When does showing abortion pictures become an “assault”?

John Stonestreet

John Stonestreet

Recently, John Stonestreet made some great points in his commentary A Time To Shock? over at BreakPoint.  He says that he used to be against the use of graphic abortion images, but now has “mostly” changed his mind.  He made several good points that will be familiar to most FAB readers.

However, we’d like to see him change his mind all the way.  We were confused as to what displays Mr. Stonestreet endorses and what displays he believes are off-limits.

His subtitle says: “Using Images of Abortion in the Public Square.”  But then he says: “Now let me be clear: I am completely against blindsiding people with images of aborted babies. It’s not only unfair; it can be a visual form of assault.”  How can we expose abortion in the public square without being accused of blindsiding or assaulting people who are in the public square and don’t want to see the photos?  Is it too much to ask them to look the other way?

He writes favorably about reformers who absolutely placed horrifying images into the paths of people who did not consent to see them (e.g., publishing the photo of Emmett Till in a newspaper, taking unsuspecting men and women into the odor cloud of a slave ship, publishing the photo of the Vietnamese girl on TV and in magazines).  In our case, the newspapers and TV are covering up the truth of the abortion injustice, so is it inappropriate for us to go to the public directly?

Are abortion photos off-limits except for academic settings, sermons in church, and speeches (generally attended only by people who are already pro-life)?  How can we show our fellow citizens the facts if they don’t attend our lectures or worship at our few-dozen churches where they will see the truth?

He cites Eric Metaxas saying we should show our fellow citizens the facts, but we should do so in “appropriate ways at appropriate times.”  What does that mean?  What is an inappropriate method or time to show our fellow citizens the truth?

When does showing abortion pictures become an assault?

Virginia Tech student ran away from the Truth and destroyed her child. Why?

Debbie Picarello at Virginia Tech

Debbie Picarello set up a table for Deeper Still, a post-abortion counseling ministry, at Virginia Tech. She is able to reach many people who will not walk over to the GAP display itself.

She was a student at Virginia Tech.  She was 23, post-abortive, divorced, and has a toddler and a new boyfriend.  She joined the protest against GAP.  She has lived hard and experienced a lot.

She came from a Christian background and was pro-life until she aborted her first child and walked away from the faith.  She does not regret her abortion and is thankful she had it.  She wouldn’t look at the pictures while we talked.

After 45 minutes she finally said “Ok, I now get what you are saying about a woman’s autonomous body and the baby’s autonomous body.  They don’t share the same DNA and the baby is not a part of her body.  I am really struggling now.”  We gave her some literature about prenatal development.  She thanked us and said, “I am now interested in reading about this.”

Here is the question that keeps us awake at night …

What if her pro-life pastor had understood/cared enough about her salvation and her baby to show her the truth about abortion?

Why didn’t he show her an abortion video (e.g., Choice Blues) before she shed innocent blood and ran away from Jesus.

“Almost did that to my son … Thank you” and more at Virginia Tech

Many discussions going on at once

Hearts and minds were changing all around the GAP display at Virginia Tech. Seeds were planted for future conversions.

Here are a few stories from GAP at Virginia Tech.

Almost did that to my son.  A 40+ year old housekeeping staff was crying as she stared at the 22-week abortion picture.  When asked if she was OK, she replied “I almost did that to my now 27-year old son.  Thank you for being here.   I will take a brochure back to women I work with.”

Pro-choice support for GAP.  Even pro-choice students sometimes agree that women can have real choice only if they are fully informed.  One pro-choice female student said, “Talking to you has helped me realize that pro-lifers are not what I thought they were.  I was so angry because my roommate was angry about this display and so I had to come out to see for myself.  I am so glad I talked with you.  You are much friendlier than your pictures.  Education on this topic is so important and even though I am still pro-choice, I want women to have all the information available to them.”

Another pro-choice endorsement.  A female student: “I know why you do this; I just don’t like it.”

Too big, too horrific to ignore.  The purpose of GAP is to force people to think about abortion when they would rather think about anything else.  Our opponents admit that GAP works.  One pro-abortion student told us, “Because of social networking across campuses, this message has not only reached Virginia Tech, but has gone far beyond.  Facebook is abuzz about abortion and people on this campus plus many others are talking about abortion now.”

Bad emotions?  A male student commented about the sadness of giving up a child for adoption.  We told him that parents might very well feel sad to give up a child, but that is a much better emotion than the sadness and memory of killing their own child.

Unpreaching the Gospel: What we do when we are silent on abortion



Awesome piece by Rolley Haggard at BreakPoint.  Excerpts:

Moral/spiritual matters are preeminently the domain of the church.  Political overtones notwithstanding, abortion is arguably the moral/spiritual issue of our day.  If we don’t speak to it, who will?
As heaven’s ambassadors, therefore, it is not only appropriate but obligatory that ministers address abortion.  Whatever political overtones may attach to preaching against the sin of abortion, silence is not an option for the church—unless the plan is just to quit preaching against sin altogether.  (emphasis added)
In answer to this we might well ask, “seekers of what?”  Seekers of a pleasant but shallow church experience, or seekers of the living Christ?  Seekers of a mere “form of godliness,” or seekers of “religion that is pure and undefiled”?

Entire article here.  Show it to your pastor.

One thing we wish Mr. Haggard had added to his piece, and that is the need for showing abortion photos or videos (e.g., Choice Blues) to people in the church.  Christians deserve to know the truth about abortion — what it is, what it does, and what God expects us to do about it.  Most Christians who have never seen abortion don’t understand how evil it really is.  Nor do they understand their own responsibility to “hold back those staggering toward slaughter (Proverbs 24:11-12).”

Before visiting your pastor, you should read this: Why This? Why Here?.  This brochure is designed to answer many questions that Christians leaders (including, perhaps, your pro-life pastor) are confused about.  You might also watch a video of how abortion imagery can be appropriately incorporated into a worship service at a large mega-church (with children removed, warning of content given, etc.).

Update: 27 May 2014, 4:45 pm

Got this comment from Roland Haggard:

Thanks, Fletcher, I totally agree we need to show abortion pix to folks in church, but you’re right I didn’t manage to fit it into the above article. I did, however, include it in these two:

Blessings, my friend

Wanted vs. unwanted at George Mason University

Anna and woman in wheelchair at George Mason University.

GMU SFL President Anna Maher explains that handicapped people are sometimes killed because they are unworthy of life and unwanted (e.g., useless eaters).

I love this photo of Students for Life President Anna Maher on her knees in conversation with Aviva, a handicapped student at George Mason University.

Aviva (not her real name) started out by saying that a woman should always have the choice to abort.  As Anna worked through the topics of personhood, Aviva began to understand that a human fetus is simply a human child, that babies are being aborted only because they were unwanted.  Planned parenthood says “every child a wanted child,” but we know what happens to the unwanted ones.  Anna was able to remind her that handicapped people are sometimes killed because they are considered unworthy of life and unwanted (e.g., useless eaters).

She struggled with the fact that pregnancy changes a woman’s body.   She was concerned that some women are not able to handle such changes, or they are afraid of such major changes during and after pregnancy.  Anna encouraged her to see the body image issues in the context of the larger picture, that negative attitudes towards pregnant bodies are a reflection of a culture that does not embrace Life, but rather demeans pregnancy and labels it is a weakness (as opposed something that women just go through).

As they spoke, Aviva’s heart began to soften to the Truth.  They talked for almost an hour.  Occasionally, Anna would stand up, because her knees were hurting from kneeling on the concrete.  A little voice kept telling her, “Get back down on your knees.”  So she did.  Anna says it was definitely the Holy Spirit trying to teach her something.


Pro-aborts prove our point at George Mason University

We have never seen a more striking confirmation of our comparison of abortion to other forms of genocide.  The top image (below) was taken at George Mason University.

Dehumanization at George Mason University

By comparing an abortion victim (who possesses arms and legs and fingers and toes, just like the rest of us) to an “ejaculation,” they are using the same kind of dehumanizing language that was employed by Nazis, Hutus, slave-holders, and many others.

CBR “moron” explains prenatal development at George Mason University

CBR Virginia Project Director Ruby Nicdao speaks with a student at George Mason University

CBR Virginia Project Director Ruby Nicdao speaks with a student at George Mason University.

[This story was submitted by CBR Virginia Project Director Ruby Nicdao.]

As is usual for the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP), some were hostile at George Mason University (GMU).  One called me a“moron” after I gave her one of our GAP brochures (How Can You Compare Abortion to Genocide).

I asked, “How am I a moron?”  She said she would come back later and tell me why.  A couple of hours later, she returned with a 2-page list of expenses necessary to raise a child and a number of photos of miscarried babies.  None of it addressed the question of whether it is OK to decapitate and dismember little human beings.  Nor the question of when, during a child’s development, it becomes no longer OK to kill that child.  Nor the question of what criterion should decide who can be killed and who must be protected.

Our discussion centered like most discussions I have with the students:  “Is the fetus in the womb human?  And if so, it is wrong to kill it?”

Hopefully, I planted enough seeds for her to finally see the light!  I also gave her the When Does Human Life Begin? handout, which provides references from medical textbooks, medical professionals, abortion advocates, and even abortionists themselves, all admitting life begins at fertilization.  For example, Dr. Arthur Morris, Jr. was an abortionist who said, “Life begins with fertilization and abortion is legalized destruction of life.” (Asheville Citizen-Times, April 4, 1976.)

Prenatal Development - 475


Old Man Winter pays GAP a visit at George Mason University

Eric and Johanna at GMU GAP

Eric Holloway of Alexandria, VA (in sports-coat), a local 40 Days for Life coordinator, took time off work to help rescue babies and their moms (and dads). Johanna Young, Silent No More advocate and GMU Students for Life officer, stands in the background with a sign that says “I regret my abortion.”

GAP was such a draw at George Mason University (GAP), even Old Man Winter came out to see it!  He brought freezing temperatures, rain, snow, and winds gusting at more than 20 mph.  Yuck.  He made it hard to stand outside for very long, but we were determined to expose abortion in all its grisly reality.

Assisted by a dozen local volunteers, we endured miserable weather for three straight days (March 24- 26), too thrilled to be striking a blow on behalf of the preborn to worry about physical discomfort.  (OK, the Day 1 photo at right doesn’t look so bad, but it was very cold.  And it got much colder, rainier, snowier, and windier over the next 2 days.)

As always happens when GAP comes to town, the campus was saturated with literature, and conversations on the ethics of abortion could be heard continuously in the area surrounding the display and in classrooms all over.  CBR’s truth truck circled the campus, ensuring that no student could miss the message.

GAP prompts thought like nothing else can.  People who otherwise never think about abortion are forced to confront the issue and try to reason out what they think of decapitating and dismembering little human beings.  With the image of abortion’s helpless victims staring them right in the face, it is hard to argue for the primacy of “choice”.  Of course, this doesn’t stop many from trying.

About 10 or so pro-abortion protesters showed up with their own signs to “refute” the logic of the GAP display.  Their presence always works to our advantage.  Where else do we get the chance to engage hard-core pro-aborts, on our terms, for a protracted period of time?  The enthusiasm of many young abortion supporters tends to wane under continuous exposure to powerful pro-life arguments.

And no argument is more powerful than the picture of a little human being who has been decapitated and dismembered.

[Story submitted by Jonathan Darnel of CBR Maryland.]

Abortion photos and GAP work? Students have their say!

Julie Thomas draws a crowd at the University of North Carolina

Julie Thomas draws a crowd at the University of North Carolina. She wears a shirt that says, “I regret my abortion. Ask me about it.”

Is GAP effective?  We hear it all the time.  Of course we can answer that question and we have.  But now let student pro-life leaders have their say:

“The Genocide Awareness Project has, once again, changed hearts and minds [and] proven its transformative power on our campus.”  (Anna Maher, Students for Life, George Mason University)

“The imprint GAP left on our campus had a magnitude of which I had never witnessed before.”  (Zach Hoopes, Advocates for Life, Virginia Tech)

“[GAP is more effective] than anything our student group has done in the past.”  (Teresa Pincus, Students for Life, North Carolina State)

“The large-scale influence on our campus was immeasurable.  We are constantly doing pro-life projects on our campus, but nothing as grand as GAP.  We reached more students in two days that we could have reached by tabling in the student center every day for two semesters.”  (Mirna Awrow, Students for Life, Oakland University)

“The impact that GAP had on the MSU campus will surely be felt for many years to come.”  (Vinny Szczerowski, Students for Life, Michigan State University)

“Bring the GAP display to your campus and make a big impact.” (Julie and Emily Ascik, Carolina Students for Life, U of North Carolina)

“We fully endorse GAP and we will continue to show graphic images in the future.” (Matthew Ramsey, Students for Life, University at Buffalo)

What more can I say, in addition to what these student pro-life leaders have already said?  We have now finished one of our most successful GAP campaigns ever, making stops at 7 major universities in 4 states, with a combined enrollment of more than 200,000 students.

In addition to reaching nearly a quarter million students with the real truth of abortion, we recruited at least one new full-time staff member and one intern who will join us this summer! Praise the Lord; His plan really did come together!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting interesting stories of hearts won and minds changed here on my blog.  Stay tuned!

Financially, we still have a way to go.  The cost for the 6 GAPs in Virginia, North Carolina, and Michigan was $30,000.  We took a step of faith, and so far, we’ve raised $19,000.  Only $11,000 to go.  If you can help us close this financial gap, we can add two more schools to our Fall GAP campaign.  Let us know you stand behind this work, that you stand behind courageous pro-life students, and that you stand up for babies and moms.  Link here to be a financial partner.

Thanks so much for your faithful support.

Genocide Awareness Project returns to University at Buffalo; First Amendment restored

Debate and dialogue is possible

Debate and dialogue is possible, even in places like the University at Buffalo, when lawbreakers are not allowed to censor the undeniable facts.

In stark contrast to last year’s visit, the First Amendment was thoroughly upheld at the University at Buffalo (UB) this time around.  CBR returned to UB to deploy our Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) on April 28-29.

FAB readers will recall the chaos that ensued on our first visit (stories here, here, here, and here).  As a result of university-sanctioned censorship, CBR filed a federal lawsuit against UB for permitting an unruly mob of pro-abortion protesters to purposely disrupt our peaceful, pro-life demonstration (link to stories here and here).

For those keeping score, this was only the second time in the history of GAP that CBR has been forced to file a lawsuit against a public university.  Usually, the knowledge of our willingness to defend speech rights is enough to ensure their enforcement.

The UB has a long history of obstructing pro-life speech.  When the UB Students for Life organized in 2010-2011, UB stalled their application for 9 months, until the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) forced UB to give the Students for Life the same access to UB spaces/facilities that all the left-wing students enjoy.  Story here: Recent Victory for Pro-Life Speech.  Later, UB students vandalized a Cemetery of the Innocents display, not once, but twice.  Stories here: Second Round of Discrimination and Vandalism at University of Buffalo Continues.

It was clear that sometime during the past year, the University at Buffalo “got religion,” as we say here in the South.  They were determined to prevent the kind of censorship that they allowed last year, and they did.

The area surrounding GAP was constantly abuzz with pro-life vs pro-abortion conversation, sometimes passionate and emotional, other times calm and intellectual, but always productive.

On Day 2, high winds and rain prevented us from constructing the full display, but volunteers made do with a smaller set-up and aggressive literature distribution.  Click to read our brochure,  How Can You Compare Abortion to Genocide?.



wind-resistant configuration

On Day 2, wind gusts up to 50 mph were in the forecast, so we reconfigured the display for maximum wind resistance. The bracing shown is more than sufficient to resist the calculated wind load at 50 mph. As a further safety precaution, we carried utility knives and were prepared to sacrifice the signs if necessary. Using a wind gage purchased from Walmart, we measured top wind speeds of only 19 mph.  In Spring 2006, a 7-sign configuration of our 4×8 signs successfully withstood gusts reported to be 48 mph at Oklahoma State University.

Pro Life on Campus at Michigan State University

A good location affords many opportunities to expose abortion and answer questions

A good location affords many opportunities to expose abortion and answer questions.

Michigan State University (MSU) was next up for CBR’s Genocide Awareness Project (GAP).

We were hosted at MSU by the Students for Life and their president, Lisa Jankowski.  What a blessing to help students like Lisa stand up for truth and justice in a hostile world!  You share in that blessing when you support CBR (click here).

CBR’s Pro-Life Training Academy prepared students to articulate and defend the pro-life position.

Media coverage:

More to come!

Intense images really forced me to think

“Intense images … really forced me to think.”  (Message written on our Free Speech Board, near the GAP display.)

Pro Life on Campus at Oakland University (Michigan)

Mirna Awrow at Oakland University is an up-and-coming leader for the pro-life movement.

Mirna Awrow at Oakland University (on the right) is an  up-and-coming leader for the pro-life movement.

Next stop for this Spring’s massive Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) tour was Oakland University (OU) in Auburn Hills, Michigan, a northern suburb of Detroit.

Like most suburban universities, OU is relatively new (established 1957) and is growing by leaps and bounds.  Students are more likely to commute and less likely to be involved in student activism.  The OU Students for Life (SFL) are a refreshing exception to that rule.

Under the leadership of Mirna Awrow, the OU SFL has become a force on OU’s campus.  They have hosted a number of big events on campus, including an appearance by Rebecca Kiessling  and a major debate with the pro-abortion club.  And now, they have hosted GAP.

Media Coverage:

More to come.

Abortion touches many people in surprising ways.

Abortion touches many people in surprising ways.  (Message written on our Free Speech Board, near the GAP display.)

Pro Life on Campus at North Carolina State

Julie Thomas

Julie Thomas traveled from Atlanta to tell her story of abortion and healing.  Her shirt invites students to learn more, “I’ve had an abortion. Please ask me about it.”

North Carolina State University (NCSU) Students for Life (SFL) hosted the Pro-Life Training Academy (PLTA) and the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) earlier in April.

Teresa Pincus, President of NSCU SFL, is an effective leader and we expect great things from her in the years to come.

CBR Virginia Project Director Maggie Egger served as Site Manager for this and all of the GAPs this Spring.  We are thrilled to see Maggie and others young people stepping forward to lead the next generation of pro-lifers, the generation that will win!

Media coverage:

Do not be discouraged at the tone of the items printed in the NC State student newspaper.  Remember what Mahatma Ghandi said:

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

They are fighting us.

More to come!

Edie Benchabbat

North Carolina Project Director Edie Benchabbat looks on as Frank Diorio of New Jersey explains how proponents of genocide always believe they are somehow making society better.

Pro Life on Campus at the University of North Carolina

Maggie Egger explains how unwanted people are killed by Choice

CBR Virginia Project Director Maggie Egger explains how unwanted people are killed by “choice.”

The Carolina Students for Life (CSFL) hosted our Pro Life Training Academy (PLTA) and Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) in late March.  It was our third trip to Chapel Hill.  We gotta do this more often!

Due to a turf restoration project on Polk Place, the normal venue for displays like GAP, CSFL reserved a very visible space just outside the Wilson Library.

Co-Presidents Julie and Emily Ascik are very effective leaders who labored long and hard to convince the CSFL members to host GAP.  As it turned out, some of the opposition came from “members” who rarely bother to do very much at all (other than obstruct, apparently).  Fortunately, several younger members stepped up and CSFL’s future looks bright indeed.

Media coverage:

Julie and Emily aren’t the only pro-life warriors in their family.  Older brother Peter was President of the Students for Life at the U of Georgia when they hosted GAP in 2010.

More to come.

GAP in front of Wilson Library

GAP in front of Wilson Library. Note more signs to right side of stairway.

GAP makes debut at Virginia Tech University

Laurice Baddour at Drillfield

CBR volunteer Laurice Baddour explains how genocide victims are denied rights of personhood.

GAP made it’s first appearance ever at Virginia Tech University on March 27-28, where we were hosted by the Advocates for Life (AFL).

Because you support CBR, Virginia Project Directors Maggie Egger and Nicole Cooley encouraged and trained AFL President Zach Hoopes and others to expose abortion at Virginia Tech, and they formed AFL for just that purpose.

CBR’s Pro-Life Training Academy prepared students to articulate and defend the pro-life position.

There was a slight hiccup in the final day or two before GAP.  A key member of AFL resigned from the group, which almost caused a delay.  Fortunately, we were able to complete the project as scheduled.

Media coverage:

More to come!

Drillfield crowd

Our location on the Drillfield guaranteed a steady stream of student passersby.