Visiting professor’s associations questioned at anti-abortion lecture
Correction Oct. 12, 2017: The spelling of Hrrrl Scouts was incorrect upon first mention.
A lecturer invited to campus by a student anti-abortion group faced pointed questions from local activists over his alleged ties with white supremacist organizations.
Attorney John Eidsmoe, a law professor and author of several books about the constitution, rebuffed accusations linking him to white supremacy during the Arctic Students for Life lecture held last Monday in the Wood Center Ballroom.
“In 2010 weren’t you disinvited from a Tea Party event because you also had ties to white supremacy?” asked Hannah Hill, of Hrrrl Scouts. She and four other members of the feminist activist group sat in the front row.
“No,’” Eidsmore said, “I withdrew from the event because I had spoken for a couple of organizations that some call white supremacist organizations.”
However, these organizations included the League of the South in and the Council of Conservative Citizens which have been characterized as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit legal advocacy group that specializes in civil rights.
“My basic policy is that I will speak to any group that will hear my message,” Eidsmoe said, when questioned about his background.
The law professor added that his remarks to these groups had focused on judicial issues and not racial ones.
“There was nothing racial about my speech,” said Eidsmoe.
The professor, whose name is listed among faculty on the website of Oak Bridge College of Law in Fresno, California, spoke for an hour last week. At the start of his lecture, he said he was there to discuss why, “abortion is biblically, scientifically, and morally wrong.” He urged audience members to make an effort to help overturn the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that expanded abortion rights as well as women’s health rights.
The Arctic Students for Life is a campus club and sub-organization of Students of Life for America, a nonprofit that seeks to end abortion. Eidsmoe was already in town and received no fee, according to John Dougherty, president of the campus affiliate. He discounted the complaints about Eidsmoe’s alleged affiliations with white supremacy supporters.
“[The allegation] is just totally nonsensical,” Dougherty said, “and personally that was just them trying to come up with something that made him look bad because they didn’t like him.”
At the lecture last week, Eidsmoe agreed with a member of the audience who claimed that the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, promoted eugenics, and claimed to have seen photos of her speaking to the Ku Klux Klan.
“In fact I don’t have these before me right now but I have actually seen pictures of Margaret Sanger speaking to Klu Klux Klan realms,” Eidsmoe said, “but to say that speaks for everybody at Planned Parenthood, I’m not going to say that, but you are correct about Margaret Sanger.”
Hrrrl Scouts’ Hill said she and other members researched Eidsmoe online before the lecture and that is how they found out about his past.
“It was hard. It felt gross. We were infuriated,” reads the Hrrrl Scouts Facebook post regarding the event. “But we sat in the front and asked smart questions about birth control, federal vs. state rights, white supremacy, women’s rights, and the almighty constitution.”