GAP protesters belittle students’ intelligence

Shock tactics are not effective ways of conveying points

By Gloria Mellesmoen

Word on campus is that we are due for another visit from the GAP (Genocide Awareness Project) on Burnaby Mountain. If you are unaware of what this is, I would say that you are lucky. The GAP is a pro-life organization that has put together a series of grotesque images juxtaposing abortion to horrific events in world history, such as genocides and the holocaust.

I do not intend to belittle the beliefs of those who are against abortion, or to condemn them in any form. What I condemn
is the use of an insulting logical fallacy to produce shock value as a cheap method of persuasion.

The comparison of abortion to tragic events in human history is an example of a false analogy. Viewers are shown a fallacious visual connection between graphic images of genocide and unrelated abortions in lieu of an argument. While I can tolerate a well formed opinion, I cannot respect a hollow one hinging on faulty conclusions.

Content aside, the poster presentation is one that demeans the intelligence of the average SFU student. As adults seeking higher education, we should be entitled to a better argument than shocking images. The GAP images presume a lack of critical thinking and inability to form an opinion based on facts alone. We are better than that. We are SFU, the top comprehensive university in Canada, and we can think for ourselves.

Co m p a r i n g a b o r t i o n t o genocide does not just insult our intelligence, it insults both global and personal histor y. “Genocide” is a scary word for those of us who have not experienced it or the profound lost connected to it.

However, those who have lived through a situation like the Holocaust, or felt the impact on their family even years later, are inflicted with a much more traumatic opinion. It is incredibly insensitive to use the global and personal loss of so many to guilt people into opposing abortion.

The GAP does not stop at inflicting guilt on those who consider themselv es pr ochoice. The implication of the exhibit is that aborting a baby is akin to taking the lives of thousands of people. I can say with confidence that there are students, faculty, or visitors to our campus that have had an abortion or supported someone else in their choice to.

Choosing not to carry a baby to term does not put a woman on par with Hitler or anyone else who instigated genocide.
SFU should be a safe place for ever yone, regardless of what they believe.

When the GAP exhibit is displayed for all to see in Convocation Mall, I do not feel safe or comfortable at my school. I have known women and their partners who chose abortion for a plethora of different, and equally valid reasons. In some of these situations, I have seen the profound sorrow and trauma that came with a tough decision.

SFU is a public place that should promote the sharing of opinions in a way that does not vilify bystanders. The campus is frequented by a diverse spectrum of people of different ages from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. There is no place for GAP’s grotesque statements here.