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The Daily Tar Heel

Babies, Billboards and Blasphemy

I'm familiar with the rhetoric: Abortion stops a beating heart. It's a child, not a choice. Those slogans are tiring.

I don't care what they say -- I can't wait until I get pregnant and have absolutely no means of supporting the baby! The life of a child? Pish!

Thank goodness for those conservatives who fight against contraceptives and sexual education in general. If it weren't for them, it might be more difficult to have an unwanted pregnancy.

If I got pregnant, the choice would be so easy to make! I definitely wouldn't spend many days and weeks laboring over this heavy decision like it was going to affect the rest of my life. Nope, I would be psyched about that surgery!

Going to the clinic would be great, too! It would be super exciting to walk past the angry protesters who shout, "Whore! Murderer!" The best part would be to have my feet in stirrups, my cervix forced open with dilator rods and a cold metal instrument scraping the walls of my uterus!

Not so exciting, right? This satire clearly points out the ridiculous assumption that all pro-choice supporters think abortion is a wonderful experience. This is absolutely not the case. The majority of women who get abortions are extremely upset about their situation.

She has not thought amply through all her options, and these are some of the reasons why she feels she has to abort: Her contraceptives failed; she could not afford contraceptives; she did not know enough about contraceptives to use them or use them properly; she didn't even know sex could get her pregnant. I know that one sounds crazy, but with a lack of comprehensive sexual education -- something pushed by the anti-choice advocates -- this is often the case.

She does not have the emotional and financial support of her impregnator; she believes or fears the religious-right-enforced stigmas against single motherhood; she feels she cannot tell her parents, partner or friends.

She was sexually assaulted or raped by her father, stepfather, uncle or boyfriend; she was coerced into sex by a man with more social power.

She is not ready for children; a baby would drastically change her whole life plan; she's 12 or 50 years old.

She cannot handle the emotional distress and pain of adoption; she would lose her job, fail in school or have to deal with too many questions (see three paragraphs above) if she were forced to carry a baby full-term; she knows that carrying a baby for nine months before giving it away leads to both physical and emotional trauma.

The women who decide to have abortions often agonize over their choices. Both the decision to abort and the experience is traumatic. They dread the procedure and are often emotionally distraught for months, years and even a lifetime afterward.

This is one of the great harms caused by the Genocide Awareness Project. It makes women who already feel horrible experience more shame, guilt and dreadful indignity for many problems that they could not control. It blames them for getting pregnant, when men are, by and large, the initiators of sexual encounters and the ones who do not allow "their" women to use contraception.

Rather than showing the bravery or wise decision-making power women exhibit in the face of a terrible situation, GAP chooses to portray women who abort as murderers. Worse, it compares these women to people who commit genocidal acts.

Not only is this tactic hateful to women, it also exploits very real atrocities suffered by victims of actual genocide. All of the genocides to which GAP compares abortion involve the targeted elimination of one group of people based on their race.

A woman's difficult decision to abort is based upon her incapacity to raise a child, often caused by men who disappear or prohibit her from preventing the pregnancy in the first place (through actions and law-making).

Abortion and genocide are absolutely not the same.

GAP uses hideous and hateful tactics. Even if you are against a woman's right to choose what she does if she becomes pregnant, you do not have to agree with their tactics. They present bloody 8-month-old fetuses, which comprise only 0.1 percent of all abortions, as the norm and compare these deaths to acts of genocide. This tactic is racist and exploits real, atrocious genocide.

Even if you are not pro-choice, please join us in expressing your disgust with the GAP display.

Focus your energies on creating a world where sex education is fundamental and contraceptives are readily available, affordable and more effective -- the only tactic that will actually reduce the number of performed abortions.

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Linda Chupkowski is pro-women's lives. Though she welcomes discussion about

abortion, she will not respond to personal attacks. Reach her at

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