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A CPL demonstrator.
Alex Ramadan/the Gauntlet

Pro-lifers protest abortion

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The Campus Pro-Life club brought their "Genocide Awareness Project" back to campus this week, displaying it on the lawn between Science B and MacEwan Student Center. The GAP uses graphic imagery to compare abortion to historical atrocities such as the Holocaust and Rwandan genocide.

"The goal of a campaign like this is to change public opinion," said CPL president Matthew Wilson. "To show people what abortion is and to make them think about it."

Another campus club, the Feminist Initiative Recognizing Equality, held a counter-protest in front of the display. A petition against the display, claiming it was sexual harassment as defined by the Students' Union, collected over 500 signatures.

Hot debate raged during the two day protest but no violent episodes occurred.

"We didn't expect any incidents based on our security," said Campus Security patrol supervisor Bob King. "Last year there were even more people out debating. This year I think numbers were cut in half."

Many students were offended that the university would allow such an explicit display.

"It is extremely difficult to reconcile the principles of freedom of expression with the highly graphic images in the GAP project on campus this week," said University of Calgary vice-president External Relations, Roman Cooney in a prepared statement. "But whatever one's position on this particular issue, freedom of expression is, and should be, the paramount issue."

Though they promote free speech, the university also noted students' concerns were not unfounded.

"It is, though, the university's view that CPL should exercise this right more responsibly," said Cooney in the statement. "The points raised in objection to the display are taken seriously. But they need to be raised with CPL, which is ultimately responsible for the content of the display."

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Comments

Pictures of piles of corpses from the Holocaust are routinely shown on television. The objection to abortion photos is purely based on the opinion that only one side of the abortion issue really deserves freedom of speech.
It's understandable though that many people who look at the abortion pictures are outraged. It's a sign that deep down they know abortion is wrong. If they really thought abortion was OK, it would n't bother them to look at it.

Re: Nissa Annakindt: Holy Strawman fallacy, Batman!

Perhaps what part of the student body is annoyed by is not so much the fact that abortion is inherently evil, but more the reality that Campus Pro-Life is, by doing this, actively campaigning for a reduction in recognized civil liberties? Or perhaps, to echo Richard Freeman's letter, that the aforementioned club is using Students' Union money to act as the puppets of an American think-tank? Or maybe it's the smug, "Holier-than-thou" attitude given off by Campus Pro-Life (Of which the representatives at the event were mostly male, might I add) -- and indeed, given off also by your letter -- which raises the ire of so many students?

Or, you know, maybe what's pissing them off so much is the fact that the so-called "Genocide Awareness Project" is so utterly illogical, so insanely far removed from reality, that by even giving Campus Pro-Life the time of day, the university is lowering itself down to the level of Intelligent Design proponents and other vendors of misinformation.

I don't know, but I personally hold the belief that any reasonable person can't really make the correlation between the systematic genocide of millions of people and the individual act of abortion.

It's so difficult to choose a side to support. On the one hand, there's a group of students organized by entrenched outside forces to co-opt the public university to propell a broader agenda established long ago, and on the other hand, there's the exact same thing.

Apathy seems preferable to submission to either position.

I know that everyone has been getting really upset one way or the other about this issue. And it is an important issue. I am pregnant and I can't wait to give my baby a loving home and I know in my heart I would never choose to abort any child I concieve. But that dosen't change the fact that it's my body and I get to make that choice. But that is an opinion everyone gets to have.

The concept that Campus Pro-life is actually comparing things like the Holocaust and Rwandan genocide to abortion is offensive. They have the right to thier opinions but we should draw the line when the photos they put up offend other people. I also have a personal grudge against people that try to force thier opinions on other people. We were given free will. Free will to decide if we agree with abortion or not and freedom to have our opinions. If Campus Pro-Life can't repspect that fact then they're no better than what they're so strongly protesting. They have a right to thier opinions just as I have a right not to be offended by walking through campus. But make your own opinion- this is just mine.

I have a right not to be offended by walking through campus.

No, you don't. Both you, and the anti-choice people have the right to assembly and free(ish) speech in public spaces, but that does not imply that you have the right to prevent others from assembling or speaking in public.

Hearing and seeing their demonstration was your choice: You could have walked around it.

That said, there's nothing to prevent you from assembling a tall, loud marching band or some such which obstructs the anti-choice display...