This Monday morning the “Genocide Awareness Project” set up a disgusting and dishonest display in Butler Plaza in front of the MD Anderson library in the heart of the University of Houston Campus. The Genocide Awareness Project is put on by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform their website (which is full of pictures and videos of aborted fetuses, and is also somewhat transparent in posting Tax returns which indicate that the only 4 compensated staff people are men) which is a California based non-profit organization that travels the country putting up photos of aborted fetuses.
They describe themselves as follows:
The Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) is a traveling photo-mural exhibit which compares the contemporary genocide of abortion to historically recognized forms of genocide.
So, they have photos of dead prisoners at a Nazi concentration camp, and a black man hung from a tree surrounded by white folks in the US South and a picture of an aborted fetus, with the caption “ungentile, unwhite, unborn.” This is a gross distortion of what genocide means, a falsehood designed to provoke emotional responses.
Genocide is defined by international law as:
“intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”
A woman deciding to terminate a pregnancy is totally and fundamentally different from a government or group attempting to exterminate an entire national or ethnic group.
In our experiences talking and protesting the anti-choice activists that were present, very few of them were willing to defend this egregious misuse of the term genocide. When pressed, many stated they opposed abortion but were unable and unwilling to defend the proposed parallel of Fascism and the Holocaust and a woman’s right to choose.
Opposition to this display began immediately both by organized groups and independent students. Students hung clothes hangers (to symbolize the way many women rely on dangerous methods of abortion when safe and legal ways are prohibited) and posted notes on the banners that GAP had set up on campus Monday morning. The brand new Student Feminist Organization mobilized students and brought signs, but the overwhelming amount of folks who stopped to argue with the GAP people and protest were women and men who have no organizational affiliation but were repulsed by the GAP display.
Many SDSers came to support the protest on Monday, and after our screening of Life in Occupied Palestine on Monday night we decided to mobilize who we could to protest these anti-choice fundamentalists. Tuesday at noon we brought signs and clothes hangars, some labeled “You will need this when abortion becomes illegal” that we attempted to hand out to students and provoke discussions of the impacts it would have on women if abortion was made illegal.
Dozens of us spent more than 3 hours debating, talking to passers by and chanting, Chants included: “Not the Church, not the State, Women must decide their fate,” “A fetus is not a baby, a woman is not an incubator” and “Off our campus, Off our bodies.”
While it is disappointing and disgusting to see this propaganda presentation on our campus (we heard rumors it was sold to the dean of students as an “art exhibit”), we were delighted to see a diverse cross section of UH students join and start protests against these bigots, many skipping classes to stick around.
Check out the Student Feminist Organization at UH on Facebook.
We are peaceful, pro-choice feminist organization that hopes to inspire humanity to recognize and abolish all inequality between men and women.
We encourage you to read the flier SFO produced for the event, which illustrates the need for safe and legal abortion services.