Anti-abortion activists have sparked outrage by demonstrating outside two north Texas high schools over the last two weeks holding up signs with graphic pictures of dead fetuses and body parts.
Jered Ragon, the director of the Abolitionist Society of Burleson, said the images are meant to get their point across.
"It's not this sanitized thing," Ragon said. "It's horrible and should be opposed."
“My parents absolutely wouldn't want me to see that," Gabrielle Wood, a junior at Crowley North High School, told WFAA.
“It seems like it is appropriate to take kids that age to the abortion clinic,” Ragon said of the high school students. “Parents take their kids there.”
Parents have contacted the group and the school district to complain. Even those who consider themselves prolife are disturbed by the images being shown to students.
“While I support your message, I respectfully ask you to stop putting disturbing and potentially addictive/harmful images in front of our high school children,” wrote a local mother, Lisa Winburne Fleming, on the group's web page.
“Those you are trying to reach – high school children having sex – are not going to respond well to the scare tactics that your images are presenting,” she added. “The best way to stop abortion is to prevent it – I encourage you to promote education about birth control and even encourage abstinence.”
“Even at abortion clinics and other public venues, they generally turn people off rather than bring people in,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Shoving this kind of revolting material in front of young kids is very likely to backfire."
Other anti-abortion groups like Live Action applauded Ragon’s effort to target schools.
"These are not babies running around, these are young adults who must be educated on what they are getting into,” said Live Action spokesman Drew Belsky.
The Burleson Independent School District defended the group’s right to protest.
"The demonstration has taken place in the public right of way and has not interfered with school operations,” the school district said in a statement. “Burleson ISD is in no way affiliated with this demonstration and neither endorses nor opposes the viewpoints of this organization."
While parents confronted protesters, some children set up a counter-protest. One student told the Cleburne Times-Review she chose to counter-protest, after her 5-year-old sister saw the graphic signs and began to cry.
“We are trying to wake a culture up to the evil of abortion and want to show them what abortion really is, something not given to them by their parents,” said Ragon. “The images help bring the idea into light more.”
He said his group is different than other anti-abortion groups because they aim to abolish abortion, not just implement restrictions under the law.
“We are against legislation that is incremental,” he said.
Ragon was sentenced to 15 months in jail after attempting to set off a Molotov cocktail inside a Burleson-area church in 2007.