The following comes from an April 22 Monterey County Now article by John Bays:

Bloody aborted fetuses. Embryos still on the womb.

These graphic images adorn large posters set up by anti-abortion activists from the nonprofit organization Project Truth, which set up shop on CSU Monterey Bay’s campus on April 21.

Project Truth is the youth outreach branch of the Sanctity of Human Life Network, a Christian pro-life educational organization founded in Sacramento in 1994. For the past 10 years, Project Truth has toured high schools and colleges in Northern California, although they have demonstrated on campuses as far away as Southern California and Oregon.

Volunteers set up large signs featuring pictures of aborted fetuses and quotes from various pro-life doctors and politicians. One of the volunteers, Matthew Vaughn, typically begins by asking “Is that a human?” while pointing to a picture of an aborted fetus.

According to one volunteer, Don Blythe, Project Truth’s goal is to open up a civil dialogue with students, presenting their facts in the hopes of changing the minds of pro-choice students. Very few minds seemed to change on either side that day, but most if not all of the discussions were civil, often ending with both parties agreeing to disagree.

Demonstrations this controversial are rarely met without some sort of counter-protest by students, and CSUMB was no different.

Representatives from numerous clubs arrived to voice their disagreement, including LGBTQ Allies and Advocates, feminist-focused Empower, Pride Club which focuses more on LGBTQ students than allies and the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Later in the day, Paige Burns from Monterey Peninsula for Life, a self-described “pro-woman, pro-life” organization, arrived to display her own sign, which read: “We Care, We Can Help.”

Monterey Peninsula for Life is a resource center for pregnant women, directing them to pregnancy clinics and providing them with cribs, toys, clothing and other baby-related items donated by private citizens. They also direct women who have already undergone abortions to “Post-Abortive Healing” centers and retreats, where women can receive counseling for the possible trauma resulting from abortions.

Burns did not receive the same civil response as Project Truth, and became involved in multiple heated debates with students. Burns would frequently speak over students attempting to debate her, raising her voice more than once.

Arguments against her position include pregnancies from rape, abuse of unwanted children and the use of contraception, which Burns opposes due to her Catholic faith.

One student, AJ Macedo, said of religious freedom: “Religious freedom isn’t telling innocent people what to do with their bodies.”

Tempers continued to flare as the day progressed, culminating in a few students yelling at both Burns and Project Truth that they “do not belong on this campus.” Some students discussed calling university police, although officers were already present.

Officers took no action, as no laws had been broken. Burns and Project Truth eventually packed up and left around 2pm as students cheered and told them not to come back.