Are we really doing this again? Much to the chagrin of many concerned students, the infamous Genocide Awareness Project paid yet another visit to FSU’s campus last week.
According to their mission statement, the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP), “visits university campuses around the country to show as many students as possible what abortion actually does to unborn children and gets them to think about abortion in a broader historical context.” Essentially, GAP sets up a massive photo mural that uses brutal imagery to compare abortion to known historical genocide. By using faulty and misleading rhetoric in addition to inaccurate pictures of fetuses, GAP has been spreading their “message” on college campuses for years.
Of course, something as inflammatory as this is not going to be displayed on FSU’s campus without a corresponding counter-presence. On Thursday and Friday, a massive congregation of students showed up on Landis Green to protest GAP. Led by the F-Word, a local feminist organization, protestors relayed true stories of what actually happens during an abortion, passed out flyers debunking common myths pertaining to abortion, gave out free condoms, and crafted signs to spread their message. Both men and women stayed for hours hoping to educate anyone passing by in a peaceful and respectful manner.
GAP, on the other hand, used massive—practically inescapable—images of mutilated fetuses placed next to photos of mass graves from the Holocaust and black slaves being lynched in the South. The imagery suggests that being pro-choice is somehow comparable to the genocide of millions of Jews or the unbridled hatred that comes from slavery and racism.
“Being pro-choice is not being anti-life. We are very much a peaceful protest and we are not here to stir up hatred,” said Jessica Schwartz, a representative of the F-Word. “Basically, their message is that if you decide to have an abortion then it is akin to Hitler killing Jews in the Holocaust and black people being lynched in America—which is completely offensive and scientifically inaccurate.”
Let’s set the record straight on all of this defining “genocide” talk. The United Nations defines it as “the deliberate destruction of a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, in part or in whole.” This is how society defines genocide. A woman making an incredibly tough, informed decision about her own body and health is not related in even the slightest sense. Everyone can appreciate GAP’s denouncement of the Holocaust, slavery, and other acts of genocide, but they’ve crossed the line by including abortion in their own definition of genocide.
When asked how women having abortions is similar to the discrimination against Jews due to their religion or the discrimination against other minorities due to the color of their skin, Stephanie Gray, a GAP spokesperson said, “Women discriminate against fetuses because they’re young.” Once again, there is no comparison to be made; it is downright insulting to even attempt it. Whether GAP spokespeople admit it or not, by comparing abortion to the Holocaust, they’re stirring up a comparison between women who have abortions with the Nazis.
In a brochure handed out to those who were interested, GAP had the audacity to include the famous Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” There’s nothing like using quotes out of context to support your own agenda.
GAP’s imagery is meant to shock, but at a certain point, it loses any sense of value because it’s not supplying an appropriate context. Haley Gentile, another representative of the F-Word, said, “Their use of late term abortion images is appalling. 88% of abortions occur at or before 12 weeks. At the end of the first trimester (that 12 week mark) the fetus is about 4 inches long. All of their photos depict nearly fully developed fetuses that have reached viability at which point the reason for the abortion is nearly always done in defense of the mother’s health. They are deceptive.” If GAP wanted to depict a more realistic version of abortion, they’d include accurate pictures. Using pictures of a nondescript mass of cells just doesn’t sell their point like a horribly mutilated fetus can.
While the most obvious message thrown at people by the images is “genocide,” other students were also concerned with GAP’s decision to have a large portion of their display focus on president Obama. There are multiple pictures of Obama’s face right next to fetuses not-so-subtly implying that Obama is responsible for the abortions that occur today. Newsflash GAP: Obama was just starting middle school when the Rowe v Wade decision was handed down by the Supreme Court in 1973.
One student in particular, Josh Hofstetter, said, “Personally I think it’s a smear campaign against President Obama. I don’t know why the first family’s faces would be plastered next to a bunch of unborn fetuses unless it had obvious political aims.” It’s not just inappropriate to juxtapose an image of Obama’s young daughters next to a mutilated fetus, it’s shameful.
Despite GAP’s claims to the contrary, their pro-life stance and their hatred of Obama make it hard to believe that they are anything other than an extremely right-wing organization.
“Instead of just saying it’s wrong, you need to offer incentives, you need to offer a solution,” said Josh, voicing his frustration. “They don’t like ‘big government’, they don’t like hand outs, they don’t like contraception. All of the things that could be solutions for abortion—traditionally—the pro-life position is to be against those as well. We have ways to solve this problem and [they’re] just not helping.”
Adolph Hitler and the Nazis tore apart millions of Jewish families, condemning them to die in gas chambers and labor camps. The images of shoes piled floor to ceiling in concentration camps are forever burned into our collective retinas. Pol Pot murdered millions of his own people through malnutrition in forced labor camps and executions. Political turmoil in Rwanda led to the sickeningly violent genocide of almost a million Tutsi people by the dominant Hutus.
GAP’s comparison between abortion and these genocides will never be right.