Instead of protesting abortion, try fighting actual genocide

I don’t imagine many UK students failed to notice the images displayed by the so-called Genocide Awareness Project last week outside the Classroom Building. This is the second time since I’ve been a student here that we’ve been confronted with gigantic declarations that abortion is tantamount to genocide. On its last visit, the group even brought trucks plastered with the images to drive in circles around campus.

It baffles me that this organization has chosen to take an activist stance against genocide without choosing an actual example of it to focus on. Abortion is not genocide. A quick trip to the dictionary will clear that up for those of you who don’t trust me on this.

There are real, atrocious genocides happening to actual groups of people. If GAP were really concerned with these people, maybe it wouldn’t compare them to fetuses and embryos, and instead would afford them the dignity of people with the ability to think, hope, love their families and, I don’t know, be cognizant of what is going on around them.

Instead of insulting the real victims of real genocide by comparing their plight to a woman exercising her right to choose when to reproduce, maybe GAP could open apathetic students’ eyes to real instances of its own titular cause. Handing out materials about the situation in Darfur, Sudan, would be a good way to start raising awareness about genocide. Students who actually care about genocide can start educating themselves at

Of course, there are other ways that the premise of GAP is insulting. It is ludicrous to imply that any individual woman who seeks an abortion is committing an act of genocide. The reasons that women have abortions are varied and nuanced, but they cannot be compared to a motivation to wipe out any given population of people. To believe otherwise, one would have to be remarkably uninformed and unsympathetic.

As a college student, I’m insulted that GAP (and whatever student group may have brought it here) has so little regard for my intelligence that it thinks I’d fall for its little bait-and-switch. An organization that resorts to deliberate misnaming of the practices with which it takes issue shows that it doesn’t think we’re smart enough to tell the difference between the two concepts that it conflates. Interestingly, it also implies that GAP doesn’t have confidence that we’d support its message if it were honest and clear about what it is.

Maybe the GAP activists are right about that. According to its Web site, GAP considers birth control pills and other hormonal birth control methods to be abortifacient. The daily ritual of taking a pill, shared by many female UK students, is now a testament of their willingness to commit genocide, according to this organization. I just don’t believe that many UK students, even the “pro-life” ones, consider birth control, abortion and genocide to be one and the same.

As always, some readers will assert that there is no difference at all between a fetus and a human person, though the truth of this assertion would do nothing to prove that abortion is genocide. I wonder what, if anything, those readers who grant rights to fetuses would do to protect women’s rights.

Would a woman be able to sue an unwanted fetus for theft of services rendered through forced pregnancy, or have it arrested for the threat of assault that would be childbirth? To consider a fetus to be the same as a born human person at least raises some difficult or unanswerable questions, and at worst nullifies the rights of women.

But, of course, GAP isn’t concerned with women’s rights. It’s also not concerned with genocide. I’d love to see the GAP activists rethink their message and actually do something to raise awareness about what they purport to; genocide is a real and terrible thing. Or maybe, and more likely, they should just change the name of their organization to the more apt “Abortions Look Icky So Don’t Have Them Project.”