In the coming week, the Genocide Awareness Project will be coming to campus.
This project is incredibly graphic, incredibly hostile, and incredibly insensitive to almost everyone who views it.
The project has several purposes. The first one is to "tell the real story" of what happens during an abortion. The problem is that the audience has no way of telling if this is the real story. The photographs used are supposedly unaltered an supposedly straight from the offices of abortion offices.
I called the project itself to find out where the images come from and was told that "some doctors who kill babies allow us to pay them to take pictures". I asked why these doctors would allow the Center for Bioethical Reform to take the pictures and asked whether CBR lied to them to obtain the picture. I was told that any more information about obtaining the pictures was confidential and he wouldn't answer my questions. If you look at the pictures on CBR's website, it is very obvious that at the very least, the subject of the images has been altered, adding in coins and repositioning the remains to drive home their point. These images are most likely real and truthfully titled, but because they are unwilling to actually cite the images it is impossible to say for sure.
Another purpose of the project is to evoke feelings of shame. They want to make women who have had abortions feel ashamed. Women who know women who have had abortions to feel ashamed. Men who "let" their wives or girlfriends or friends have abortions feel ashamed. They believe that women who have abortions have been lied to, do not understand what has happened, and feel that they should not feel guilty about terminating a pregnancy.
After making women feel sufficiently guilty about having an abortion, they refer her to an organization like "Project Rachel" which "counsels" women who regret their abortions. Because many women who have abortions have more than one, their hope is to prevent women who have had abortions from having a second abortion. Instead of offering better advice on birth control and trying to help men and women understand the mishaps that led to the pregnancy in the first place, they simply heap guilt on people.
In addition to those who have had abortions or known those who have, they wish to make everyone feel ashamed. If you feel ashamed or disgusted by the images of GAP, they feel that it proves their point that abortion is morally wrong. It doesn't prove anything except that these people are sick and have no problem trying to force their opinions down other people's throats.
Another main purpose is to use shock value to force people to agree with them. If they can shock enough people, they can win. For every angry person who engages with them, they see an opportunity to convince that person of their point. Every person who goes up to their display and asks them a question about it, they count as a victory. They believe they are changing hearts and minds. They will not actually answer your questions. If you try to ask them questions like "do you think abortion should be illegal?" or "would you rather that a woman used Emergency Contraception or had an abortion" or "why don't you hand out condoms as a way of preventing abortion?", your questions will go unanswered and all you will get is a lecture on why they are right about abortion being immoral. Don't approach the display, don't engage, don't give them the satisfaction of trying to "change" your mind.
This post is not to disparage the work of Students for Life. Students for Life is a well run student organization on campus who has merely made the mistake of inviting GAP to campus, or, as has been the case in the past, allowed themselves to be bullied by GAP into bringing them to campus. The "endorsement" letter to GAP on the first page of the CBR website from UMD SFL thanks GAP for pushing them to bring GAP to campus four years ago. It is important to differentiate between the Students for Life and the Genocide Awareness Project.
Remember to stay away from GAP on November 29th and 30th! It will be larger than life on Hornbake Mall, angering students and faculty accross campus. If you wish to help out Terps for Choice, we will be distributing flyers and condoms on Hornbake Mall during both days. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or come to our meeting tonight for more information! (6:45 in Banneker B)