Campus Pro-Life GAP project raises eyebrows

By Jordyn Marcellus

Another campus tradition has come and gone; but unlike other festive occasions, this one was much more controversial, and a lot more explicit.

“As soon as people know that it’s about that time of year when the pro-life rallies occur, we get a definite spike of people needing peer support coming into our centre,” said Women’s Resource Centre executive director Stephanie Garrett.

Campus Pro-Life Club displayed their “Genocide Awareness Project” on the grounds between Mac Hall and Science B Mon., Oct. 15 and Tue., Oct. 16. A counter-protest was also held, put on by Feminists Initiative Recognizing Equality and saw unaffiliated students join in.

The CPL display featured graphic images of lynchings and genocide, connecting them with bloody pictures of fetuses. CPL president Matthew Wilson explained he hopes for people to be impacted by the graphic nature of display and in turn initiate a conversation about abortion.

“I think that the [graphic nature of the signs] shows our message is important enough to be discussed,” said Wilson. “We’re showing these graphics for a very specific reason, and that’s because we need people to think about it.”

However FIRE president Alex Judd disagreed; her group was one of the many collections of students on campus to take up signs against CPL’s display.

“With images of the Holocaust and genocide, people that have personal connection or have personal histories connected to it find it really abusive to use these historical events for a totally unrelated cause,” explained Judd.

Abortion is a contentious issue and people on campus have been deeply affected by the images, explained Garrett. The Women’s Resource Centre is trying to assist in any questions or requ- ests for help that people may have.

“Any individual of all genders or however a person identifies, who has been affected by the pro-life displays is welcome to come in,” said Garrett. “We have increased our numbers of peer support volunteers over this week and next to ensure that we have enough people here to help out.”

CPL demonstrators moved their display to the east wall of Mac Hall on Tue. Counter-protestors stood in front of the display in the morning, but by the afternoon moved across from the demonstrators. Throughout the time they were in front of the display, they never blocked the images.

“A lot of people find the images very disturbing,” explained Garrett. “It brings up a lot more than the abortion issue for some people. Some people are speaking of their own experiences of abuse, miscarriage, and abortion.”

The display itself has been criticized for its graphic pictures, as well as linking depictions of the Holocaust and genocide with abortion. Wilson noted the pictures help show the visceral reality of the debate.

“I think that the display has brought an awareness to the debate about abortion that wasn’t there before we started bringing the display,” said Wilson.

Campus security declined to comment on the demonstration.

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