While organizers were happy to see more than 3,000 children participate in last weekend’s Trick or Treat on Main Street in Loganville, a few parents left disturbed by a pro-life effort at the child-oriented affair. 

“It was a great event with one exception: There was a pro-life group of some kind handing out 12-week-old fetus toys to the children. A man handed one of the so-called toys to my 3-year-old grandson. He asked what it was. The man that handed it to him told him, ‘This is a 12-week-old fetus. This is what you looked like in your mommy’s belly,’” Loganville resident John Ramsey said. “There is a time and place for everything. This event for handing out candy to small children was not the time or the place to be handing out toys about pro-life. 

“I strongly feel that this was not the right thing to do at a children’s event. Again, this was a great event except for the people that were handing out toy fetuses to small children. At an adult event, OK, at a small children’s event, I think not.”

First year attendant Marti Wood was also upset. 

“We got halfway through and there was a pro-life type group that was handing out 12-week-old rubber fetuses. Before I could grab my son, he was picking one up and asking what it was,” the Monroe resident said. “I can understand having an opinion and wanting to help people understand, but was this really the right venue? This was a trick-or-treating event for children 7 and under. There is a time and place for everything and this was neither. First, this was an event full of children, so the proof is in the pudding. Second, this was for children. Not really the right audience to be explaining what a fetus looks like at 12 weeks and so on. 

“I was both shocked and appalled that this was allowed at such a function. Hopefully this is something that will be considered for next year so the children won’t worry about someone putting a fetus in with their candy.”

At the center of the controversy is Joshua Edmonds, senior minister of Project:Ignite, what he described as a nonprofit social justice organization in the metro Atlanta area. This was the second year the group participated in the event. The models handed out were life-size replicas of a child at 12 weeks with a card which explains the development of a child from week one through 12, according to Edmonds, who added “the children love to look at these models and hold them.”

“This ability to see how complex, fragile and precious life is, even at 12 weeks, is an amazing experience for children,” Edmonds said. “We were told by two people this year that they enjoyed the displays but did not want to have other discussions about early life development with their children for another few years, and one person did voice concern to a city council member who was at the event. Other than that, we had a wonderful response from all of the attendees.

“The message we were sharing with children at this event was about the development, complexity and uniqueness of life as it develops in the womb ... With so much violence and disregard for life being portrayed in the world today, which then reflects into the tragic bullying epidemic in our schools, it is of immense value for children to walk away with an understanding of how precious and fragile life is.”

This was the fourth year Laura Ellis organized the event.

“From what I understand, the models were not handed to children unless the parent approved,” she said, noting the group was also handing out candy at the event. “I do want to point out that I am pro-life. I find nothing offensive about the 12-week fetus models. In fact, I find them a rather beautiful reminder of life. I do, however, understand that some parents did not wish for their children to have them and I respect that.”