Thursday, November 18, 2004

'Pro-Choice' Gang Again Tries to Shut Down Pro-Life Display

Vancouver Provice Nov. 18, 2004 Page A8
Pro-choice group says UBC biased
BY ETHAN BARON STAFF REPORTER

The University of B.C. is favouring an anti-abortion group in a
freespeech battle over campus demonstrations, a pro-choice group says.
Anti-abortion students put up graphic posterboards yesterday on campus,
equating abortion in Canada to genocide in Nazi Germany, Rwanda and
Cambodia.
Pro-choice protesters were required to stay outside a 9.75-metre bubble
zone, under university rules for the Genocide Action Project display
outside the student union building.
And the pro-choice protesters said the university showed its bias by
having campus security wash away chalked messages that described the
anti-abortion display as "racist," "sexist" and "hateful."
"The rationale that we were given for this was that those messages were
potentially inflammatory," said Students for Choice spokeswoman Jordana
Greenblatt.
"We're not allowed to write things that might be inflammatory, but
[abortion foes] are allowed to bring these [posters] that we know
traumatize students."
Genocide Action Project displays have in the past led to a spike in
student visits to peer-counselling services, said Paul Sutton, safety
co-ordinator for the UBC student society.
"There are people who feel like they've been targeted due to their race
or ethnicity. Some women who have had abortions before, this brings about a
great deal of emotional turmoil."
An "impartial feminist counsellor" was available at a table near the
demonstration for people needing help, he said.
Anti-abortion students from Lifeline, which put up the display of
materials also used in U.S. demonstrations, appreciated the bubble zone.
"All we want is to avoid a situation where students can stifle any
opinion on campus they don't agree with," said Lifeline spokesman Joel
Mawhorter. The graphic displays of dismembered fetuses, combined with
images of dead children from historic genocides, drive home the
right-tolife message, Mawhorter said.
"What we're trying to say is, 'Why is it wrong to kill people because of
their race or . . . religion or skin colour, but not wrong to kill a person
before they are born?'"
University spokesman Scott Macrae said campus security hosed off some
chalked messages.
"It was language that was sort of gratuitously hateful and it was
removed for that reason," Macrae said. "It was just inappropriate." He
defended the bubble zone. "We have obvious concerns about people's safety
and security, and this is the best way to do it."