By: Jasmyn Elliott /Opinion Editor
When I received an email regarding the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform’s so-called “Genocide Awareness Project” making an appearance on campus, I thought the name said it all: a genocide awareness project.
I did not expect to see multiple three-square-feet photographs of aborted fetuses.
I am all for free speech and expressing one’s opinion on important social issues, especially one that affects women all over the globe. I am also in support of those on opposing sides of an issue coming together to discuss those opinions and at least come to an understanding of the opposite point of view. However, I am not for showing graphic imagery in an inappropriate manner under false pretenses.
When it comes to graphic medical imagery, I am not squeamish. Both of my parents have worked in the medical field and, as a result, I have been exposed to such imagery at a young age and have even taken a personal interest in women’s health. However, other students may not be so lucky and could have easily been distracted, if not nauseated, by the explicit imagery that the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform used in their installation.
Also, in addition to the photographs of aborted fetuses, images from the Holocaust and other genocides depicting heaps of dead victims were also included, adding to the alarming nature of their display. On top of that, at one point a woman in association with the center got hold of a microphone and began shouting into the crowd, drawing even more attention to it.
True, they did have signs warning people of the disturbing imagery ahead-and, I give them credit for it-but the images were blown up to such a large size that they were easily seen from a distance. I hate to use the cliché, but the images were like watching open-heart surgery: disgusting, but very difficult to look away from.
Also, for those that received the email, I must say that the title “Genocide Awareness Project” is very misleading. When one mentions the word “genocide,” I would say that the majority of us would think of the Holocaust, the ethnic cleansing in Rwanda in 1994 or Darfur during the new millennium. By definition, genocide “is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group,” according to the Oxford English dictionary and the Geneva Convention.
While people have varying opinions on when “life” begins, I think it is safe to say that “Fetus” is neither an ethnic group nor a religion.
Abortion is a social issue that always produces deep, spirited discussion, but there is a time and a place for it. One of these places would be a college campus, but the method the Center used, while attention-grabbing and definitely likely to produce a strong response, was inappropriate. I do not mind if they return, but with a method that does not rely on deception and shock value to engage students in the discussion of a serious issue.