Eight reasons to use graphic images
If Simcha Fisher shows up today for the March for Life in DC, she’ll be sorely disappointed when she passes E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse on Constitution Avenue. That’s where we will be with our billboard-sized photos of aborted babies. In her blog at the National Catholic Register, Ms. Fisher advanced “Eight Reasons Not to Use Graphic Abortion Images at the March for Life.” We beg to differ. Read her blog here. Below, FAB resonds to each of her assertions.
There will be children at the march. First of all, children as young as nine do become pregnant and they do get abortions (we have press clippings to prove it). In America, a school nurse can take a pregnant child out of class and to a judge who can certify that this little girl is sufficiently mature to make an abortion decision behind her parents’ backs. It happens all the time.
Even parents who don’t allow their children to watch violence on television often take them to the grocery store, where check-out lines are flanked with magazine covers depicting dead and dying victims of violence, terrorism, natural disasters, etc., some of them as gruesome as anything we use. They have been seen by countless children whose clueless parents never even noticed.
We have had countless women tell us that nothing less shocking than our abortion photos would have sufficed to dissuade them from killing their children. So we have to ask ourselves, “Which is worse, children being upset by a picture of abortion or other children being killed by the act of abortion?”
When Christians complain, we ask “Would Jesus use bloody pictures to show people the result of sin?” Jesus controlled every aspect of his capture, trial, and execution. He arranged to have Himself beaten so badly, He didn’t even look human (Isaiah 52:14). His beard was torn off of his face (Isaiah 50:6). In this condition, He walked through the most crowed part of Jerusalem on the most crowded day of the year. His bloody body horrified throngs of Passover pilgrims, including large numbers of young children.
He made this disturbing spectacle as public as possible, because he wanted to disturb us with the gravity of our sin (but also bless us with the grace of His forgiveness), despite the fact that many children would be traumatized in the process. Did He get this wrong?
There will be post-abortive women at the March. If there are post-abortive women all around us, there are also pre-abortive women around us. And with as many high-school students as come to the March for Life by the busload, you can bet there are pre-abortive women (and men) in the crowd. The most compassionate thing we can do for pre-abortive women (and men) is to show them the truth so that abortion is no longer a temptation.
Furthermore, the history of social reform demonstrates that we can never end abortion by covering it up. So we have to ask ourselves, “Which is worse, women feeling sorrow over past abortions, or the killing never ends?”
Mothers will be there. Yes, mothers will be at the March for Life with their children. We will be on the left-hand side of the parade route. There is ample opportunity for parents to redirect their children’s attention away from the display. Parents do it all the time.
Other parents don’t try to hide uncomfortable truth from their children. They use our pictures as a teaching moment, so that their children will know the truth and will not be entrapped by the twin evils of complicity and complacency.
Those are real babies. At the Holocaust museum and in any book on the Holocaust, you will see pictures of dead people, and those people are very real. Their bodies are stacked up like chord wood. Victims of injustice want their plight to be known, and they want injustice to end. If it is wrong to show pictures of dead victims at the March for Life, it is equally wrong to show pictures of dead victims at the Holocaust Museum.
Public image matters, but changing minds matters even more. We don’t care what people think about us; we care about what they think about abortion. Civil rights activists actually wrote Dr. Martin Luther King a letter asking him not to come to Birmingham. They thought he might undo all the great progress they had made. They thought his methods were too confrontational. Maybe they thought his public image was bad for the civil rights movement.
But he went to Birmingham anyway. He got thrown in jail, and he used his time in jail to write his famous Letter From a Birmingham Jail, perhaps the most important document to emerge out of the Civil Rights Era. He wrote about the necessity to make people uncomfortable with the status quo. He said that civil rights moderates were more dangerous to the cause of civil rights than the Ku Klux Klan.
Abortion pictures do not push women into abortion. We have been told by many, many women that they had decided to abort their babies, but seeing our pictures changed their minds. We have never heard of any woman who said she had decided not to abort, but seeing our pictures caused her to change her mind and change her mind.
Pictures do not desensitize pro-lifers to the extent that they leave the movement. Yes, of course we who see the pictures every day don’t react with the same emotion as we used to. I’m sure that surgeons and emergency room doctors don’t react to blood with the same emotion that they felt when they first entered medical school. But so what? Does that make them less effective? Do they leave the profession? Are they less committed to saving lives? Does it make them think that death is not such a big deal?
What people see changes their minds. To say that pictures don’t force unwilling people to change their minds is simply not supportable by the facts. When Americans saw pictures of Black men and women being attacked with dogs and water cannons, certainly not all of them changed there minds about racial injustice. But enough did change their minds to bring about the needed reforms. When people see abortion photos, certainly not all of them change their minds. But many do. Ms. Fisher’s argument is not with us; her argument is with these — women who didn’t abort, people whose minds were changed, people who became more motivated to stand against abortion — and many others who have said that abortion pictures changed their minds.
Last resort? If people need to see the truth, as Ms. Fisher says, then why should we limit their exposure to once or twice per lifetime? Why? Did they broadcast video and publish photos of racial injustice only once or twice?
Finally, Ms. Fisher asserts that we should show abortion pictures only as a last resort. With more than 50 million dead in this country over 40 years, we have to ask, “If not now, then when?” I don’t know about Ms. Fisher, but if I am ever kidnapped and my captors are planning my execution, I hope that those who know of my plight won’t wait until I am dead before they decide it’s OK to use every tool in their toolbox to rescue me from death and save my life.
This entry was posted on Friday, January 25th, 2013 at 7:30 am and is filed under Pro Life Strategy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.