Anti-abortion pictures lead to public display concerns

After complaints about graphic anti-abortion imagery displayed at the Pear Blossom Festival, Medford City Councilors have directed their legal team to look into what legal action can be taken. (News 10 File Photo)

The City of Medford said it is exploring its legal options after complaints about graphic images of unborn fetuses at the Pear Blossom Festival were brought to their attention on Thursday.

Tatiana Keen, a Medford mother of a four and six-year-old, brought her concerns to the most recent city council meeting. She claimed her daughter was traumatized by images displaying bloody babies at what is known to be a family-friendly affair. She said that no matter where someone stands on the pro-life or pro-choice issue, children should not have to be exposed to such imagery at what she considered to be a 'G-rated' event.

"No one wants their children exposed to this kind of material at such a young age," said Keen. "I fully believe that we should be able to voice our opinions and say what we want to say, but not at the cost of traumatizing children."

According to Keen, there were about four or five people from the RV Salt Shakers holding signs displaying the images. She said her six-year-old daughter was the first member of her family to point them out. Immediately after seeing them, Keen said the family left and her daughter started crying.

"She just kept asking me how she can get the image out of her head," said Keen. "She kept saying the bloody baby was in her mind. 'How can I get it out, Mommy?' is what she said."

After Keen voiced her concerns, Councilmember Kevin Stine (Ward 3) moved to "direct staff to research all methods to reduce or eliminate future situations regarding graphic photographs such as those seen at Pear Blossom Park."

All eight councilors unanimously agreed with the motion, with Vice President Councilmember Clay Bearnson (Ward 2) saying he believed that the First Amendment "was a double-edged sword."

"I do find it deplorable, despicable that anybody who considers themselves a person of God has to resort to such tactics as displaying this stuff to get their point across," Bearnson said. "I always hear that saying 'what would Jesus do?' I don't think this is one of those things."

According to Stine, the city's legal team is looking into what action, if any, can be taken in banning or reducing such graphic images in Medford's public spaces. He had no timeline for how long doing so would take, saying they were on the "ground floor" of exploring their options.

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