Genocide Awareness Project
The Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) is a movable anti-abortion display being temporarily installed on multiple university campuses in the United States and Canada since 1997. The display includes pictures they argue are of aborted fetuses or represent what an aborted fetus would look like, juxtaposed next to pictures of victims of genocide. The display is produced and managed by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, a privately funded United States organization.
In 1999 the display has been on at least seventeen campuses. Gregg Cunningham, the executive director of the Los Angeles-based-center said that most people have never seen abortion photographs, and in 1998 at the University of Tennessee, eight pregnant students who were planning on getting abortions changed their minds after seeing the display.
In 2001, the display was mounted on trucks to roam the San Francisco Bay Area streets and freeways. This approach was also used earlier in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Los Angeles area.
The organizers maintain that the display stimulates dialogue among students and others who ordinarily would ignore the abortion issue.
In March 2007, anti-abortion students from the University of Calgary successfully organized their third GAP display. Pro-choicers protested at each of their displays, including bringing manure as a sign of what they thought of the campaign.
At the same time, in some places the controversy around the project was quite high and some campuses banned the display. On March 16, 2004, The National Post ran the headline, “Pro-life signs rejected as inflammatory,” describing how the University of Alberta turned down the request to put this display in a high-traffic area of the campus, alternatively offering a space in a room. The posters were described as discriminatory and inciting contempt towards women. Other protesters say that to compare these women to Nazis and terrorists is hateful and offensive, and that the use of the word genocide in relation to abortion is contestable because abortion does not discriminate on national, ethnic, racial or religious grounds.
In many places the students protested the alleged abuse of the words genocide and Holocaust in this context. For example, at the University of Maryland over 500 students signed the petition "I Am Insulted by the Exploitation of the Holocaust for Political Gain". The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform website maintains a FAQ where they explain their reasons for using this comparison.
A Letter to the Editor published in The Cincinnati Post on April 20, 2000 says that the genocide exhibit uses a false analogy between Holocaust and abortion, quoting: "The distinction is simple, and is based on the use of the significant word: Choice." The answer to this accusation published on May 10, 2000, states that there is "the common thread connecting racism, the Holocaust, and abortion. In each case the same technique is the basis of the crime: dismiss the victim as less than human, then dispose of them."
In the past, the discussions between the opposite camps have bordered on slander. For example, in September 2000, the Pro-Choice Action Network had to publish an apology to GAP in The Vancouver Sun for an article it published in the newspaper earlier on February 24, 2000.
- Genocide Awareness Project uses campuses as forum to address topic Life Advocate article, September/October, 1999 Volume XIII Number 8
- "Abortion foes plan a convoy campaign Pictures of fetuses displayed on trucks", San Francisco Chronicle, November 24, 2001.
- Pro-life images disturb students
- Litigious GAP Threatens Pro-CAN