Wednesday, July 10, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 154


 
 









 
Abortion protests rule, man

Randy Woock
Opinion Columnist

There's nothing that gets one in the mood for a new semester of higher education like pictures of mutilated fetuses!

That's right. Those of you who wander on past Butler Plaza during the first week of school this fall are in for a special treat. Thanks to
a ruling by U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr., the student group Pro-Life Cougars can now display images of aborted fetuses as
part of their anti-abortion protests on campus.

The displays of baby corpses won't be tucked away in some forgotten corner of the campus, but in Butler Plaza, better known as that
cheery landscape of grass surrounded by highly popular places as PGH, E. Cullen, and some building known as the library.
Basically, Pro-Life Cougars, which got busted doing this back in Spring 2001, now have the right to wave pictures of dead babies in
the faces of most of UH's student population.

I have to come right out and say that, while I may not agree with Pro-Life Cougars. I thoroughly support the group's exercise of its First
Amendment rights. For that matter, I support any exercise of First Amendment rights.

With the government's current slash-and-burn attack on the Bill of Rights, it's nice to see the First Amendment not taking the same
beating as the Fourth and Sixth. And hey, shoving pictures of baby cadavers in the faces of random strangers, it honestly sounds like
the sort of thing I'd <I>enjoy<P> doing on a Friday night. Never thought I'd have something in common with a bunch of humorless
religious types, but a love of free speech can make for strange bedfellows.

It will be, admittedly, quite a welcome for new students. Some things you expect on the first day of school: not being able to locate
your classes, finding a new replacement for your summer fling, living in fear that you'll be found out for the intellectual fraud that you
are, the kind of stuff that has little to do with baby carcasses. All those people who don't read this paper will be in for a surprise.

The worst affect I can imagine this having on a new student is it giving them the misleading impression of UH being a much more
exciting place than it actually is. But, who knows, something positive could come out of the dead baby displays. It could possibly add
some level of prestige to our fair campus.

Just think, instead of:

New student 1: "I just got my acceptance letter to UH."

New student 2: "Man, I told you that G.E.D. was worthless."

We could have something more along the lines of:

New student 1: "I just got my acceptance letter to UH!"

New student 2: "Great, the fire was starting to get a bit low."

Or something like that.

I realize everyone on campus -- having not been dropped as children -- may not be blessed with the same finely tuned sense of
morbid humor as myself, and may not find having pictures of dismembered fetuses shoved in their faces to be an overly amusing
experience. Different scenes for different genes, I suppose.

I'm merely hoping the precedent set by this court decision leads to more than the occasional undergraduate student losing his or her
appetite. I envision Butler Plaza becoming a protest center, where groups of concerned students can gripe and complain en masse
about everything from abortion to globalization to tuition raises to why they don't sell porn at the on-campus bookstore.

Should keep things interesting, at the very least.

Woock, a senior psychology major who 
loves his free speech, can be reached at nrrandy@hotmail.com.


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