On Thursday and Friday, SCSU was introduced to a very graphic and disturbing display of large pictures depicting a mixture of dismembered fetuses and the horrific historical extermination of the Jewish race, otherwise known as the Holocaust.
The Genocide Awareness Association settled in Atwood Mall in order to convey to students their side of the controversial issue of abortion. The Genocide Awareness Project had many supporters along side of their demonstration helping raise concern for their ultimate message, which is equating abortion to genocide.
“Abortion is only comparable to genocide if abortion is first homicide, so if abortion is not homicide it is ridiculous to compare it to genocide so what we are showing is the truth of what abortion does to pre-born children and as we know by virtue that by fact they must have human parents they must also be human offspring so to do an abortion, as we are showing here, kills that human offspring, that human being and as we show that abortion takes the life of an innocent human being, that is homicide, and as it is homicide it is then comparable to genocide by virtue of the fact that over a million of them happen every year,” Devorah Gilman of the Center for Bioethical reform, also a speaker at the event said, in an interview on Thursday.
“Abortion, the intentional taking of an innocent human life is comparable to genocide because it is homicide done on a mass scale here in America, over a million every year, in clinic setups and hospitals were tools and machines have been setup for the direct intentional purpose of killing those innocent human beings, and they are a specific group in a way that abortion happens to preborn children that are not wanted, so that is where we are drawing the comparison when we are showing how abortion is homicide in the first place and follows genocide,” Gilman said.
With the rally continuing to raise eyebrows, many Pro-choice supporters started to gain support throughout the day, opposing the demonstration by circling the display with posters in hand that read “Abortion is not genocide” or “Abortion is my choice.” Many protesters gathered on free speech hill to counter the echoes of the genocide awareness project by chanting “my body my choice.”
“I’m here because I feel the comparison of lightening abortion to genocide is so extremely offensive in so many ways, because genocide is a mass, planned killing of millions of people, an abortion is a legal choice that I believe no woman does lightly,” Bre Moulder a senior political science major at SCSU said. “I really don’t think most women are just thinking, oh I’m pregnant, I’ll just go get an abortion, it’s fine,” Moulder said.
“It makes me feel sick,” Paige Ross a sophomore bio-medical student at SCSU said. She was walking and observing the display when interviewed. “I’m all for freedom of speech, I am, but I don’t feel like its fair to put up your opinion everywhere. I mean they already put it on the sidewalks which is great and I’m all about that but I don’t think its fair for students who may have had an abortion or are going through a tough time with something like this to make them feel even worse about it and there’s a bunch of people on campus that are against them already and I just don’t think that fair at all,” Ross said. Ross stated afterwards that she is pro-choice in regards to the abortion conversation because she believes that it is a choice that only the individual should be able to make and deserve to have the power to make it if they so choose.
“Genocide is an extremely strong term to use when describing anything because that’s a different category that goes above and beyond like homicide, because homicide can be just individual cases, but genocide involves whole groups of people as victims and possibly, in some cases, whole groups of people as perpetrators of violence,” said Brody Hagemeier, the current vice president for SCSU for life.
“When it comes to abortion, genocide as a term can apply because the word genocide includes the targeting of a group of people, and actually historically the U.N. (United Nations) has specified genocide as limited to a national, ethnical or racial or religious that is being targeted, but the broad definition of genocide when it comes to any case where human beings are targeted is just any group of human beings and here with abortion, genocide unfortunately targets the pre-born,” Hagemeier said.
Hagemeier did agree with statement that genocide does equate to abortion but does not give SCSU for life the credit for hosting the genocide awareness project and the display seen Thursday and Friday on campus. That credit is given to the Maranathic Christian Fellowship Hagemeier said.
No matter what your opinion of the matter, many found the display harsh and gruesome. Some even claimed that the images had to have been altered by using Photoshop even though Hagemeier claims that all of the photos depicted in the rally have proof of authenticity.
“We are here to support and not really take any sides, students are welcome to come to our table if they have any triggers that they may feel from seeing the photos outside,” Yi Moua, a representative for the women’s center on the campus of SCSU said. Moua and other colleagues held a table in the center of the Atwood Memorial union to offer support to any students that felt uncomfortable with the images and messages represented outside. Moua did mention that the Women’s Center did also want to make a statement that Genocide and Abortion are two completely different things as well but were there, most importantly for support.
All in all, SCSU does respect the free speech community, and with that, demonstrations like the genocide awareness project will indeed be able to come and voice their opinions. As a campus we must take in both sides to try and solve controversial issues in our world.