When some people in the audience at the premiere of the new Dr. Suess movie "Horton Hears a Who" started yelling "A person's a person no matter how small," others thought they were just over-enthusiastic Dr. Suess fans. Instead, it turned out that a pack of anti-abortion activists had hijacked the elephant star's famous line to promote their view that abortion should be banned. After their shouting stint, they handed out fliers designed to look like movie tickets. Audrey Geisel, widow of Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and her attorney, Karl ZoBell, who has long represented the legal interests of Dr. Seuss, were also attending the premiere. ZoBell, who has never hesitated to send cease-and-desist letters to people expropriating Dr. Suess's material for their own use, said he wished the protesters would use original material. The Geisels have long opposed any political use of Dr. Suess's intellectual property. But the anti-abortionists are persisting. A Colorado group gathering signatures for a ballot initiative that would legally define fertilized human embryos as people plans to show up at Denver theaters when the movie opens and use the event to collect signatures for their measure.
By Anne Landman on March 14, 2008