Why I’m Also Fighting to Get Rid of the Fetus Graveyard at Marquette University


I’m taking a page out of Tess Bridges’ book and writing about why I’m fighting to end the fetus graveyard at Marquette University. I started at Marquette in the Fall of 2016, and I remember the first time I saw the little pink and blue flags coving the grass in front of Lalumerie. I remember being disgusted that Marquette was willing to let something like this happen, until of course I remembered I went to a Jesuit school.

Still though, I couldn’t be the only one upset by looking at a graveyard of fetuses that seemed to me to be shaming women for having an abortion, still birth, or miscarriage.

The next semester I found the intersectional feminist club, Empowerment, on campus and immediately hit it off with them. As it turned out, they were just as angry about the graveyard as I was, if not more so. And they were doing something about it.

This was also the year that some people had had enough and protested the graveyard by covering it with signs and dropping clothes hangers around them. See below:

The students who did this acted as individuals and I actually could not be more proud of them. Marquette, on the other hand, was not so happy. They said that this was “defacement” and that it was not welcome at Marquette. They also went on to say that it was not dialogue. Yet when students did engage in “dialogue” with Marquette, little to nothing was done.

I understand that Marquette is a Jesuit institution that does not like abortions. News flash! No one does. But I firmly believe that all people should have the choice to have an abortion should they want one and so does Empowerment. Someone’s body is their business and their business alone.

The summer before my sophomore year, there had been talks on and off between Campus Ministries, Marquette For Life, and Empowerment about the display, but little progress was made. (Read Tess’s article and you’ll see how it sort of spiraled out of control.)

Once again, Marquette has chosen to do almost nothing about the graveyard; it was put up again last year and this year. I’d bet my life it gets put up again this year. I can tell you that I have not talked to one student that said good things about the fetus graveyard besides the presidents of Marquette for Life. I have heard of a small handful of students who do support it, but the vast majority do not. It makes many uncomfortable, and not in the good way where it makes them think, but in the bad way that causes anxiety, retraumatization, and feelings of being upset.

I won’t go on about why abortion must remain legal, Tess did a more eloquent job than I ever could on covering that topic, but I can say this: Marquette For Life and Campus Ministries must end the graveyard. They must do something else that allows students to consent to seeing a memorial, not something that is forced upon us. They could even set something up in the Alumni Memorial Union so that students did not have to see it if they did not want to.

If you are as upset as I am by the fetus graveyard, or feel the need to say something, please reach out to Marquette.

And Marquette, do better.