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GAP protesters belittle students’ intelligence

Shock tactics are not effective ways of conveying points

By Gloria Mellesmoen

Word on campus is that we are due for another visit from the GAP (Genocide Awareness Project) on Burnaby Mountain. If you are unaware of what this is, I would say that you are lucky. The GAP is a pro-life organization that has put together a series of grotesque images juxtaposing abortion to horrific events in world history, such as genocides and the holocaust.

I do not intend to belittle the beliefs of those who are against abortion, or to condemn them in any form. What I condemn
is the use of an insulting logical fallacy to produce shock value as a cheap method of persuasion.

The comparison of abortion to tragic events in human history is an example of a false analogy. Viewers are shown a fallacious visual connection between graphic images of genocide and unrelated abortions in lieu of an argument. While I can tolerate a well formed opinion, I cannot respect a hollow one hinging on faulty conclusions.

Content aside, the poster presentation is one that demeans the intelligence of the average SFU student. As adults seeking higher education, we should be entitled to a better argument than shocking images. The GAP images presume a lack of critical thinking and inability to form an opinion based on facts alone. We are better than that. We are SFU, the top comprehensive university in Canada, and we can think for ourselves.

Co m p a r i n g a b o r t i o n t o genocide does not just insult our intelligence, it insults both global and personal histor y. “Genocide” is a scary word for those of us who have not experienced it or the profound lost connected to it.

However, those who have lived through a situation like the Holocaust, or felt the impact on their family even years later, are inflicted with a much more traumatic opinion. It is incredibly insensitive to use the global and personal loss of so many to guilt people into opposing abortion.

The GAP does not stop at inflicting guilt on those who consider themselv es pr ochoice. The implication of the exhibit is that aborting a baby is akin to taking the lives of thousands of people. I can say with confidence that there are students, faculty, or visitors to our campus that have had an abortion or supported someone else in their choice to.

Choosing not to carry a baby to term does not put a woman on par with Hitler or anyone else who instigated genocide.
SFU should be a safe place for ever yone, regardless of what they believe.

When the GAP exhibit is displayed for all to see in Convocation Mall, I do not feel safe or comfortable at my school. I have known women and their partners who chose abortion for a plethora of different, and equally valid reasons. In some of these situations, I have seen the profound sorrow and trauma that came with a tough decision.

SFU is a public place that should promote the sharing of opinions in a way that does not vilify bystanders. The campus is frequented by a diverse spectrum of people of different ages from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. There is no place for GAP’s grotesque statements here.

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  • cmi

    Finally. About time somebody said what we’ve all been thinking.

  • kelsey

    This is also how i feel about religious advertisements on campus. Like he jehovah witness stand. Sfu should be free from that too, we have the ability to think for ourselves and I dont think that religious groups should be in yhr aq trying to comvert new members etc. This has always bothered me.

    • Tine

      While I am not a religious person, I have no problem with them having stands / an area on campus where students can come to educate themselves on the religion, and consequently having signs notifying students of their presence. However, at the end of the day the individual should be able to decide whether or not they hear what these religious groups have to say; I have a problem if they’re actively trying to recruit people, push their religious beliefs on someone, or criticize other beliefs.

  • Kim Jong Un

    I support GAP.

  • Crystal

    From what I understood from the display, the purpose of the photos were to draw parallels between the victims of the genocide, not the perpetrators. Not one of those pictures claimed that a woman is equal to Hitler. The focus of those photos were the victims. I’m sorry that people are feeling offended by these pictures, but they are not being used as a means to shock women into not having an abortion. The club held this event to raise awareness about a culturally accepted genocide that is happening today. The pictures merely highlight the realities of abortion-a human being is being killed because we have deemed them subhuman. The club did not condemn anyone and were completely open to conversation. Props to them for holding GAP in hopes of making us think more about this real life topic.

    • Michael McDonell

      You may not realize this, but when you show large, graphic photos of genocide in public, you are exploiting human tragedy, not raising awareness. If you want to draw attention to genocide, there are MUCH better ways to do it than comparing it to abortion. It’s true that some people do have abortions if they know their child is going to be mentally handicapped; but that is not an argument against a woman’s right to choose, especially when it is an unwanted pregnancy (such as from sexual assault or rape, or from bad protection during intercourse).

      Reasons abortion is nowhere close to genocide:

      1) Unborn fetuses are not identifiable ethnic, cultural, religious, or racialized groups under mass persecution. There is no historical conflict or dependency of unborn fetuses toward women except for life-course or developmental needs.
      2) Genocide is an organized, systemic act. Abortion is an individual choice, often by women who feel vulnerable.
      3) Only 1/6 hospitals in Canada actually have abortion services for women. And only half the women with unwanted pregnancies actually receive abortions. Women are NOT exploiting institutional power.

  • Alex

    ^ “culturally accepted genocide” … Maybe in your eyes.

    There were no parallels between the pictures. There were no clear associations. They’re using an age-old tactic that you don’t even need a 1st year communications class to understand. It’s like if you read the Bible and you realize that pooping will send you to hell.

    I support a woman’s right to choose an abortion. What I don’t support is having to look at “Rwandan kids in a genocide” in a so-called parallel to an abortion due to a mistake. THERE IS NO PARALLEL. Do you know what the situation IS in Rwanda? If you’re pairing it with “oh-no-I-drank-too-much-and-had-a-one-night-stand-shit-now-I’m-pregnant” … you need help.

    To have a university display such idiocy is beyond me. Welcome to “Engaging The World” — putting evolution in reverse, on display in convo mall.

    • Adam

      Wow, dude took the words out of my mouth. Agreed!