This article appeared originally in the July-August 2005 issue of the Columbus Free Press. Additional pictures appear at the bottom of the page. (All photos by author)
The Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) paid a visit to OSU on May 17-18. Headed by a Mark Harrington, (below right) director of the Center for oethical Reform Midwest and Reform America both headquartered in Columbus, GAP is a traveling photo/mural exhibit that, according to GAP, “compares contemporary abortion to historically recognized forms of genocide” such as the Holocaust, Jim Crow lynchings, and the slaughter of Cambodians by the Pol Pot regime. The displays marked “The Changing Face of Choice” and “The Insanity of Choice” included graphic photos of Holocaust and lynch victims labeled “ungentle” “unwhite” next to bay-bee bits abortion pictures labeled “unborn.”
GAP, invited on campus by an OSU t pro-life student organization, set up shop in the grassy area on 17th and Neil. Although the event was unannounced, VOX (Voices for Planned Parenthood at the Ohio State University) was tipped to the event a week earlier and held its own surprise 2-day counter demonstration, passed out literature, and set up an information table across the street. VOX’s “human petitions,” wearing sandwich boards on which people could register their feelings about the exhibit, collected hundreds of signatures from both pro-choice and pro-life students who found the display objectionable.
April Ostach, events coordinator for VOX, who describes herself as a practicing Jew, said she thought it was inappropriate for GAP to use the display. “I find it particularly offensive that they link something to the Holocaust that was a horrible horrible thing.” A pro-life Jewish student who lost family members in the Holocaust engaged Mark Harrington in a prolonged, argument about the road show, finally walking away from it.
During a drawn- out discussion between a man who appeared to be a Philosophy grad student and a GAPer that included philosophical debate about pregnant angels, dolphins, form and function and assumed potentiality, the GAPer admitted that in a hypothetical fire, where either a live 5-year old boy or a petri dish of 10 zygotes could be saved, it would be better to save the zygotes.