UNF is a place of higher education and collegiate camaraderie. It is a place where ideas can be presented openly, feelings can be expressed, and agendas, even, can be pushed. In no way should this be squelched. Here, speech is free, and it is vital that it stay that way for the betterment of its students, its community, and the world. But the freedom of speech should also be respected as a privilege. Speakers should use it wisely –– giant, bloody fetus photos used to scare passersby into hating abortion are not wise.
The Genocide Awareness Project was on campus at UNF Feb. 21-22, equipped with giant signs of dead fetuses, juxtaposed with photos of historically recognized genocides like the Holocaust. The goal of the demonstration is to get people to equate abortion to genocide, to equate unborn children to African Americans in the U.S. in the age of slavery, European Jews in the 1930s and Rwandan Tutsis in the 1990s.
That’s a bold implication. Our grandparents likely saw remnants of the affect slavery had on American society. It wasn’t long before their time that slaves were harvesting the crops in this country. To this day, America is still shaking racism from its vocabulary.
Kids are taught about the Holocaust in middle school, if not earlier. It was arguably the most impactful event on human kind in the last century. There is a museum in our nation’s capital dedicated to it.
The Tutsis were massacred in our lifetimes. There is a major motion picture made about Rwanda’s ethical dark age.
We did not learn and become passionate about the Holocaust only after seeing photos of the gas chambers shoved in our face. We learned through stories, facts and reading about the European politics of the time. We learned about injustice in North Africa from recent news coverage, books and popular movies. We learned about slavery and racism from textbooks, family members and historical monuments.
In other words, we learned from facts. Logic. We may have been shocked about what we read, but it was because of the content, not the delivery.
Instead, the GAP uses purely emotional appeals to persuade passersby on an emotionally charged issue. Appeals to emotion are valid on soap operas, not when civil liberties are at stake. Using grotesque images appeals to people’s disgust and repulsion, not their reason.
What of the people on this campus who have been through an unfortunate experience with an unborn child? Despite feeble attempts at warning campus-goers with normal-sized signs just yards from their repulsive monolith ones, it was difficult for people to get to where they needed to go without confronting this campus’ newest demonstration. For any woman who may have been raped, careful couples with faulty birth control or mothers who simply can’t support another child, they had a multitude of unwanted feelings resurface in the most shocking way. But their emotions don’t seem to matter.
If the GAP went about its business in an information-focused presentation, many people might be more inclined to listen. This is a college campus, and shock value holds much less weight than logic here. In fact, large signs of bloody babies might actually turn people away from the information that the GAP had available. And isn’t informing the public the point?
But the GAP has chosen these gruesome unborn fetuses, many decapitated or torn limb from limb, to display in support of its point. They blame the abortion doctors and pro-choice advocates for the dismemberment of these small pre-babies. But it is not as if the act of abortion is what is tearing these fetuses apart. In a miscarriage, the unintentional and unfortunate death of an unborn child, the result is very similar. The fetus’ body comes out in pieces, not because a doctor rips it out, but because it is simply underdeveloped. Too young to face the world.
For those who stopped and read the literature, looked at the signs and even listened to the representative talk, you might have learned about its stance. You might have learned why it put the local abortion clinic doctor on par with Hitler. Or you might forever connect that near-lunch-losing feeling of nausea with anti-abortion demonstrators. You’ll leave with the memory that anti-abortion preachers will go to any length necessary, including pure shock and disgust, to get their message across.
Possibly the most effective tactic the GAP uses is blackmail. On its website, the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform lays out the bottom line of this campaign.
“So long as America accepts the practice of abortion, CBR will continue to show America pictures of abortion.”
So get used to these photos, Ospreys. Apparently the only way we can stop them from crowding our campus is to let the fetuses live, no matter what their moms say.
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