Students at the University of Georgia College of Public Health were warned by Dean Marsha Davis in an email earlier this week to leave buildings locked, move with caution around the health sciences campus, and to be “more aware of [their] surroundings.”
This email is in response to an article published by Fox News on June 25 dealing with the violent responses of “far left radicals” to a map of pregnancy centers in crisis created in 2020 by two faculty members of the UGA public health program.
Associate Professor Andrea Swartzendruber and Assistant Professor Danielle Lambert, both from the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, worked together to create a “geolocated web directory of Crisis Pregnancy Centers across the United States,” according to their staff pages. on the UGA CPH website.
Following the Fox News story, which attributed the card to Swartzendruber and Lambert by name, some members of the UGA CPH community received “threatening calls and emails,” according to Davis’ email.
Crisis pregnancy centers are health care providers sometimes referred to as “fake women’s health centers” and “primarily aim to prevent people from having abortions,” according to the Crisis Pregnancy Center Map Website.
The map aims to “help people seeking health services know which centers are [crisis pregnancy centers]and “facilitate academic research related to [crisis pregnancy centers]“, according to its website.
Following the United States Supreme Court’s decision on June 24 to overturn their decision on Roe vs. Wade and to revoke the constitutional right to abortion, search terms such as “pregnancy crisis center map” have risen sharply, according to Google Trends.
Demonstrations and rallies erupted across the country in the days following the Supreme Court ruling, with some groups on both ends of the political spectrum calling for violence, according to the Washington Post.
Some groups and organizations have posted links to the Crisis Pregnancy Center map in a seemingly innocuous attempt to spread the information. Other groups, such as Colorado Liberation & Autonomy, posted links to the map with more threatening sentiments.
In Colorado Liberation & Autonomy’s tweet, an anonymously submitted graphic accompanying a link to the map read, “Your local crisis pregnancy center. This evening. Mask up, stay dangerous.
Some of the facilities on the Crisis Pregnancy Center Map suffered vandalism and property damage following these calls for violence via social media, although the direct correlation between the map itself and the acts of violence cannot be verified.
Swartzendruber and Lambert did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.