Eight reasons or no reason to put away abortion photos?

We convert more students at the March for Life than at any other event.

We convert more students at the March for Life than at any other event.

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.

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