‘Hands up, don’t abort,’ other messages cause controversy at Purdue

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Feb. 3, 2016) — A series of messages written in chalk and posted to bulletin boards on the Purdue University campus has caused controversy among students.

The chalk messages, reading “Womb = most dangerous place for black kids,” “Civil rights begins in womb” and “Planned Parenthood targets minorities,” were written in front of the Black Cultural Center and found Tuesday morning.

Also overnight, flyers were posted across campus reading “Black children are an endangered race. Hands up, don’t abort.” The flyers included a link to the website toomanyaborted.com and the hashtag Black Lives Matter.

“What it does is it connects two different types of pain in a way that doesn’t cause any healing,” student Chanel Beebe said.

Beebe and other students told CBS4 they found the messages to be offensive and concerning.

“It’s really hurtful,” student A.J. Lucky said.

Ryan Bomberger, who runs the website and the national Radiance Foundation, spoke at Purdue in October. He said the student group Students for Life created the flyers using his messaging, after attending his speech.

“We’ve been extolling the fact that black lives matter for years and years, long before the hashtag movement came along,” Bomberger said.

Beebe, though, said the use of the phrase made it even more targeted and, in her view, racist.

“You diminish the value of the Black Lives Matter movement,” Beebe said.

Bomberger, for his part, said that the messages were meant to start a conversation and address an issue that he believed was not being addressed.

“I would really challenge them, look into what is really happening with abortion and the devastation that is happening in the black community,” Bomberger said.

The Black Student Union and other students said no one approached them to have a conversation and the messages were not written with any reference to a student group.

“They didn’t put their names on it, they didn’t try to attach themselves to this message that they were spreading around campus,” student Sydney Tomasko said.

A Purdue University spokesperson told CBS4 that a complaint had been made to officials, but that so far they had found no violations of university policy.

The Purdue Students for Life group provided this statement in response to the controversy:

“In light of Black History Month, our goal is to raise awareness of the fact that abortion and the industry that surrounds it disproportionately affects and harms the black community. We want people to know that black lives matter, in the womb and out. We must fight factors like poverty, sexism, and racism, that drive women to abortion, and we at Purdue Students for Life work to love and support women of all races facing crisis pregnancies. This is not about shaming anyone. It’s about human equality and the fact that all human lives have dignity that cannot be taken away, be they black or white, male or female, born or preborn.”

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