Several universities in the Washington, D.C. area were recently invaded by pro-lifers. These weren’t just any pro-lifers. They were Canadian pro-lifers.

The Centre for Bio-Ethical reform took its autumn tour of the Genocide Awareness Project to schools around and inside “the Beltway” Sept. 24 to Oct. 8, including to the University of Delaware, the University of Maryland and George Mason University.

GAP, an educational display, features 20 to 30 photographic murals, each two by four metres in size. The murals use pictures to compare past atrocities, such as the Holocaust and American slavery, to the greatest atrocity of our time, abortion. The students and CBR staff who man the display are trained in pro-life apologetics, and are able to engage university students in one-on-one debates on the abortion issue.

The group is based in California, but its most recent tour featured three Canadian team members. Stephanie Gray, head of the fledgling Canadian affiliate, the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, was one of the three. For Gray, who has been organizing “mini-GAPs” since she was a second-year student at the University of British Columbia, this was her first full-sized display. She was impressed by the enhanced impact of the larger exhibit. “The larger the display is, the more people you attract, and the more you are able to debate.”

Gray was also struck by the openness of the American students. “They were willing to talk to you. There was a lot less hostility than we see on Canadian campuses,” she commented.

Kristine Kruszelnicki of Ottawa Youth for Life and Gillian Long of Campaign Life Coalition attended the tour as well. It was the second tour Long had attended, although she was only able to attend two of the five schools on the tour. She explains why she took vacation time to be part of GAP: “There is no other opportunity that gives pro-lifers this kind of access to young minds before they’ve reached the point of standing outside the abortuary. Every time I do this, I am struck by how the pictures have the ability to cut through all the rhetoric.”

Long said, “My first morning out, before we even had the display completely set up, we had saved a baby. An abortion-minded student came by, saw the pictures and changed her mind. The images are just so powerful, you can’t deny the reality of abortion.”

In another incident, Long said, “A young man who had just found out his girlfriend was pregnant approached me to express his gratitude for our presence. I was able to get him in touch with crisis pregnancy centres in his girlfriend’s area, to be sure that they would have support during and after the pregnancy. I wouldn’t have had that opportunity if I wasn’t standing in front of those signs.”

The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform had a GAP on the University College of the Cariboo campus in B.C., Oct. 15-16. Gray reports that they are currently attempting to get on two new Canadian campuses for the spring, but she is currently keeping the locations under wraps. Considering the signs behind her, she muses, “We’d like to be doing the full-scale GAP, but realistically, right now, the size of our group limits that. But we look forward to the day we can bring a display of this size to Canadian students.”