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HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A college pro-life club had its "Field of the Innocents" display vandalized on Sunday. The display, a common one for pro-life organizations, is a small grassy area full of miniature white crosses, representing the vast number of unborn children killed through abortion.
At Northern Kentucky University (NKU), the student pro-life club, Northern Right to Life, spent three hours on Sunday setting up 300 small Crosses and a large sign. Each Cross represents ten of the 3,000 babies killed by abortion every day in the United States, as the sign explained.
Within two hours of setting up their display, pro-lifers discovered that unknown vandals had knocked over or broken some of the Crosses. The large sign was stolen, too.
Local news channel WLWT, based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, covered Sunday's vandalism. "Northern Kentucky," the university's namesake, is a mostly suburban region just across the Ohio River (the state border) from Cincinnati. Thus, Northern Kentucky is considered part of the "greater Cincinnati area" covered by WLWT and other Cincinnati news agencies.
On Wednesday, Northern Right to Life found out that the display was vandalized again. But this time, they caught the perpetrator on camera. Photographs showed a young woman in a hooded sweatshirt and baggy pants yanking up crosses at about 1:50 a.m. Wednesday morning.
At noon Wednesday, Northern Right to Life helped host a free speech rally on NKU's campus. They heard a brief speech about the First Amendment, and some participants donned pro-life shirts and signs. They celebrated free speech by inviting passers-by to write anything they wanted on small dry-erase boards. We asked organizers about the event, and they replied, "We had about 25 individuals at the rally today." It was livestreamed on Facebook using a smartphone.
The two incidents are among a long list of vandalistic actions, targeting Northern Right to Life ever since its inception in 2006.
In April 2006, an NKU literature professor was seen leading a group of students, destroying a similar display with little white Crosses. The professor, Sally Jacobsen, is an outspoken radical feminist. She was soon fired by the university for violating the faculty code of conduct.
In October 2013, Northern Right to Life had seven signs stolen from its "Cemetery of the Innocents."
Northern Right to Life's current president, Maria Walker, counts a total of six instances of vandalism in the past 11 years. She told us in an email Wednesday afternoon:
This act of vandalism is pretty on par with destruction we have had to our displays in the past. So, I am not surprised about that aspect. What I am surprised about is other students voicing their support for the vandals on social media and congratulating them for committing a crime and suppressing the First Amendment rights of other students.
Indeed, a brief look on the club's Facebook page confirms that some NKU students were lauding the acts of property destruction. One commenter said about the person in the security camera photos, "Whoever she is, she is now my favorite person, and I love her."
Catholics in Northern Kentucky are members of the diocese of Covington, known for its beautiful Gothic basilica modeled after the Notre Dame in Paris. (The Covington cathedral's full name is St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption.) The diocese's prelate, Bp. Roger J. Foys, is an outspoken supporter of the pro-life movement.
In an October 3 letter, Bp. Foys wrote about the "annual celebration of Respect Life Month in October." He spoke about the need to protect human life "at all stages" but emphasized the need to oppose the grave evil of abortion: "Of course, first on our list in promoting a true respect for life has to be the unborn. The child in the womb is the most vulnerable of all those for whom we must speak."