, 2006 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    This is slightly off-topic, but do you think that I have a chance of interesting publishers with my idea for a book called, “Shark in My Rectum”?

  20. chris
    Posted May 4, 2006 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t that a Japanese porn flick?

  21. Shanster
    Posted May 5, 2006 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    chris- Yes, once upon a time, I had blond hair. I imagine your voice as Randy Rhodes’. Yes, I am basically pro-Bush, but I’ve got plenty of disagreements with the Pres, and Republicans in general, which are only exacerbated by my visiting here and reading reasonable ideas from dissenters.

  22. Shanster
    Posted May 8, 2006 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Oh, my gosh! I drove by there on Saturday, and I think it got worse, including new dismembered feti. I had to tell my daughter to close her eyes. If even I am offended by these, then there’s something wrong. My wife said it was like standing outside Deja Vu with porn posters. That might actually help business, though; a more effective analogy might be STD photos. I understand that they want to offend because the new clinic is offensive, but that just ain’t right. The far right is effectively driving the near right to the center.

  23. mark
    Posted May 8, 2006 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Mission Accomplished!

  24. Los Lobos
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I was searching the web today for a “forensic vagina inspector” tshirt and happened across your wonderful site. Thank you.

  25. Isabelle Gilmore
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m taking a trip across country and I’d like to have an abortion in the Ypsilanti area. (I’m writing a book called Cross Country Aborting.) Do you have any interesting facilities?

  26. historian
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Losing these people was almost as big of a loss as losing the band Manhole.

    Poor, Ypsilanti.

    Where did these people go, anyway?

  27. Elf
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    What makes you think that these people on the corner and the men in Manhole aren’t one in the same?

    Speaking of Manhole, have you seen this video of Hollis?

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