March 11, 2010
Pro-life group plays hardball with UCLA over graphic display of aborted babies
I love hanging around with pro-lifers who don’t take crap.
Gregg Cunningham, executive director of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, is 1 of those.
If you’re blessed to be a friend or colleague of Gregg’s, he blind copies you on emails he writes to detractors and opponents of CBR’s work. Gregg’s wit always cracks me up, and his chutzpah always inspires me.
Yesterday Gregg copied me on an email he sent to Pam Cysner, Student Affairs Officer at UCLA.
The administration at UCLA has been jerking CBR’s student co-sponsors around for a year trying to keep CBR from reserving space for a huge Genocide Awareness Project abortion photo display on Bruin Plaza….
(I’m sprinkling photos of other such GAP displays at various college campuses throughout this post. Click all to enlarge.)
I asked Gregg if I could post excerpts of his shock and awe letter to Cysner, and he said yes. I should mention Gregg is an attorney. Now this is hardball…
From: Gregg Cunningham [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 5:26 PM
Cc: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Gary McCaleb;firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Genocide Awareness Project Plaza Reservation
Dear Ms. Cysner,
I direct The Center For Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR), the 501(c)3 organization which has, for approximately one year, been seeking to conduct, in conjunction with our UCLA student associates, constitutionally protected expressive activity on Bruin Plaza….
I just want to forewarn you that if this long-running and totally unreasonable reservations obstruction is not ended in the next few days, our organization will turn this matter over to our lawyers with instructions to prepare a First Amendment lawsuit against UCLA.
If you mistakenly believe that this notice is mere bluster, you would be well advised to visit our website atwww.abortionNO.org to view a partial but lengthy list of the many government agencies which CBR has successfully sued for violations of our constitutional rights – frequently obtaining judgments obligating the offending entities to pay large attorney fee awards….
If our highly deferential attempts to accommodate the university’s time, place and manner concerns continue to prove fruitless and we are forced to litigate the constitutionality of your sustained refusal to accept our registration applications, we will, during the pendency of this lawsuit, display our exhibit on the UCLA campus using alternative modes of expression which are far more dangerous and wastefully consumptive of your resources and ours.
Because these methods are also far less effective, we will be compelled to visit your campus on many, many more display days than would be necessitated if we were able to reserve space on Bruin Plaza for two consecutive days. Since our attempts to cooperate with your administration have been futile, we will simply show up, with our abortion photo signs but without notice.
Although this approach will force the university to deal extemporaneously with the resulting security problems, it is clear to us that your administration is not interested in the sensible coordination these events.
If we are not permitted to reserve Bruin Plaza space for the orderly displays of our signs, behind our own crowd control barricades, CBR will exercise its alternative right to display its signs, using hand-held versions, in randomly chosen and constantly changing areas of the Plaza which are not reserved by others.
We will also expand our display to other areas of campus as necessary to access the largest numbers of passersby. We acknowledge the university’s right to make its facilities available through a constitutionally sound reservations process but we reject any argument that no expressive activity may take place on the Plaza or elsewhere unless it occurs in properly reserved areas….
As noted above, this hand-held sign method of expressing our point of view is not our preferred option, not least because it tends to create pandemonium and enormous policing difficulties. All sense of place is lost with the elimination of the boundaries created by crowd control barricades.
These boundaries are essential to effective police practices during inevitably contentious confrontations involving passersby. The barricades help security officers maintain reasonable separation among contending factions. The loss of this important crowd management mechanism invites disruption which tends toward the sort of disorder that can quickly escalate into violence.
Representative examples of the kinds of threats and assaults by which CBR’s staff has been victimized can be seen and heard on the CBR website at http://www.abortionno.org/violent-threats-and-attacks-on-cbr/.
These incidents were, virtually without exception, attributable to the absence of a reserved and adequately secured space and or an adequate police presence. These public safety deficiencies frequently provoke violence from passersby who exploit the opportunity to act out with impunity.
The public display of CBR’s abortion photos is so inherently dangerous that one of our volunteers, the late James Pouillon, was shot and killed while holding an abortion photo which he was showing to students. His murderer confessed that his attack was motivated by anger at the public display of abortion photos. It is a miracle that no bystanders were hit by stray bullets. UCLA is an open, urban campus where the potential for similar violence is not merely theoretical.
Please also be advised that CBR is retaining the services of public relations consultants who will be encouraging and coordinating extensive news coverage of CBR’s activities at UCLA.
We are offering you an opportunity to accommodate two days of orderly, peaceful, lawful, expressive activity in reserved space on Bruin Plaza.
The alternative will be a lengthy and expensive lawsuit (we have successfully prosecuted appeals all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court on multiple occasions) and frequent campus chaos which will force you to pay a great deal of overtime compensation to security personnel – not because we are behaving unlawfully, but because you are denying us an opportunity to express our point of view in a way which minimizes the risk that passersby will behave unlawfully.
The nature or our working relationship, cooperative or adversarial, is entirely up to UCLA but I can assure you, we will not be pushed off your campus. We have conducted this project at schools all over the country, more than 160 times over the last eleven years. We have never allowed any administration to violate our rights and we never will, no matter what the cost. Our message is highly disfavored and the moment we allow any school to become abusive, the precedent will invite future schools to do the same.
Our principle offices are located in Southern California, affording us easy access to your campus. If you want this dispute to become a protracted battle, we are well disposed to accommodate that wish. But our preference is for a display which can be concluded briefly, professionally and in a spirit of collegiality, if not bon ami.
We await your decision but if we are unable to reach an acceptable accord in the next few days, we are going to begin lawful exhibitions without your approval in the next few weeks and the process of vindicating of our legal rights soon thereafter.
Director, The Center For Bio-Ethical Reform
Posted 03/11/10 at 10:17 AM | Comments (18)ShareThis
AWESOME!!!!!!!! I love this man! Profound respect though I don’t know him personally! Hooray for him not being pushed around by these anti-rights abortion supporters!
Posted by: Sydney M. at March 11, 2010 10:41 AM
That’s pretty great.
It’s amazing how divisive even the simplest tasks become when abortion rights are called into question.
Posted by: Andrew Haines at March 11, 2010 10:59 AM
Absolutely incredible! Thanks so much for posting this, Jill. God love Gregg Cunningham, and protect him!!
St. Michael the Archangel, pray for US.
Posted by: mlizzy at March 11, 2010 10:59 AM
In the University of Oregon picture are the PC students trying to cover up the images with bed sheets? You cannot silence The Truth. After so many years of aborting the unborn, their blood still cries out.
Posted by: carla at March 11, 2010 11:12 AM
Loved your letter! Grateful to know we are on the same team, fighting the same fight! God bless you and your work!
Posted by: carla at March 11, 2010 11:23 AM
God Bless you, Gregg Cunningham! May you continue to stand strong against those who would dare attempt to silence THE TRUTH!! You/We will prevail!!
Posted by: Pamela at March 11, 2010 11:37 AM
We need more pro-life attorneys like Gregg!!
Come on UCLA, do the right thing!
Posted by: Janet at March 11, 2010 12:01 PM
Gregg Cunningham’s e-mail is addressed to a Pcysner. The following eulogy comes from a 2003 UCLA Spotlight available on the Web. I like the quotation about listening and finding “ways to communicate in a different way than using physical violence.” One would think she would be fully receptive to CBR’s message!
Pam Cysner, who works in UCLA’s Center for Student Programming as an adviser to student groups, has spent most of her life volunteering for youth. For 20 years she has worked with athletes, families and coaches in the Westside Special Olympics. She has led numerous workshops on diversity and conflict resolution for UCLA student leaders.
For the past eight years, she has served in five Inglewood schools in a program called Alternatives to Violence, teaching communication techniques, anger management and conflict mediation to middle and high school students — and in some cases, their teachers.
“Mostly I listen,” says Cysner, a trained mediator who tries her best to see things from the perspective of those she works with. Only then, she says, “can I help them find ways to communicate in a different way than using physical violence.”
Many of the students have been abused, neglected and demoralized. Many have a long history of getting into trouble at school. “I get kids telling me, ‘I feel that nobody cares,’ ” she recounts. “If it happens at home, and they go to school and feel nobody’s listening there, too, they get angry.”
Cysner strives to teach students to channel their emotions into leadership skills. She has her success stories, among them, former gang leaders who return to talk to students now in her workshops.
It’s an uphill climb, she admits. “It’s hard — I have to be honest. And yet, at the same time, I know that it’s not going to change unless I try.”
Posted by: Jon at March 11, 2010 12:12 PM
Boy, would I love to hear/read the reply to this magnificent letter.
Bravo, Mr. Cunningham!
Posted by: Jennifer at March 11, 2010 12:24 PM
Anyone who knows Gregg is not surprised by his direct and effective approach. He’s doing great work in educating college students to the atrocity of abortion. Well done!
Posted by: Brad Mattes at March 11, 2010 12:32 PM
OK, that letter is just too awesome.
I like this man!
Posted by: Lucy at March 11, 2010 2:34 PM
It’s really bad that we have to show what happens to a beautiful gift from God, that it turns to a bloody mess, to get the point across that abortion is murder. I pray that all those students will have a change of heart and realize that it is a BABY!!!
Hopefully that they will tell Planned Parenthood to take a long walk of a short pier!!
Posted by: Pati Adams at March 11, 2010 8:59 PM
A simple question for those of the murder of the unborn agenda: If you are so certain that murder of the unborn is so right, then WHY are you so afraid for others to see the results of these murders that you support?
Posted by: Kenneth Harrell at March 12, 2010 11:11 AM
Wow, Mr Cunningham! That was a totally awesome letter. Now that’s how you get things done.You and CBR have my total support.
Posted by: Robyn at March 12, 2010 11:37 AM
We know that the big lie about abortion is the lie about “choice”. The baby has no choice at all and the mother has other real choices, whether she “chooses” them or not. However, some women do not experience their abortions as a choice – they have been coerced, threatened, lied to and at times truly compelled – against their choice – by parents, husbands, abusers, medical professionals, even by civil authorities in China and other countries. Fathers in this country have no rights regarding their pre-born children, and many grieve deeply with hidden tears. For these men and women, these graphic photos, displayed in all their wrenching truth, are yet another act of violence, a re-traumatization. This display, if it is set up in a way that further victimizes post-abortive women, bereaved fathers, siblings and grandparents, does not expiate guilt or redeem our own losses. Speak the truth, but speak it in love.
Posted by: midwife2moms at March 12, 2010 11:47 AM
HOOYAH to you, Mr. Cunningham!
It’s time we fought back, legally and respectfully, that is.
“America will not reject abortion until America sees abortion”
Posted by: RSD at March 12, 2010 12:23 PM
Commenting on midwife2moms comment above:
Being one who has lost a child through an unwanted abortion, I agree these photos are tough to look at. However, over time, I’ve grown to like them more and more, and feel they need to be everywhere, as frequently as possible.
Heck, I’d like to see them on billboards, on buses, on the back of my car. If, by reducing them (or showing them only to a select crowd) so as not to hurt someone’s feelings who has been hurt plenty by this evil act, how does that help eliminate the evil act in the first place? Maybe I’m less pained than others (it helps to go to daily Mass, recite the Rosary, and participate in frequent Confession), but I feel the devil is shrewd and we should never give him the upper hand by [hiding] death for which he is responsible.
Posted by: mlizzy at March 12, 2010 1:16 PM
I agree, mlizzy.
As a postabortive mom I of course did NOT appreciate them at first. I used to flip them off actually. I could not deny the impact of seeing them though, especially ones that showed a 10 week old baby that died in an abortion. That was how far along I was. As I reached out for healing and recovery I realized these photos are TRUTH. One has to face the very real fact that a child dies in an abortion. They help me to keep fighting.
Posted by: carla at March 12, 2010 1:25 PM