CALGARY, Alberta, March 31, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of Canada’s most harassed university campus pro-life groups is experiencing a backlash against their pro-life message yet again after erecting a new display on campus this week.
In the past, University of Calgary pro-life students have been charged and found guilty of major violations of the school’s “non-academic misconduct policy” for displaying the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP), which compares abortion to other genocides. Students have also been arrested and charged with trespassing for setting up the display.
This week, the head of U of C’s Hillel Association, which represents Jewish people on campus, went to CBC News with complaints that the pro-life group’s new display “exploits the holocaust.” “I was disgusted and offended,” Aaron Silver, president of the association, told CBC.
The current display is not a GAP one, although it does compare abortion to genocide. Set up behind a large glass case in the Student Center, the display is made up of 290 pairs of baby shoes, which represent the approximately 290 children killed in Canada every day by abortion.
A small picture of the piles of shoes left in the concentration camps during the Holocaust draws attention to the comparison between victims of abortion and other genocides. Campus Pro-Life also replicated a poster from National Campus Life Network on the glass casing highlighting the denial of personhood as the common factor to many genocides and injustices in the world.
In her interview with CBC, Campus Pro-Life president Alanna Campbell said the club’s intention was never to offend. “The idea is to represent the children that should have been born to wear those shoes,” said Campbell. “We do claim that abortion is a form of genocide.”
Soon after the erection of the display, other students began taping papers to the glass display case in protest. “Respecting life should start with your audience” and “Abortion = Holocaust, Women = Nazis, Think again!” are examples of the protestors’ signs.
“I left it up because it didn’t cover the important parts of the display and it was encouraging people to stop and talk,” Campbell told LifeSiteNews.com. The Student’s Union also put up a poster in the display to clarify that the views were those of the pro-life club.
“It’s obvious that these shoes were not worn by aborted fetuses,” Silver told CBC. The Hillel Association president said his only recourse was to go to the media after the Student Association and Campus Pro-Life did not remove the display. “It’s important that people understand this issue and realize how offensive and unnecessary this comparison is.”
Campbell disputed Silver’s criticisms. “I made the point in the [CBC] interview, which didn’t get shown on the news, that the display is offensive if the unborn are NOT human, but if they are, it is fair to draw comparisons between victims of abortion and other genocides, just like we would compare victims of the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide, or Cambodia,” she told LSN.
“We’re not planning to take it down,” she said, “I understand that people don’t like it, but I think it’s a point that needs to be made.”
Campbell told LSN that she spoke at length with the president of the Hillel Association after the interviews, explaining to him why the comparison is accurate.
“Our goal is not to offend people but to help people realize that we are simply repeating history by denying the status of legal ‘personhood’ to a group of human beings – preborn human beings,” concluded Campbell.