The "Exposing Hillary's Holocaust" Tour January 5-10, a joint effort of Columbia Christians for Life (Columbia, SC)and Missionaries to the Preborn Iowa (Keokuk, Iowa), set up several displays in high traffic areas in Columbia, Beaufort, Hilton Head Island, Charleston, North Charleston, Orangeburg, Florence, Sumter, Spartanburg, Greenville, and Anderson. Multiple displays were set up in Beaufort and Columbia, for a total of 15 over the six days of the tour.
Steve Lefemine and Ken Collins on "Exposing Hillary's Holocaust" Tour in Beaufort, South Carolina. Monday, January 7, 2008 [Photo - Dan Holman]
The Beaufort Gazette
Beaufort, South Carolina
Abortion signs stir public ire
Published Wed, Jan 9, 2008 12:00 AM
By IAN LESLIE
The last thing Sophia Crites expected to see on her way to church Sunday morning was a 5-foot image of an aborted fetus.
But there it was, at the intersection of U.S. 21 and S.C. 802 on Lady's Island, and her 6-year-old son saw it, too.
"He's been having nightmares," the Lady's Island resident said Tuesday. "He can't get it out of his mind."
The images and the people holding them appeared again Monday in front of the Chick-fil-A on Boundary Street and again Tuesday at the same Lady's Island intersection.
"It was a baby at 30 weeks of gestation," Crites said. "Very obviously dead, very covered in blood, very graphic."
The images of fetuses were accompanied by signs that said "Hillary's Holocaust," according to several people who said they saw them, an apparent reference to Hillary Clinton, a pro-choice presidential candidate. Also displayed were images of dead bodies and a sign that said "Hitler's Holocaust."
The local displays, which also included a stop on Hilton Head Island over the weekend, were a joint effort between Columbia Christians for Life, a South Carolina-based group led by Steve Lefemine, and Milwaukee-based Missionaries to the Preborn.
According to Columbia Christians for Life's Web site, the group is a "witness for the Lord Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, through establishing a faithful and compassionate Christian presence at the child-killing centers."
Randy McCoy, a St. Helena Island resident, hosted the anti-abortion group during its stay in Beaufort.
"We have a contingent of people not accustomed to seeing (those displays)," he said Tuesday night. "Children are always our biggest concern, but children need to know as well what an abortion looks like."
But several Beaufort County residents think this group was way off-base.
Kathy Hulbert, director at Sea Island Presbyterian Day School on Lady's Island, said she saw the signs when she headed into work at about 8:15 Tuesday morning.
"I appreciate the fact that we live in the U.S. and that they have the right to express their beliefs," said Hulbert, who says she's pro-life. "But at that time of the morning, many young children are going to school. It's very disturbing, and it's difficult for people to have to explain that to their children."
There are several schools and day cares within 2 miles of the U.S. 21/S.C. 802 intersection, including St. Peter's Catholic School.
"I've gotten some feedback about (the signs), and the feedback of course was not positive," said Bill Gabrielson, principal at St. Peter's. "I think while certainly the position of the school is strongly pro-life, there is a question of age-appropriateness to any kind of instruction. The posters certainly are not appropriate for young children."
Gabrielson said while he can "sympathize with the ends they have in mind, the means are not ones I can personally justify."
"There are ways to communicate messages that are important and pertinent without going to the point of seeing such unpleasant realities."
But McCoy, who said he showed the same images to his granddaughter when she was about 5 years old, disagrees.
"It's gotta be a shock to them, but somewhere along the line it has to be presented," he said.
Steve Troutman, owner of the Chick-fil-A on Boundary Street, said he received calls at home from angry customers when the protesters showed up on the sidewalk on U.S. 21 in front of his store.
"They were on the public right of way," he said. "But what is perceived was that we were supporting that, and nothing can be further from the truth."
Not a full-fledged protest, and arguably the legal equivalent to holding up signs advertising a car wash, the display didn't require permitting at either the Boundary Street or Lady's Island locations, according to city and county officials.
"We just advised them of what rules they had to follow out there," said Maj. Matt Clancy of the Beaufort Police Department. "They can't block the sidewalk, and they've got to keep moving and they can't obstruct traffic in any way."
Beaufort City Manager Scott Dadson agreed that the group was operating within the law. Suzanne Larson, spokeswoman for Beaufort County, said the right of way at the Lady's Island intersection is the responsibility of the S.C. Department of Transportation.
"They're in the DOT right of way, and the county had no authority," she said.
Though it may have been legal, Crites said she's not satisfied, and she wants to talk to the people responsible.
"I want to let them know I support their right to freedom of speech, but they're injuring my child who is alive," she said. "I know it won't do me any good to talk to them, but it will make me feel better."