Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, or SAH, a Christian pro-life activism group based in Riverside, California, held its “Show the Truth” event on Sproul Plaza on Monday to advocate against abortion.
Beginning about 10:30 a.m., SAH members began holding signs on Sproul with graphic imagery depicting “the violence and atrocity of abortion” in an effort to “show others the truth behind abortion,” according to Joseph Mullen, a member of SAH.
“We want to spread awareness about how abortion is harmful to women … to show people that abortion is wrong,” said Vincent Howard, a member of SAH.
Other SAH members, some as young as 14 years old, distributed informational pamphlets to passersby, some wearing “life tape” over their mouths to “give up our voices for those who have none,” according to Mullen.
The event prompted some campus community members to actively protest against SAH. Noel León, a rising campus senior protesting the “Show the Truth” event, said they had been walking through Sproul Plaza and saw onlookers becoming “visibly upset” from the demonstration.
León criticized what they called the “use of shock value and shock tactics” to provoke responses from passersby.
“I find it fitting how a lot of people out here are wearing tape over their mouths,” León said. “It’s symbolic of how silent they keep for issues that pertain to marginalized communities.”
Mullen said SAH decided to hold its “Show The Truth” event at UC Berkeley because of its history as “the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement,” adding that the group was “exercising its rights.”
Barry Bautista, a recent campus graduate walking by Sproul Plaza during the event, said while SAH has every right to be out here, free speech can “come with some consequences,” adding that he understood how the imagery could be “very triggering to a lot of folks.”
Bautista also expressed some skepticism about the factual nature of the information being presented by SAH, saying that he believed some of the images were not real and perhaps “intensified for shock value.”
Chloe Chen, a campus rising senior also protesting the event, said she believed SAH was “here to shame people” and be “incendiary” instead of promoting conversation.
“This is traumatizing to a lot of people,” Chen said. “I support free speech, but just because you have the right to and can say it doesn’t necessarily mean you should.”