TURTL hosts anti-abortion protest, triggers counter protest

Sophie Brams, Staff Reporter

On April 21, Tulane University Right to Life hosted an anti-abortion protest on Academic Quad. 

TURTL President Bailey Mirmelli said the purpose of the event was to address questions that the club believes are rarely asked on college campuses such as “what really is abortion, who does it concern, and is it ever necessary?” 

We wanted to have conversations with our peers, educate them on different perspectives and facts, and voice our support for life at all stages,” Mirmelli said. 

The art exhibit, called “They’re Human, Too” was created by Louisiana Right to Life and includes graphics displaying information about the choices pregnant women have, textbook images of abortion procedures, faces of adopted celebrities and more. 

Additionally, TURTL raised over $1,300 to support Louisiana Right to Life, a non-profit organization which works through activism, legislation, education and service to oppose abortion, euthenasia and other “life-destroying actions.” Mirmelli said TURTL chose to partner with LARTL because it wanted Tulane to be engaged in the dialogue that they were having on other college campuses. 

It is important that even though Tulane is a much different campus with much different demographics, students are still given the opportunity to have exposure to a perspective that—while often misunderstood and disregarded—fights for similar things that everyone wants for women and for people in general,” she said. 

In conjunction with the exhibit, TURTL held a panel, also on April 21, entitled “Diversity in the Pro-Life Movement,” a conversation on the intersection between feminism, progressivism and the anti-abortion movement. 

In response, members of Sunrise Tulane, Tulane Democrats, Students United for Reproductive Justice and Women and Youth Supporting Each Other partnered together to stage a counter-protest in which they collected donations for the New Orleans Abortion Fund and Big Easy Emergency Contraceptive. They raised over $900 for those causes. 

WYSE Executive Director Caroline Slagle said the counter protest was organized to subvert the intentions of the exhibit.

“We wanted to take the momentum behind that event and redirect it towards something that would be beneficial, such as funding abortions in New Orleans through New Orleans Abortion Fund, and then also promoting access to emergency contraceptives,” Slagle said. 

Rachel Landis, communications lead for Sunrise Tulane, also helped organized the counter-protest and said the money they raised to support access to abortions in New Orleans is worth celebrating. 

“Coming together with other students passionate about reproductive justice was incredibly powerful and validating, and I hope that Tulane students know there are people on this campus willing to fight for their reproductive rights,” Landis said.