Archive for the ‘Pro Life Strategy’ Category
by Jacqueline Hawkins
Pictures work. Anyone who has used pictures knows it. But now, we have the cold, hard statistics.
In her study, A Statistical Analysis on the Effectiveness of Abortion Victim Photography in Pro-life Activism, Dr. Jacqueline C. Harvey examined the effectiveness of abortion pictures to change minds. Key findings include:
• Nearly 90% of respondents said that seeing the images increased their negative feelings toward abortion.
• “Those identifying as completely pro-life increased by nearly 30 percent following the campaign.”
• “Those identifying as pro-abortion also decreased in their degree of remaining support for abortion.”
• “Overall, there was a statistically significant gain of nearly 17 percent toward a pro-life world view.”
• “The degree of permissiveness toward abortion was statistically decreased and support for incremental pro-life gains, like gestational limits, substantially increased by 15 percent overall.”
There you have it. The survey proves a statistically significant shift to a more pro-life position when people are exposed to abortion pictures.
Jacqueline Hawkins is a CBR Project Director and a regular FAB contributor.
The following speech was delivered by CBR’s Georgia Project Director, Lincoln Brandenburg, at the 2016 March for Life in Columbus, Georgia.
What is the goal of the pro-life movement? Jason Jones, the co-producer of the pro-life film “Bella” recently wrote a dynamite article called “The Pro-Life Art of War.” In it, he asks us to:
“Imagine if same-sex marriage were prohibited nationwide, and legal protections for homosexuals consistently struck down or defeated—while sodomy laws were re-imposed and enforced, with billions of dollars in funding from Congress. How effective would you consider the gay rights movement? If the Second Amendment were reduced to a hollow, meaningless shell, and Americans’ guns—even hunting and target rifles—were all confiscated by the feds, what would we think of the gun lobby? If the U.S. abandoned Israel to its fate, and starting sending aid and arms to Hezbollah and Hamas, what would we say of the Israel lobby? Fix each of those scenarios in mind, and let’s ask the question: What should we think of the pro-life movement? The answer is tragically clear: For all the minds and hearts it has changed, it is a comprehensive political failure. American abortion laws are among the laxest on planet Earth…”
Such thinking doesn’t exactly bring out the sunshine on a cloudy day like this, does it? And yet, when you consider the success of the aforementioned movements, contrasted to where we are after 43 years of legalized child killing, one cannot deny that Jones is on to something. In terms of public policy, we really have very little to show for decades of efforts.
Our goal must be to win. We can save a life here and there, but winning is the only way that the killing stops. But we have become entirely too timid to win. Most in our movement are Christians. And it is so ingrained in us to be loving, selfless and nice that we don’t know how to stand firmly and boldly against the evil of child sacrifice. We don’t even have a category for that in our thinking. We know how to be gentle as doves, but we don’t’ know how to be wise as serpents.
I would like to submit that being Christlike – loving, sacrificial and gentle – does not exclude us from also standing boldly against evil. Failure to do so is itself is unloving.
In the introduction to the book “The Bravehearted Gospel,” Pastor Ben Davenport writes:
“The historical Jesus was not crucified because God so loved the world. No! The only begotten of the Father was fastened with iron nails to an unforgiving cross because He spoke the truth with authority and glistened with the light of Heaven and men loved darkness rather than light…
“If Jesus, who was perfect, who never sinned, and who was love incarnate, could not speak the truth without being hated, rejected, and despised, who are we to think that we can do better? Who are we to think that we have figured out a more ‘loving and ‘relevant’ way to present the truth in a more ‘seeker-friendly’ manner than Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
“We have wholeheartedly embraced the sentimental, watercolor Jesus that seems to spend most of His time holding lambs and patting children on the head with some faraway, glazed-over, dreamy look in His eye. And we tend to shy away from, or altogether ignore, that man who spoke the truth of God so boldly that conspiracies were hatched, witnesses were bribed, and politicians were entreated to bring about His painful and public execution.”
This is the side of being Christlike that we are afraid of.
Now does this mean that we shun and condemn women and men who have been involved in an abortion? Does this mean that we scream at people outside of clinics? Of course not! I too have sinned. Were it not for the grace of God, I would still be blinded to sin. From one human to another, I can assure you that God is eager to forgive and to free from bondage to sin, including abortion. “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers.” If you view such people as the enemy, maybe you need to spend some time with God looking in the mirror first.
This is not a call to become one-dimensional. We have all seen people who became so enamored in a cause that they became cynical and abrasive. They develop tunnel-vision and lose their tenderness towards others, their winsomeness and their clairvoyance. That also is not what God calls us to.
But for the majority of us, that’s not the temptation we face, is it? Our temptation is to be silent and passive. Our temptation is to be content with having a political or theological stance, but not taking sacrificial action. We’re comfortable having our bible studies with people who are like ourselves; talking about “discipleship” and “worship,” and being really, really nice people… but doing nothing about the babies being decapitated and dismembered down the street from us.
After WWII, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s best friend, Eberhart Bethge, wrote about the weakness of the Confessing Church in Germany during the war. These were not the liberalized, Nazi-pandering churches, but the Bible-believing ones that still held to orthodox theology. He observed that “it became clear where the problem lay for the Confessing Church: we were resisting by way of confession, but we were not confessing by way of resistance.”
Taking a cognitive stance is not enough. The love of God compels us to act. If we will not take a bold stand against the evil of modern child sacrifice, when WILL we finally stand up? What else would it take?
Yes, it is uncomfortable. Yes, we will get flack for it. We will be mischaracterized and called names. At my church we’ve been studying the sermon on the mount in Matthew’s gospel. In chapter 5, Jesus says: “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in Heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” That should put steel in our spines!
“A servant is not greater than his master;” like Jesus, we should not be surprised when we get flak for speaking the truth in a culture that loves lies. When my colleagues and I engage in activism, we don’t yell at people. We don’t call names. We show the truth of what abortion is and attempt to engage in respectful dialogue. People yell at us. They throw things at us. They call us names. But God uses the prophetic message to convict consciences, change minds, and to save lives and souls. And each one of those precious lives and souls is worth it.
Imagine a day when killing preborn children is a thing of the past. We are continuing to support pregnancy resource centers, such as Sound Choices and Seneca, Choices for Life), not because it’s the pro-life thing to do – but because it’s just the Christian charitable thing to do. No other reason. Imagine us getting together like this, not to march for life, but to celebrate the precious lives that are no longer in danger. Imagine standing before the God who purposefully placed you in this time and place of history, and hearing the words “well done, good and faithful servant!”
With that dream in mind, go forward courageously and boldly. Connect with others who are engaging the culture. Let’s stay humble, stay winsome. But let’s also refuse to take no for an answer. Let’s refuse to let up. Let’s stop playing nice.
Submitted by Lincoln Brandenburg
Check out my article at Townhall.com, In the Abortion Debate, the Facts Matter.
There is a place to rate the article, so please let Townhall know what you think. Look for the graphic just below the Townhall article and sound off! Leave comments, too.
The column answers the standard arguments against abortion victim photos (AVPs).
To see what I mean by the MM-50, see the graphic at upper right. As a movement, we give way too much weight to the opinions of (a) our friends, e.g., the pro-lifers who like our stuff on Facebook, and (b) our opponents, i.e., the people who hate us no matter what we do or say.
We should pay more attention to the MM-50, because they ultimately decide who wins and who loses. They don’t come to our debates, watch our videos, read our essays, or anything else. For these millions of ignorant and apathetic people, we have only 3 seconds to tell our story and prove it, before they figure out who we are and look away. Only pictures can prove our case in 3 seconds or less.
Don’t forget to rate the article! Also, please share it on social media.
It could have been billed as “The Tussle in Tulsa.”
On April 25, Gregg Cunningham of Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) debated T. Russell Hunter of Abolish Human Abortion (AHA) on the topic of pro-life incrementalism vs. pro-life immediatism. You can link to the debate here or watch below.
At the heart of Hunter’s position are the notions that (a) attempts to save some babies and moms from abortion by passing abortion restrictions actually amount to a defacto endorsement of the practice (i.e., “abortion is OK as long as it is restricted”) and (b) the babies saved in the short-term by incrementalist measures will be fewer than the babies saved in the long-term if we would all abandon incrementalism in favor of immediatism.
No matter what we may think of the issues, the debate, or the personalities involved, we praise God for Mr. Hunter and for AHA … If the rest of the “pro-life” church were doing as much, this would have been over long, long ago.
Hunter and AHA have ruffled the feathers of many in the pro-life movement by harshly criticizing their methods and motives. Of course, we at FAB must always be open to criticism; we ourselves have not failed to challenge those in our movement who reject or even suppress the only strategy that can ultimately win. As with any debate, the distinction between instructive criticism and destructive divisiveness can often be a matter of whose ox is being gored.
But for the sake of babies, moms, and families, we must always be open to exhortation and correction (2 Timothy 4:2). Sometimes we receive it, and sometimes we dole it out. In this regard, most of us have no problem embracing Acts 20:35, where God tells us it is more blessed to give than to receive.
The Tussle in Tulsa resulted from Hunter’s public challenge calling for any pro-life leader to debate him on incrementalism. Cunningham accepted. He is widely regarded as the premier pro-life strategerist on the planet. (Here at FAB, that belief is unanimous.)
The most compelling points made by Cunningham:
- Martin Luther King was an absolutist in his goal of equal rights, but an incrementalist in his approach to civil rights legislation.
- Similarly, William Wilberforce fought for the complete abolition of slavery, but he also endorsed incremental laws that would reduce suffering in the short-term.
- Even God Himself, although an absolutist when it comes to sin, was (is?) an incrementalist when giving the Mosaic Law.
- There is no conflict between reducing suffering in the short-term and abolishing injustice in the long-term. They are not mutually exclusive; we can and should do both.
As a side note, Cunningham addressed Hunter’s criticism of those of us who raise money for pro-life work. He noted (and praised) AHA’s use of abortion imagery obtained by CBR and provided to others in the movement free of charge. This is made possible only by an enormous amount of fundraising. Cunningham observed that Russell does raise funds, but “he just lets me do it for him.” Then he quickly added, “And I don’t mind that.”
One issue that arose during the Q&A was CBR’s policy regarding spiritual discussions vs. social justice discussions in the presentation of the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP). FAB will address that issue in a separate post.
In the aftermath of the debate, a number of summaries and analyses have been posted, most of them in favor of Cunningham’s performance/position. Notables:
- Scott Klusendorf: Debate Between Gregg Cunningham and T. Russell Hunter
- Jonathon Van Maren: Four observations from the Cunningham vs. Hunter debate
- Jill Stanek: Abolition of Reason: Pro-Life Apologists Deconstruct “Immediatist” Ideology as Presented in Cunningham-Hunter Debate
- Jill Stanek and Clinton Wilcox blog posts:
- Part I: Let babies die today, we can save the rest later
- Part II: There’s only one way to cut down a tree?
- Part III: Social justice history vs TR Hunter
- Part IV: Straw men and the Bible
- Part V: Sacrificing children to the idol of abolitionism
- Part VI: Christians and the legislative process
- Part VII: So fundraising is wrong?
If Stanek & Co. get their way, the “Tussle in Tulsa” will now and forevermore be known as “The Tulsa Takedown.” But there were dissenting opinions:
- Don Cooper: Former Pro-Life Leader Reviews the Cunningham/Hunter Debate on Immediatism
- AHA Blog: What about these babies?
- Abolish Human Abortion Facebook Page (scroll down)
- T. Russell Hunter Facebook Page (scroll down)
No matter what we may think of the issues, the debate, or the personalities involved, we praise God for Mr. Hunter and for AHA, because (a) they are using abortion photos to expose the cruelty of abortion and (b) they are sharing the Gospel of Jesus. If the rest of the “pro-life” church were doing as much, this would have been over long, long ago.
As to the debate and the issues, you be the judge. See it here:
Now that the vote is in, there are important lessons to be learned, not just in Tennessee, but nationally as well.
1. Until we change public opinion, Amendment 1 (along with the anticipated ensuing regulations) are about as much as we can hope to accomplish with our current strategy. An outright ban would not have passed.
Voters believe that abortion is evil enough to be regulated, but not evil enough to be banned. Americans will not tolerate government intrusion into matters of personal morality, unless there is extreme justification for that intrusion … and they don’t understand how extremely evil abortion really is.
2. In order for the public to demand protection for every human person, we have to convince millions of American voters that abortion is not just evil, but so evil that it ought to be against the law.
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), along with NRLC affiliates and others in the movement, are trying to end abortion by mobilizing public opinion as it currently exists. The results of Amendment 1 in Tennessee and initiatives in other states demonstrate that this will never work.
Unfortunately, they have nothing in place that even begins to reshape public opinion, not at the level necessary to challenge the status quo.
3. In order to reshape public opinion, we must force millions of ignorant and apathetic Americans to see the facts they are desperate to avoid.
They are apathetic because they are ignorant of the facts, and …
… they are ignorant because they are apathetic.
They don’t read our stuff. They don’t come to our talks and debates. They avoid new information.
We have to go to them, they will not come to us. Our methods must be non-consentual.
With the average American, we get maybe 3 seconds to prove that abortion is so evil that it ought to be against the law.
This is the same problem faced by Wilberforce, Clarkson, King, Hine, and other reformers who came before. They all solved the problem the same way … by using horrifying pictures to engage citizens who were desperate to avoid the truth … after years of trying what didn’t work.
4. We have a long way to go. Let’s get started.
There are a number of pro-lifers out there, including friends of mine, who believe that because abortion is still legal, then incrementalist strategies have not worked and therefore should be abandoned.
If we accept that line of thinking, then we would have to conclude that everything we have been doing hasn’t made abortion illegal, so all of it should be abandoned. This could include (1) showing pictures of abortion victims, because people have been showing pictures for 40 years, (2) praying, because people have been praying for 40 years, and (3) … you get the idea.
Another major objection to incrementalist measures is that they are immoral because they save some but not all. But we know that the abolitionists in England (Wilberforce et al) did not achieve their ultimate goal all at once. They were forced to accept small increments of change, but those small steps ultimately led to the abolition of slavery.
We are often challenged by pro-lifers who resist our efforts to expose abortion. We recently met with a group of students who offered a series of objections to our work. Here are their objections and our answers.
Objection: We will be disliked, hated, criticized, etc.
Response: MLK, Lewis Hine, William Wilberforce, and Thomas Clarkson were all disliked, hated, criticized, etc. … and more. If we are serious about ending abortion, we need to be as strong as they were. In Dr. King’s Letter From a Birmingham Jail, he was very clear that reformers must expose evil, in spite of the inevitable negative reaction from those who support the status quo. Please take a few minutes and read his letter.
Objection: There is nothing but anecdotal evidence to say that pictures work.
Response: We have ample independent evidence to prove pictures work:
- We have the verdict of history that says pictures always work to educate, change public opinion, and ultimately public policy.
- We also have the history that reformers who don’t use pictures never succeed.
- At Middle Tennessee State, 15% of passersby said the GAP display changed their minds. That was in addition to the sizeable percentage (40-50%) who said the display made them even more sure of their pro-life beliefs.
- Typically, about 10% (range: 5-15%) of the respondents to our informal polls tell us that the GAP display changed their minds.
- At the U of Louisville, 65% of an independent group of students said the display was effective at changing minds. That included 29% who said GAP changed their own minds.
- Here is another statistic that is not anecdotal. At 100% of the venues at which we have displayed GAP, multiple people have told us that our pictures changed their minds. Others changed their minds but didn’t tell us until later. Here are just a few examples:
- The following comments came from just one philosophy class at the U of Louisville:
- Student B: I had always believed in choice … but the pictures were too convincing. I’m not sure why the relationship between abortion and genocide has never crossed my mind, but the display was surprisingly convincing. … Abortion is a form of murder and genocide.
- Student I: … it truly changed my perspective on abortion …
- Student L: I had only a few cheap glances over at [the pictures], but what I did see I wish I would have not. … [The photos] made me think about this and I think that the pictures woke me up … and gave me a reality check. … The pictures said enough for me.
- Student O: The first picture stuck in my head and I just stared at it in total shock. It was a picture of a tiny little embryo/baby, its head the size of a dime, lying dead in blood with all its organs visible … They are murdered because of the selfishness of others.
- Student P: I think these photos were used to prove the point that abortion is still murder and in mass numbers, should be compared to genocide. I didn’t think of abortion in this way until viewing the exhibit.
- Student A: It definitely make everybody not just stop and look, but to really think about the message … It worked!
- Student J: They made the presentation so that you didn’t want to look but you couldn’t help but look.
- Student Q: It was a clear illustration of how a well-planned … [the] project could reach hundreds of people in a very short span of time.
Objection: This approach is not compassionate to post-abortive women.
Response: Many post-abortive women have told us to please show the pictures so that others won’t make the same mistake they made. One such woman is Dr. Alveda King, who had 2 abortions. Others have said that only by seeing abortion pictures were they able to come out of denial, confess, repent and heal. One such woman is on this video. We always try to bring a team of post-abortive women who can reach out to women on campus who wish to discuss their experiences. Pictures don’t hurt women; abortion hurts women.
No reformers have ever stopped an injustice by covering it up. Reformers like Dr. King, William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson, Lewis Hine, and others have always used horrifying images to educate the public and create a forum in which the purveyors of injustice were forced to defend the indefensible. The purveyors of injustice had never had to do that before. With abortion pictures, we create a forum in which abortion apologists are forced to defend the practice of decapitating and dismembering little human beings. They can’t do it. But only the display of abortion images forces them to try and thus exposes the frivolity of their arguments.
If we don’t expose injustice, history is clear that the killing will never end. There is nothing our opponents fear more than pictures.
I remember the first time I heard CBR’s Gregg Cunningham talk about displaying abortion victim images on campus. I thought, “You gotta be nuts! You want me to stand where? And hold up what? There ain’t no way!”
But I kept an open mind.
Now, more and more, people are beginning to understand that we can never end abortion without convincing millions of ignorant and apathetic Americans that abortion is so evil, it ought to be against the law. It sounds like daunting task, and it is, but it’s the same problem faced by Wilberforce, Clarkson, King, Harris, Hine, and others.
They all overcame this problem the same way. They started out giving speeches that didn’t work, but ended up using graphic victim images to break through denial and apathy.
Here is a recent column entitled Abortion Holocaust: Make Them Watch, in which Bill Muehlenberg takes us back to 1945, when the American military forced German citizens to actually see the death camps.
Not only did they have to tour the camps, but often they had to bury rotting corpses and/or exhume mass graves. The sights and the stench were certainly powerful wake-up calls to many who claimed ignorance or denied any responsibility.
You can see an actual newsreel on one of these forced visits here.
Muehlenberg says, in the same way, we should force American citizens to see what is going on in the abortion industry:
Our abortion mills are flowing with the blood of murdered babies. But people are claiming ignorance. Perhaps we should force everyone in favor of such baby killing to tour an abortion mill, and look at what happens, and handle the remains of a burned or dismembered baby.
Had German citizens seen what things were really like before 1945, maybe many would have risen up against the Nazis. If people today could see how the victims of the abortionists are treated, they too just might rise up and make a stand.
What will it take to end this genocide?
Maybe it will take pro-lifers willing to leave their comfort zones. We can’t force people to tour the abortion mills, but we can use pictures to simply show people the truth. That’s what it will take to end this genocide.
by Mick Hunt
“Abortion bias seeps into news.”
Well, we older pro-lifers have known this a long time. In fact, a stunning revelation of the universal modern phenomena written by a staff writer appeared with this exact title in the LA Times in 1990, 24 years ago. One reason for the bias, the author says, is because as many as 90% of reporters and editors “favor abortion rights.”
… we bypass the bias and censorship of the news media and go directly to people, which is to say, it is media, carrying the message to readers, listeners, and viewers.
Since Roe v. Wade and before, the American populace has been subjected to daily distortion, misinformation, and news blackouts about abortion and the pro-life movement. No wonder we encounter so much inertia and resistance to protecting pre-natal children.
If anything, what once was bias has transformed into abortion advocacy.
When the old Soviet Union controlled all the open media within its empire, it still could not suppress the truth. Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty broadcast news into communist controlled territories. From within, dissidents secretly typed, reproduced on mimeograph machines, and hand-distributed censored publications, including fiction, poetry, and unofficial news accounts, which all was called samizdat.
The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) and its Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) are like Radio Liberty and samizdat. With GAP, we bypass the bias and censorship of the news media and go directly to people, which is to say, it is media, carrying the message to readers, listeners, and viewers.
And not only does GAP communicate and generate discussion at the display and between people around campus, it provokes multiple news stories and commentary.
Soviet dissident and Nobel Prize winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn once wrote that even distorted, deceptive propaganda can be informative once you have learned to read between the lines, so keep this in mind as you look into the media reports and published comments. And with some material, such as this revealing Facebook Event page from the group that attempted to censor GAP at NC State University last spring (as with C.S. Lewis’s book The Screwtape Letters), you have to reverse the values and meanings portrayed.
This summer my son spent ten days in Prague, Czech Republic. He said a dominant feature of the city skyline was the imposing Žižkov television tower, standing at seven hundred and nine feet tall, a remnant of the Soviet Union’s intention to block television broadcasts from free Germany and the West.
The story is always the same.
With the help of supporters (click here to help), CBR will continue to broadcast the uncensored truth about the oppression of abortion directly to the many thousands of students, staff, and faculty on our nation’s university campuses and to people on our public highways and byways. We will go back again and again. And then we pray truth and courage together will topple the abortion empire.
Mick Hunt (Meredith Eugene Hunt) is a FAB contributor. He has helped organize more than 50 Genocide Awareness Projects (GAPs) all over the southeast and elsewhere.
When you suit up for pro-life work, what would you rather do, feel good or make an impact?
Unfortunately, many of us have adopted a form of “strategic relativism,” in which any strategy or tactic used to fight abortion is just as good as any other. People say things like, “You fight abortion your way and I’ll fight it my way.”
The inevitable result is that many of us (perhaps most) are engaged in activities that aren’t particularly effective at winning hearts, changing minds, or saving lives, nearly as much as they are good at making pro-lifers feel good about doing them.
While it’s true that our movement has multiple components, just as the body has many parts (I Corinthians 12:12-31), this principle does not mean all strategies/tactics are equally valuable or effective. In business, construction, child rearing, war, and every other field of human endeavor, there are some methods that simply work better than others. We would be mad to choose whatever feels good, when experience and logic demand we employ tactics that actually work better.
Don’t be a strategic relativist! The babies deserve your best.
But that’s not all. The people who give time and treasure to your work also deserve your best. They give sacrificially. Shouldn’t they count on you to invest wisely?
And finally, think of yourself. If you are investing yourself in this work, don’t you want to maximize your own personal return on investment? Let’s put it this way: if you had a 401K, would you settle for a 2% annual return when another investment was paying a guaranteed 25%?
Abortion pictures are an indispensable tactic because they force large numbers of people (literally, everyone in sight) to learn and reflect on the two most important facts: (1) the preborn child is a living human being, and (2) abortion is an act of violence that destroys a living baby. Abortion pictures prevent honest people from denying these facts.
Pro-lifers love to talk about creating dialogue. The record is clear: when you show thousands of passersby exactly what abortion is and does, you create more dialogue (and more informed dialogue) than anything else you can do.
Note: FAB is indebted to CBR Maryland for inspiring and contributing to this article. The good folks at CBR Maryland are definitely making an impact!
History is clear on this point: injustice can be defeated only by reformers who confront evil and accept persecution from angry defenders of the status quo. People who exploit others are enraged when their cruel tyranny is threatened. When William Wilberforce used pictures to win the debate over slavery, he was attacked in the newspapers, physically assaulted, and even threatened with death. But he showed the pictures anyway.
Conflict is not only an indicator that the status quo is threatened; it is also a facilitator of change. It focuses public attention in ways nothing else will. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “I am not afraid of the word ‘tension.’ I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.” This tension created a public forum in which racists were forced to defend segregation. They could not do it, so the reformers won.
Very interesting article by Sarah Terzo summarizing reporters’ comments after actually seeing abortion. Reading her piece reminded of an article written by Dr. Richard Selzer years ago, entitled What I Saw at the Abortion. He talked about the effect of actually seeing an abortion:
And it has happened that you cannot reason with me now. For what can language do against the truth of what I saw?
More about that in a minute. First, here are some of the best quotes from Ms. Terzo’s piece:
I felt a profound and unmistakable kinship with the foot and hand in the tray, a kinship so strong it was like the rolling of the sea under my feet. (Harper’s Magazine author Verlyn Klinkenborg)
But the nurses, medical assistants, and doctors who worked inside procedure rooms … knew that an eleven-week-old POC harbored tiny arms and legs and feet with toes. (author Sue Hertz, who spent a year observing abortions a busy abortion clinic) [FAB: POC = products of conception]
I have seen this before. The face of a Russian soldier, lying on a frozen snow covered hill, stiff with death and cold. … A death factory is the same anywhere, and the agony of early death is the same anywhere. (author Magda Denes)
Having seen what I saw, I cannot for a moment abide the disingenuousness of those who argue that a fetus is not human, or those who convince themselves that abortion is not killing. (Newsday reporter B.D. Colen, who witnessed a 2nd-trimester D&E abortion)
As I left the operating room, I shook my head in an attempt to get the horrible vision out of my head. I couldn’t. It was there; it would always be there: a little hand…a little rib cage. (former medical student)
Read the entire article here.
In 1976, Dr. Richard Selzer was a surgeon at Yale University. In January of that year, he authored an essay entitled “What I Saw at the Abortion,” which appeared in, of all places, Esquire Magazine. In this piece, he described witnessing a prostaglandin-injection abortion performed at 24 weeks gestation. Referring to the spirited fight put up by the preborn child in the defense of his own life, Selzer concluded:
Whatever else is said in abortion’s defense, the vision of that other defense will not vanish from my eyes. … And it has happened that you cannot reason with me now. For what can language do against the truth of what I saw?
Indeed, what can lying words and sophistry do against undeniable truth?
Earlier this year, Simcha Fisher posted her essay entitled Eight Reasons Not to Use Graphic Abortion Images at the March for Life at the National Catholic Register Online. Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) Executive Director Gregg Cunningham, perhaps the world’s premier pro-life strategist, responds.
Eight Reasons or No Reason to Put Away Abortion Photos?
by Gregg Cunningham
In a National Catholic Register online essay titled “Eight Reasons Not to Use Graphic Abortion Images at the March for Life,” Simcha Fisher concedes that “Americans are tragically ignorant about what abortion really is …” but then lurches to the non sequitur that abortion photos should never be shown in public, and then only “as a last resort” in private. The mainstream pro-life movement has covered up the horror of abortion for forty years, and now wonders why the public is still not horrified by abortion. The result has been a failure to outlaw abortion — anywhere, and at any point in pregnancy — and fifty million dead babies!
Had Martin Luther King displayed lynching photos only in “private,” and only “as a last resort,” black people would still be drinking from segregated water fountains. Dr. King instead commissioned the making of sickening photos and then urged their widespread publication and broadcast. The result was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The history of social reform is the history of horrifying pictures: Pictures of slaves being tortured to death; pictures of Native American women and children massacred by the U.S. Calvary; pictures of African Americans beaten to their knees for trying to register to vote; pictures of little children abused in mines and factories. These pictures traumatized children just like those Ms. Fisher seeks to shelter at the March For Life. But the imagery also convinced the country that the victims were real people, fully entitled to rights of personhood. It additionally persuaded the electorate that the injustices depicted therein were sufficiently egregious to warrant criminalization.
Many of the children who attend the March are genuinely devout and authentically pro-life, but others are only nominally Catholic if Catholic at all. Some are, or soon will become, sexually active. Some are, or soon will become, pregnant. More than a few will abort. Some of them, however, will change their minds because we showed them the indescribable horror of abortion. We have testimonies to prove this.
Ms. Fisher says we should hide the horror of abortion because post-abortive women attend the March. CDC reports that nearly half of all abortions are performed on post-abortive women. Post-abortive women are, therefore, among the women most at risk of aborting. They are, consequently, the women who most need to see the terrible truth, lest they kill again. Many post-abortive women (and men) have told us they now realize that visualizing what they had done forced them to stop trying to rationalize it. Only then were they able to confess and repent, so they could be forgiven and healed.
Ephesians 5:11 commands us to “expose the deeds of darkness,” not to show them only privately nor only as a last resort. Responsibility for the terrible longevity of history’s most horrific slaughter does not rest entirely upon our adversaries. We will be judged for our timidity, perhaps as harshly as they will be judged for their barbarity – by history and by Providence.
Every now and then, we hear the claim that some woman saw our abortion pictures and the resulting grief caused her to take her own life.
We are skeptical of this claim, to say the least. First of all, the claimant never has first-hand knowledge of the alleged suicide; the alleged victim is somebody’s friend’s roommate’s sister’s cousin. Furthermore, we never read about the alleged suicide in the local paper or campus paper.
We have been using abortion imagery continually for twenty-two years. The pro-aborts universally hate and fear us as the source of this tactic. They would destroy us if they could. If there were the slightest credible evidence of even one suicide whose proximate cause could be linked to our imagery, wouldn’t they have come forth with specific allegations to that effect? But they never have, because there has never been such an incident. And even if there were, we will have done all in our power to offer post-abortion women free counseling support and spiritual healing. We show only compassion for post-abortive women, consistently describing them as abortion’s second victim.
The Larger Context
But of course we can’t dismiss the possibility that a post-abortive woman might take her own life. It is possible. But shouldn’t every action be evaluated within the largest possible context?
If we cover up the truth, 1.2 million human beings will be killed, this year and every year from now on.
Women who have aborted are also at greater risk to abort again (source). They are, consequently, the women who most need to see the terrible truth, lest they kill again. Many post-abortive women (and men) have told us they now realize that visualizing what they had done forced them to stop trying to rationalize it. Only then were they able to confess and repent; only then could they be forgiven and healed. Healed people don’t commit suicide; hurting people do.
Pro-life parental involvement laws reduce teen suicide rates (source). Exposing the truth about abortion helps pass this kind of protective legislation.
If a post-abortive woman takes her own life … and we know that too many do … who is at fault?
- Is it the abortion industry, who invaded her body and butchered her child?
- Was it her college professor, who told her that her preborn child was just a blob of tissue?
- Was it her pastor, who knew the truth but covered it up by never showing her pictures of abortion so she would know the truth as well?
- Was it her boyfriend, who threatened her with abandonment if she would not abort their child?
- Was it her parents, who pressured her to abort because they did not want to help raise a grandchild and/or who wanted to avoid embarrassment?
- Was it the political system, which protected the abortion industry from any kind of accountability, so that they could maximize profit at the expense of women and children?
- Was it the education system, which allied itself with Planned Parenthood to tell her that sex on the first date was a good thing if she liked the guy and that having many partners throughout her life was normal?
- Was it the entertainment industry, who taught her boyfriend to believe that he is entitled to sex without responsibility?
- Or was it the pro-lifer who didn’t do enough to warn her of the consequences of abortion, before it was too late?
On April 4, 1945, elements of the United States Army’s 89th Infantry Division and the 4th Armored Division captured the Ohrdruf concentration camp outside the town of Gotha in south central Germany. Although the Americans didn’t know it at the time, Ohrdruf was one of several sub-camps serving the Buchenwald extermination camp, which was close to the city of Weimar several miles north of Gotha. Ohrdruf was a holding facility for over 11,000 prisoners on their way to the gas chambers and crematoria at Buchenwald. A few days before the Americans arrived to liberate Ohrdruf, the SS guards had assembled all of the inmates who could walk and marched them off to Buchenwald. They left in the sub-camp more than a thousand bodies of prisoners who had died of bullet wounds, starvation, abuse, and disease. The scene was an indescribable horror even to the combat-hardened troops who captured the camp. Bodies were piled throughout the camp. There was evidence everywhere of systematic butchery. Many of the mounds of dead bodies were still smoldering from failed attempts by the departing SS guards to burn them. T he stench was horrible.
… During the camp inspections with his top commanders Eisenhower said that the atrocities were “beyond the American mind to comprehend.” He ordered that every citizen of the town of Gotha personally tour the camp and, after having done so, the mayor and his wife went home and hanged themselves.
Was General Eisenhower responsible for these twin suicides? Should he have covered up the Holocaust to protect the emotional wellbeing of those who were complicit in causing or permitting these crimes against humanity? Could the Holocaust ever be understood and future genocide averted if the evidence of past genocide is whitewashed and suppressed?
The pro-aborts are desperate to stop the display of our images and they will use every lie at their disposal to intimidate us into hiding the truth. Don’t let them get away with it … ever.