Press Release: Controversy Erupts at UBC
Bloody Abortion Signs Confront Students and Mob Responds
Vancouver, BC. On Thursday, March 10, a UBC student pro-life club, Lifeline, will re-open the abortion debate—-and it will be hard to ignore them. The students will display eight 4×8-foot bloody images from the controversial Genocide Awareness Project (GAP: www.unmaskingchoice.ca/gap.html). The GAP graphically compares abortion to historical atrocities, such as the Holocaust, and his been met with resistance across North America. In fact, a Facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=167649023284651&index=1) opposing Lifeline’s display at UBC reports over 400 people plan to protest the event.
GAP will be displayed from 10am to 2pm at the SUB Lower Plaza, by East Mall Road (close to University Boulevard). Lifeline president Ania Kasprzak says she hopes UBC won’t allow protesters to censor her group’s display:
“UBC’s own policy on academic freedom supports our right to express ourselves through GAP,” stated Kasprzak. She quoted their policy which states, “Behaviour that obstructs free and full discussion, not only of ideas that
are safe and accepted, but of those which may be unpopular or even
abhorrent, vitally threatens the integrity of the University’s forum. Such behaviour cannot be tolerated.”
Kasprzak continued, “A university is the marketplace of ideas and we want to use that platform to show that abortion is an act of violence that kills a baby. We know this exhibit is effective at changing peoples’ minds because they’ve told us that.”
In a 2008 Globe and Mail interview, UBC President Dr. Stephen Toope lamented that “in Canada we have seen many examples of students trying to
shut down speakers with whom they disagree.” Dr. Toope asserted that “the
role of the university is to encourage tough questioning, and clear expressions of disagreement, but not the ‘silencing’ of alternative views.”
But one of the opponent’s to GAP, Anna Wärje, doesn’t want Lifeline’s message to be seen. She posted the following on the growing “Protest GAP” Facebook group: “UBC is requiring us [Students for Reproductive Rights (SRR)] to stay 30 feet from the display and not block or impede the display in any way. Last year, UBC tried to make SRR admin responsible for outside parties blocking the display, but I am not taking that sh** this year. There is nothing illegal about blocking that display, and only UBC students are susceptible to ‘university discipline.’ So…if you’re not a UBC student, don’t even pay attention to this bullsh**. Or if you’re a UBC student who doesn’t care about the university’s disapproval of your conduct.”
It remains to be seen whether UBC will intervene to stop the planned censorship-through-physical-obstruction of Lifeline’s display. In March of last year when abortion advocates blocked Lifeline’s display, UBC security did not directly remove the censures; instead, they called in the RCMP. But a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89QICRBJ65o&feature=channel_video_title) shows police informing Lifeline’s opponents that they could continue to engage in this physical obstruction and suppress Lifeline’s speech.
The GAP has been exhibited on or near campuses in BC, Alberta, Manitoba,
and Ontario. Last October, Carleton Lifeline students were arrested when
they attempted to set the display up.
GAP first appeared in Canada at UBC in November 1999 and it was violently
attacked by 3 UBC student leaders of the Alma Mater Society. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv7OCW1G0-M&feature=channel_video_title).
For further information contact Ania Kasprzak, Lifeline president, 778-982-1117 (cell).