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Genocide Awareness Project

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What it is

The Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) is a visual display composed of 4×8-foot (or 6×13-foot) billboards which graphically compare the victims of abortion to victims of other atrocities, such as Jews in the Holocaust or African-Americans during the Civil Rights struggle in the US. It is typically exhibited at universities or colleges by campus pro-life clubs. Participants engage passersby in discussion about abortion, as well as hand out pro-life literature.

Why it's done

As post-secondary institutions are "the marketplace of ideas," GAP is a powerful way to compel thought and debate on this controversial topic. The display stimulates dialogue among students and others who ordinarily ignore the abortion debate. The display also ensures that the discussions occur in light of the reality of abortion.

By showing what abortion does, GAP pictures humanize the pre-born and dehumanize abortion. Moreover, by comparing the procedure of abortion to other forms of genocide, passersby are challenged to view abortion as a human rights violation with parallels to other atrocities.

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Today, people recognize injustices, such as the Holocaust, to be objectively wrong. They acknowledge that it is wrong to deny a human being her personhood status or her human rights because of how she appears or how others feel about her.

In the same way, they need to see that abortion is objectively wrong because it deprives human beings (in this case, pre-born humans) of their right to life.

Although there are differences between abortion and historical acts of genocide, there are fundamental similarities which warrant the comparison. One similarity is that past genocides occurred because widespread killing of human beings was rationalized on the basis that the victims were subhuman, inferior, and non-persons. Pictures challenged that thinking about past genocides and they do so now for the debate on abortion.

We encourage pro-life group, especially campus groups, to host a GAP display because it will achieve these goals:

  • Stimulate a debate on abortion that has long been silenced
  • Change minds towards the pro-life view
  • Save babies
  • Encourage women and men who have been involved with abortion to seek post-abortion counselling
  • Spare women from the physical and emotional damage that abortion inflicts
  • Demonstrate the effectiveness of GAP to other pro-lifers
  • Recruit and train future pro-life leaders

How it Works

File 260Select a leadership team to do background work, such as sign-ordering and preparation, selecting the GAP location, date, and time, and managing logistics (e.g., transporting the signs). CCBR has a manual for overseeing these details.

After being trained in pro-life apologetics and strategy, volunteers set up and participate in the free-standing exhibit. Volunteers hand out literature to those willing to receive it, and engage passersby in discussion. Video cameras and still cameras will be used to document the display and discourage aggressive action against GAP.

The signs are organized in a circular or rectangular shape with the pictures facing outward towards passersby. Steel barricades surround the exhibit. This is a safety measure for the signs and volunteers (who stand between the signs and barricades). They also serve to distinguish trained exhibit personnel from passersby.

GAP displays last anywhere between one to four days, though most last two days. (Note: at the end of each day it is dismantled.)

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Where it Has Happened

GAP has been displayed over 150 times in the United States since 1998. GAP was first launched in Canada in 1999 by a group of pro-life students at the University of British Columbia. Since then, students have displayed GAP signs on or near the following Canadian campuses:

  • University of British Columbia
  • Simon Fraser University in Burnaby
  • Thompson Rivers University (formerly University College of the Cariboo)
  • Trinity Western University
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of Toronto
  • Carleton University in Ottawa