Taking on The Anti-Women/Anti Choice Movement: Take Reality and Science to the College Campuses

Our protest
By Emma Kaplan

I received word on Facebook that the Genocide Awareness Project was going to be at the University of Washington. The Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) is an anti-woman, anti-choice photo mural exhibit that compares a woman terminating her pregnancy to genocide. They visit college universities in an attempt to distort abortion and shame young women.

Seeing as I had just found out about it the day before they were to arrive, I wasn't sure if there was enough time to mobilize protest. However, I recalled the story of Jamilah Hoffman in Houston, who protested GAP on her campus. She went out there by herself with a sign that read: Abortion On Demand And Without Apology. I decided I would pull a “Jamilah.” 

When I got to campus, I immediately saw their fetal pornography display. They had pictures of be-headed babies next to pictures of people being lynched and swastikas. I can't remember the last time I was that angry, all I could see was red.  And it looked as if they were completely unopposed. As I got closer to the display, I saw some people about 50 feet away from the display, circulating a petition to ban GAP from campus and others who had pro-choice signs.

It was good that people were out there and opposing the display but the only people who had the word abortion on their signs were me and the antis. I went and stood in front of the display and started agitating about how a fetus was not a baby, abortion was not murder and women were not incubators and how if a woman can't decide when and if she will have a child, she has no more rights than a slave. One young woman said, “If we don't have the right to choose, we will never be equal.”

Mainly, the arguments that people were using to expose the antis were the fact that a lot of them were pro-death penalty and that they shouldn't push their beliefs on other people.  They also said that it was the WAY they were portraying the message not the message itself they had a problem with.  A student in women's studies disagreed saying, “It is their message that is the problem, it's creating a culture of fear and harassment for young women on this campus.“

We had some discussion around about what is at the heart of this movement.  Yes, they are hypocritical &  judgmental but what is at the foundation of this movement is that they  believe that the bible is the literal word of god, that women should submit unto their husbands as their husbands submit unto the lord and women should be virgins until they were married. They are thugs with an anti-women and anti-sex agenda. I encouraged students to ask the GAP people about birth control, sex and the bible if they didn't believe me. Some did and the antis tried to skip around this question as much as possible. The antis recognize keep their anti-sex agenda hidden when they are at universities because it is a contradiction that they are trying to win a sexually active generation to stop taking birth control.  One of them said that women who have abortions should be tried with murder, said George Bush wasn’t pro-life enough, and refuses to have her children vaccinated.

The GAP people are not your typical “God Hates Fags” crowd. They seem very nice, friendly and open to dialogue. They look like normal people and some look like they could be students. One in fact was posing as a 'student' from the outside and claimed that he was a product of a botched abortion. What?! This is scientifically impossible. An abortion is when you terminate a pregnancy, if the pregnancy isn't terminated then it is not an abortion. Finally their true colors came out and people were very taken aback when they found this movement preaching abstinence only programs and saying that sex should only be for procreating.

Although most students on campus are pro-choice when it comes to rape or when the fetus endangers the women's lives, there is still a real stigma around abortion and particularly third trimester abortion. I was shocked to hear COLLEGE students saying things like,”A baby can survive on its own after 4 months.” Many of them  had never seen a picture of what an embryo looked like at conception. A lot of this shaped what they thought about what the difference between a fetus and embryo was. The pictures I had helped cut through a lot of the ignorance and lies perpetuated by the anti-choice movement. One student who is studying biology said that he agreed with what I was saying, that a fetus is not a baby until it is born. He said that science distinguished potential life from life when it makes conscious contact with its external environment.

One guy said although he thought it was good we were protesting, we shouldn't yell because it comes off as angry. I told him that if you really understand what this movement is going to women, forcing them into back alleys and to the days where women will give themselves abortion by forcing coat hangers up their vaginas, you would be angry too. Another woman said, ”It is very emotional to know that someday your body could not belong to you.” There were also a number of young men who hated the idea of women being treated as lesser human beings and thought that a women should be able to terminate her fetus at any point during her pregnancy.

I talked to people about the murder of Dr. Tiller and how Susan Wicklund wears a bulletproof vest to work. People did not know that abortion providers are under attack which explains why some said that we should just ignore the display and they will go away. 

There was a whole refreshing culture of debate and discussion. Students asking why is abortion still so stigmatized in the 21st century, what kind of a society could we have that wouldn't have theocrats like these around, and will there always be people who oppose abortion?

I really think it mattered to have visuals, to break down to people the myth and the science  of fetal development and what is driving the anti choice  movement. I met some people in the women's studies department who are considering  doing a showing of the Abortion Morality talk with Susan Wicklund.

I understand why people are disoriented about how to take this on and I felt the same way when I was at the DNC last year.   We need many more professors and biologists like P.Z. Meyers to come forward to combat this pseudo science with real science.  A whole generation has been robbed of a scientific understanding of abortion and women will pay the price. The Abortion, Morality, and the Liberation of Women DVD really provides a framework on how go up against this women hating, Christian fascist movement and on how we can get to a society where women are truly full human beings. Watch it, spread it and let's get free now!


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] Organizers Emma Kaplan Taking on The Anti-Women/Anti Choice Movement: Take Reality and Science to the College Campuses


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.