Should your campus club do the Genocide Awareness Project this year?

by Alanna Gomez

This week, the University of Manitoba Students for a Culture of Life hosted the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) on their campus. Thousands of students encountered the reality of abortion in a way most have never seen before. Large, graphic signs depicting the broken bodies of tiny, innocent human beings were displayed along a busy walkway, and pro-life club members stood with the signs, discussing this injustice with passing students.

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What kind of things did they hear?

I met a girl who at first told me she was pro-choice, but by the end of our conversation, signed up for our pro-life group and told me, "At first I was pro-choice, but I definitely think I'm pro-life now."  

--Madison

"I used to think abortion was okay when the baby didn't have a heart or body parts but your analogies made me think otherwise--how all the baby needed was time and it does have a choice to life."

--Stephanie

Emily spoke to a student who said, "You changed an opinion today, so keep going!"

When a student said he wasn’t sure about abortion, Alanna pointed to the picture of the child killed by abortion and asked “When would it ever be okay to do that to a baby?” His response: "The pictures up [there]…it makes you think and change your view. I think this is really effective.”

Not everyone changes their mind on the spot. We plant seeds, and hope the students remember the pictures of the atrocity of abortion, and that they were treated with respect when they stopped to talk.

Two guys I thought would laugh at me when I tried to ask them what they thought of abortion stopped and had a great thoughtful conversation with me. They agreed that it was human after I talked about the biology, but still thought the baby didn't have a mind, so maybe it wasn’t the same as killing a born child.  After some more discussion, they both said didn't have an answer to my question as to how it was really different, or okay to kill someone because they are less developed. They went on their way after saying thank-you for talking.

--Alanna

One of the other volunteers brought me to answer a young man’s questions regarding the problem of overpopulation. In the many situations we talked about, he struggled to see what it wasn’t better to end the life of the child early rather than let it suffer later. We talked about how we can’t kill someone based on something that hasn’t happened yet, and if we kill people to solve problems. He liked my answers and said “I've enjoyed talking to you.”

--Alanna

I talked to someone who was wondering if maybe abortion was justified in the case of rape. I gave him an analogy about killing a born child who was born because of rape and asked him why it would be different to kill the baby before its born instead. He told me that was a very tough question that he didn’t have an answer for.

--Alanna

A young women who told me she was Jewish came up to the display and told me she was very offended. I explained how abortion wasn’t genocide if it wasn’t first homicide, sand she was willing to discuss that. Her justification for abortion was the level of development of the child. After I showed her images of prenatal development on my phone, she went from thinking second trimester abortion was okay, to thinking anything after 6 weeks of development was wrong. She told me she was glad she stopped to talk, and was willing to change her opinion. She didn’t leave the conversation 100% against abortion, but she had made big steps.

After I talked to her, she left and overheard a conversation that another volunteer, John, was having with some of our protestors. After hearing his explanation of the genocide comparison, she told him that it didn’t offend her anymore.

--Alanna

We encounter many women who have had abortions. Some regret what they did, others don’t (at least not yet). What can we do?

1. Make sure they know we respect them, and 2. don’t condemn them for the mistakes they have made in their pasts.

A lady marched up to the display to ask me some questions.  We had good dialogue, and she soon understood our only real difference in opinion was if the baby was human like the born child. He was really adamant about respecting a woman’s autonomy, but soon told me she herself had had an abortion. She asked me to look her in the eyes and tell me if I thought she was like the people who killed Jewish people or Rwandan children. I truthfully told her no, and she seemed relieved. She didn’t change her mind about abortion in front of me, but we left on good terms and I hope she felt respected and listened to.

-Alanna

A women from Nigeria was staring at the signs. I spoke to her and she said she had seven abortions as a young woman, before she became a Christian. We spoke about the situation of abortion in her country, and she told me that she has received healing and forgiveness for her past. She is now married with three kids. As she continued to look at the display, she expressed to me how sad the pictures were and how abortion terrible is. Her words of hope to other women who have had abortions- “You don't have to feel eternally guilty.”

You never know when you will meet someone who is pregnant, or someone who is the position to influence someone who is considering abortion.

A student stopped and looked at the display. He told me his friend’s girlfriend was currently pregnant and they were struggling with what decision to make. He didn’t really think abortion was good, but knew his friend’s situation wasn’t good. I gave him information about local resources and my pamphlet to show his friend. He said he would give it to them.

--Alanna

What about all the students we didn’t get to talk to? Sometimes conversation isn’t needed to change a mind.

“I approached a woman who was standing, staring at the signs. I asked what she thought about abortion. She said “I was always pro-choice but seeing these pictures is heartbreaking. It opens your eyes.” She told me with tears in her eyes that the never knew about abortion like this. She had completely changed her mind before I even said a word.

--Alanna

So it is worth the effort and the controversy? If your goal as a campus pro-life club is to change countless minds about abortion, expose this terrible injustice and save lives, then yes, it is absolutely worth it.

“Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”

-The Talmud

Want more experience before bringing the project to your campus? Join us during reading break of February 2014 in for our annual GAP Tour taking place in Texas! E-mail Campus Outreach Director Maaike Rosendal for an application: mrosendal@unmaskingchoice.ca