Anyone else remember G.A.P. from their university campus tours? An anti-choice group, they’d set up large graphic photos of third term abortions, lynchings, and the Holocaust, and equate reproductive rights with genocide (the name stands for ‘genocide awareness project’). Needless to say their ‘facts’ on abortion were grossly incorrect and the whole concept of their protest was offensive, ignorant and hateful. They were also extremely aggressive and would tail female students through the main thoroughfares where they set up, harassing and badgering women for ignoring them or disagreeing with them. But they felt supremely entitled to do so, since in their eyes their cause was literally no less than halting a Holocaust.
While it would have been awesome to engage in an actual good-faith conversation with those protesters over what abortion is, who obtains it & why, it wasn’t going to happen. So instead I wish I’d been able to hand them this information about Gisella Perl, a woman who knew more than any of them the reality of reproductive choice and the reality of genocide.
Perl was a gynecologist in what was then Hungary, until 1944 when the Nazi invasion saw her rounded up with fellow Jews and deported to Auschwitz. At the camp she was put to work as a doctor, albeit one without access to even basic medical supplies. She was also tasked with reporting any pregnancies to Josef Mengele, so that these women could be used in horrific and pointless human experiments during which they’d inevitably be tortured and killed.
Perl took it upon herself to perform covert abortions for the women of Auschwitz. In all she performed hundreds, saving hundreds of women from Mengele’s sick ‘experiments.’
In her later life Perl went on to deliver some 3,000 babies as a gynecologist working in New York. She also became an expert in the treatment of infertility.
I wonder what the G.A.P. protesters would make of someone like Perl, or the reality for women everywhere that sometimes, for a variety of reasons, choosing an abortion is choosing life. Maybe it would open up some appreciation for having a choice.