Flower

Archive for July, 2015

Rules for Rallies: Avoiding conflict over abortion victim photos

CBR volunteer Debbie Picarello on the public sidewalk near a pro-life rally in Nashville

CBR volunteer Debbie Picarello on the public sidewalk near a pro-life rally in Tennessee.  CBR cooperated with rally organizers to select reasonable display locations.

It’s a source of conflict and it won’t go away.  What do you think?  Please comment.

More and more, pro-life activists are showing up at political events, Tea Party functions, Christian assemblies, and even pro-life rallies to display abortion victim photos (AVPs).  We at CBR do it, and so do others.

Event organizers routinely take exception to this, asserting that we are being disrespectful, divisive, disruptive, etc.  They ask us to put away our signs.  “This isn’t the time or place,” they say.

We do it anyway.  It is our duty to expose injustice.  Yet, over and over again, it is never the disaster that rally organizers fear.  Maybe it’s because we always respect the rights of organizers to reserve space for their own exclusive use, and we never disrupt or interfere with any of their activities.  Here is how we do it:

  1. We communicate our intent to display AVPs near the subject event.
  2. We assure the organizers that we will keep our signs out of whatever space they have reserved for their own exclusive use.
  3. We promise that we will not go near the podium nor interfere with the event in any way.
  4. We make it clear that we are not there to protest their event, but to deliver our message to an important audience.  We come as friends and co-laborers, albeit determined to fulfill our own particular mission.
  5. We even let the event organizers tell us where they want us to stand, within reason.  When they see that we are reasonable, then they are reasonable (most of the time).
  6. We send a letter or e-mail to the police notifying them of our intent to display AVPs; we offer to meet with them to discuss locations, rules of conduct, etc.

Why do we show up at pro-life events?  Because the abortion industry is chopping up little babies and selling them for parts, and somebody needs make that point clearly visible and undeniable.

Pro-lifers are an important audience for our message.  We want them to see how serious abortion is.  Almost every full-time pro-life activist can trace his activism back to that day he first saw an abortion photo.

We want to demonstrate how AVPs can be displayed in a respectful way.

Finally, we want to invite pro-lifers to become more active in the movement, perhaps as a vocation.  That’s vocation, not vacation!  The other side has made killing babies a full-time profession, but we have made saving them a part-time hobby.

Yes, pro-lifers are often our most important audience, but there are others.  For example, we want news reporters to know that abortion decapitates and dismembers its victims.  Whether they decide to report that fact is another thing, but at least they will know.

Passersby will wonder what the rally is all about.  We want them to see that the rally isn’t about the abstract notion of “choice,” but instead is about the decapitation and dismemberment of little human beings.

So what happens?  Nothing bad.  In the end, we have never caused a problem for event organizers, despite their initial fear and trepidation at our presence.  They did their thing, we did ours, and we all sang Kumbaya at sunset.  Well, maybe everyone didn’t sing Kumbaya, but nobody has ever claimed that we disrupted their event.

May we respectfully offer the following Rules for Rallies for your consideration:

  1. People who organize rallies have every right to set their own agendas.
  2. People who organize rallies have every right to control the space they reserve for their own exclusive use.  They get to decide what signs get brought into that space and what signs don’t.
  3. People who organize rallies don’t get to control everything within visible sight, however.  Spaces that are still available for general use (i.e., still available for use by the general public while the event is being held) may not be claimed by the organizers as off-limits to AVPs.
  4. People who display AVPs have every right to do so on the public sidewalk and in public spaces that are not being used by rally organizers.
  5. People who display AVPs have every right to target whatever audience they choose, including people who are going to or leaving a rally, with whatever message they choose.  Just as the pro-life movement (PLM) is fighting against the status quo of abortion in society, some in the PLM are challenging the status quo of the PLM itself.
  6. People who display AVPs have as much right to engage people walking toward a rally as pro-lifers have a right to engage people walking toward an abortion facility.
  7. Nobody has the right to veto the proclamation of truth.
  8. Displaying AVPs near a rally does not disrupt a rally.
  9. People who display AVPs should, as a courtesy, notify the rally organizers of the plan to respectfully display AVPs on a nearby public space in a way that does not interfere with the rally itself.
  10. Under most circumstances, it is not unreasonable for the rally organizers to ask for a 5-foot buffer between their crowd and the people holding AVPs.

As a matter of course, we always notify the police that we intent to display AVPs.  In our letter or e-mail, we normally offer to meet with them to answer questions and discuss specifics.  This gives the police managers a chance to tell the street officers that we do indeed have the right to be there.

That’s what FAB thinks, but you might change our minds.  What do you think?

Kill the baby or kill the habit?

GAP at Georgia Southern University

A crowd gathers at Georgia Southern University.

At Georgia Southern, Bert had been speaking with CBR’s Maggie Egger for a while when he asked, “What if the woman is an addict, and she’s going to have a baby that’s really handicapped?”

Maggie trotted out the ever-present, imaginary, 2-year-old toddler.  This particular toddler was handicapped, to match the circumstance that Burt described.

Maggie asked, “Would it be OK to kill this toddler because of his handicap?”  Bert, of course, said not.

Then he revealed the reason he asked, “My sister is an addict and she’s pregnant right now.”

But now reflecting on what he had seen and heard, he said thoughtfully, “I think having this baby might help her.  I bet when people in her situation have abortions instead, it’s very easy for them just to go back to their old bad habits, and they’ll eventually kill themselves, slowly.”

Maggie talked about her experiences helping women in New York City, how some of them had huge obstacles to overcome.  But many of them were much more motivated to work once they realized that other people (to be specific, their own children) were counting on them.

[This all reminded us of the student at Middle Tennessee State whose mom was waiting tables when she got pregnant with him.  She didn’t abort (obviously, since the child was now grown up and speaking with us).  He said, “After she had me, she got serious about her life and went back to school.  She got her nursing degree and now she’s the head nurse at a hospital, making about 80 or 90 grand a year.”  He thought a minute and then said, “You know, I think if my mother had aborted me, she would still be back there waiting tables.”]

Bert thanked Maggie and walked on. GAP may have saved his little niece or nephew.  He or she wouldn’t be the first one.  Here is another (link).

Shock and awe at Georgia Southern

GAP at Georgia Southern University

“You’re really making me think about this.”

At Georgia Southern University (GSU), Okie told our Jackie Hawkins that his father had aided (forced?) the abortion of two older siblings, before raising three successful boys.

Okie looked both shocked and confused as he studied the pictures.  He was ambivalent about the concept of abortion … or at least he tried to be.  His blasé statements were interrupted with curses, betraying his shock at seeing abortion for the first time:

Well it should be legal. … Oh, s***!!!

I mean it’s just a choice. … What the f***!!!

The images were forcing their way into his conscience.

Okie is a black student, so Jackie told him about the abortion industry’s racist history.  He continued to look at the pictures with a confused and horrified expression.  He finally said, “You’re really making me think about this.”

Amen!  That’s what we came for!

“A clump of cells?!”

With our prenatal development GAP sign, we show how a “clump of cells” is endowed with arms and legs and fingers and toes.  Some “clump of cells.”

by Kendra Wright

At Tennessee Tech, a Middle Eastern student told me that he is Muslim and in his country, killing the unborn is just like killing a born person.  But he knew very little about abortion.

He was very shocked to hear that 1.2 million die every year in this country from abortion.

He asked why people get abortions and if “not wanting” the child is a frequent justification.  I confirmed that this is often the case.

I started explaining the difference between a wanted child and an unwanted child.  If a child is wanted, we call it a baby.  If it is unwanted, we call it a clump of cells.

He was shocked.  “A clump of cells?!”

He could see right away that a baby is not just a clump of cells and calling it such is ridiculous.

Kendra Wright is a CBR project director and a regular FAB contributor.

From pro-choice to “not so sure”

Perpetrators of genocide always have their "reasons."

Perpetrators of genocide always have their “reasons.”

by Kendra Wright

At UNC Wilmington, I asked a young man what he thought.  He immediately said he was pro-choice, that people have good reasons for having abortions.

I pointed out that even if I had good reasons for killing him, that wouldn’t make it right or acceptable.  He agreed.

We spoke a while.  After a lull in the conversation I asked him if he was still pro-choice.  He said yes and reverted to “people have good reasons” to abort.

I said, “Wait a minute, we already talked about this. Good reasons do not justify killing human beings.”  Again, he agreed.  Then he fell silent.

I asked again if he was still pro-choice, but this time, his mind was changing.  “Hmm, I don’t know,” he said.

He went on to say that people are ignorant about the science of human development and that he appreciated our use of graphic images.

Once he understood the implications of his pro-choice view he realized he couldn’t firmly hold it.  That is what pictures do: they neutralize the opposition, convert the neutral, activate the converted, and energize the active.

Kendra Wright is a CBR project director and a regular FAB contributor.

“Are they doing anything about it?”

Beth Fox and I exhort Liberty students to be pro-life with their actions as well as their thoughts.

by Kendra Wright

Who needs to see abortion photos?  Everyone?  Even those that are already pro-life?

Absolutely.

This point can seem confusing.  If you already believe something, you don’t need to be convinced of it.  Right?

Yet, it is clear that Christians are doing almost nothing to stop the killing in the culture.  They are even killing their own children at staggering rates.  One in five women who abort identifies herself as a born-again or evangelical Christian.

Secular universities devote massive resources to training advocates for the abortion industry, but Christian universities like Liberty University have zero training programs to prepare Christians students for the pro-life mission field.  Zip, zero, nada.

In fact, Liberty has even forbidden pro-life students from displaying abortion victim photos on campus.

It is a tragedy every time a savable baby at Liberty is killed by abortion.  But CBR is working to change all that.

Beth Fox is one Liberty student who is willing to stand up and be counted.  On several occasions, Beth, (CBR Project Director) Maggie Egger, and I have stood in front of the Liberty library with a sign showing an abortion victim photo.  The sign first asks if Jesus would use a bloody picture, then answers that question with a picture of the Crucifixion.

Many student studied this sign and discussed it with their friends as they walked by.  Two students that gave us a thumbs up.

As we were packing up to leave, a professor came up and asked why we were there.  He wasn’t against the use of the pictures, but he was confused about their use at Liberty.  He asked, “But why are you here on a Christian campus?  Isn’t everybody here already pro-life?”

Maggie stopped him with her reply, “Are they doing anything about it?”

Good question.  The pictures challenge Christian complacency.

Kendra Wright is a CBR project director and a regular FAB contributor.

Hungry for Change at Liberty University

This Liberty student is hungry … but, for what? His answer may not be as creepy as it seems.  Read on to find out why.

by Nicole W. Cooley

I got my first collegiate baseball cap at Liberty University in August 2011.

But at Liberty, we weren’t actually on the campus.  Despite requests by Student Government and CBR, the Liberty Administration repeatedly denied permission for our GAP display.  First Amendment rights don’t exist at private schools.

That is very creepy, I thought.  But then I saw the fine print at the bottom of his sign.

But we came anyway.  We used the streets, sidewalks, and public spaces just off campus.  We displayed GAP signs at the campus entrances and drove Truth Trucks around the perimeter of campus.  Five Truth Trucks.  For an entire week.

I lost count how many times students asked me, “Why are you here?  Everyone at Liberty is pro-life already.  Why don’t you go somewhere else?”  Many were annoyed at our presence.

Over and over I replied, “I’m so glad you are pro-life.  What are you doing about it?  Do you vote pro-life?  Do you sidewalk counsel outside of abortion clinics?  We’re here because you are attending the largest Christian university in the United States.  If we can’t get Christians to care about abortion, we have no hope of ending it.”

One conversation stood out.  On the fourth day, a young man came up to me in tears.  “Why are you doing this?  I can’t get those pictures out of my head!”

I gently replied to him in the same way as I did the others, “We had to break your heart about abortion – otherwise you’d continue in ignorant apathy like the rest of America.”

On the last day at Liberty, we finally got a protester … or so I thought.  A student stood along the side of the road with his sign which read, “Looking at dead babies just makes me hungry.”

That is very creepy, I thought.  But then I saw the fine print at the bottom of his sign, “…for change.”  Because he saw the pictures, he was hungry for change.

Amen!  So are we.

Nicole Cooley is a CBR project director and a FAB contributor.  This is the second in a series of “hat blogs” about memorable conversations gleaned from her experiences with GAP.

This public space near the bookstore allowed CBR to overcome the Liberty University’s censorship of the pro-life message.

EXPOSED: Stem Express Bought Organs from Planned Parenthood

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by Philip Hamilton

The Center of Medical Progress conducted a three year investigation on Planned Parenthood, in which it was discovered that the biotech company Stem Express, LLC had been purchasing intact organs from children aborted by Planned Parenthood medical staff. In addition, stem cells from aborted fetuses have been purchased by this company.

In 2010, California resident Cate Dyer founded the company Stem Express, LLC.  A screenshot of the company website, before it went into maintenance after the July 14, 2015 news reports exposing the ties between Planned Parenthood and Stem Express, LLC.,  shows the following organs for sale:

Screenshot of the Stem Express, LLC Website with information on the composition of fetal livers. (Breitbart Photo)

An additional screenshot of the website shows the retail value of the organs sold:

Screenshot of Fetal Liver – CD133+ Stem/Progenitor Cells for sale by Stem Express, LLC. (Breitbart Photo)

Fetal organs have been sold for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the quantity of cells within the organ itself.

Clearly, the sale of aborted fetal tissue and organs is a measure that has been taken by Planned Parenthood in order to make the abortion industry more profitable. Inhumane actions taken by Planned Parenthood, such as the sale of the organs of unborn children, are yet another reason why all taxpayer subsidies for that organization must be removed.

On July 15, 2015, a protest, consisting of pro-life leader Patrick Mahoney and about 60 other individuals, at Speaker John Boehner’s office called for an investigation into Planned Parenthood. Hours after the protest occurred, Speaker Boehner announced he will press forward with an investigation on Planned Parenthood. I recommend you encourage individuals to follow my Facebook group for updates regarding this Congressional investigation.

For more information on Stem Express, LLC, visit the Breitbart article, “The Retail Value of Fetal Organs Harvested by Planned Parenthood.”

For more information on Speaker John Boehner’s announcement see the Business Insider article, “John Boehner calls for investigation into whether Planned Parenthood is selling organs.”

Philip Hamilton is a CBR project director and new FAB contributor.

The Spirit of Independence Day

Revolution

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by Lt. Gov. Ronald L. Ramsey

Independence Day is a day to cherish. While it is fun and relaxing to grill out and shoot fireworks, it is important to remember that July 4 is not just a date on a calendar. It is a day to remember how we gained our independence. It is a day to remember who we are.

Going about our daily lives in this great country we take for granted just how this nation came to be. America did not become America by sitting back and accepting the commands of those who thought they knew better. We did not become a nation by bowing to the whims of an elite. This nation was established because free men and women had no interest in listening to a King who no longer represented them.

So they fought. Against greater numbers — and even greater odds — and won their freedom.

On this day, I often try to remove any thought of current events and think only of the great history of this republic and the story of its founding.

The news of the past few weeks makes that very difficult. It seems that every time I turn a channel or click a link, I see our culture and cherished institutions maligned and marginalized.

In Tennessee, the future is bright. I am consistently amazed at the ability of Tennesseans to care about each other and look after one another. We remain the best state in the nation to live, work and raise a family.

The nation’s future, however, looks darker.

We will not be fighting with guns or live ammunition, but there is a fight ahead. It is a fight about fundamental values. It is a fight about who we are. Like the American colonists of the 1770s, we must not sit back and let those who think they know better determine how we shall live. We need to take back the country our founders fought for 239 years ago.

After emerging from the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a citizen what kind of government this new nation had. He responded simply: “A republic, ma’am, if you can keep it.”

This day — more than any other — is a day to remember the tremendous gift we were given by our founders and reflect on what we can do to keep it.

God Bless the Great State of Tennessee and God Bless America.

Ron Ramsey is a frequent FAB contributor.  In his spare time, he is Tennessee’s Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate.