graphic abortion ads to air during super bowl…

… I just don’t know what to say. I’ve blogged about the use of graphic imagery before, even losing a friendship over the matter. It still pains me, the loss of that friendship but I just can’t convince myself that this is a good idea. [Warning: Link to the news story contains a video with graphic imagery - the video's still frame contains an image of an aborted baby when you open the page.]

A part of me wants to consider this a victory for the pro-life movement, the other part – the mom part, cringes at the thought of children being exposed to commercials showing aborted babies. This same part of me also cringes at the trauma this will cause post-abortive women who are going to be taken emotionally off guard. Will they run a disclaimer before the airing, I wonder. There was no indication in the news story.

I get that this is a rare chance for a pro-life message to reach millions of viewers. I get that, and for that I celebrate. I also realize the use of graphic imagery strongly gets the point across in the most clear way – abortion is the murder of an innocent human life. The images elicit revulsion and anger, as they should. Abortion is revolting and it’s the worst crime committed in all of ages. People need to know this. Yes. Resounding YES.

Are they other ways to get this message across without using such graphic images? Yes. Is using graphic images the best way to make this point more profoundly clear. Yes and No. If it sounds like I am flip-flopping it’s because I am. I am so completely torn over this.

I think people need to be ready to see graphic images. They need to prepare themselves for what they are about to see. A pregnant women thinking about abortion needs to see them. A pro-choice person needs to see these images too. In short, it needs to seen in context, not just randomly shoved in a person face at the most unsuspecting moment. Sneak attacks like that run the risk of appearing, well sneaky. It’s going to infuriate a lot of people, mostly parents I would guess, to see these images during a family event like the Super Bowl. It’s going to make us, pro-life advocates, appear to be the enemy. Do we need that?

Then there’s the other side of me, the side that hates abortion and wouldn’t wish it on her worst enemy. And if there’s a chance this will change minds and hearts saving the lives of innocent babies then how can anyone be against that? But will it work or has it worked in the past? Pro-life activist Randall Terry, the one airing the ads, has run ads like this before in other states; Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska and is currently running them in Boston, Maine, and New Hampshire. Have the states were the ads previously aired had any recent legislative changes to the abortion laws? Have the ads made a documented difference in the number of voters who identify themselves as pro-life or pro-choice?

I just don’t know. I really just don’t know. I’d love to hear your own thoughts. Maybe a can finally be convinced one way or the other.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • Dr. Eric

    It’s a bad idea.  I can’t fully articulate my reasons why, but in my gut I feel it’s a bad idea.  It would be better to show a group of nuns with babies or adopted mothers with babies that they have adopted to take the “burden” off of unwed teen mothers.

  • Kdaunt

    I agree with you. We want the message to get across, but to use disturbing graphic images can backfire. There are many proven techniques for building drama and emotion without having to use those in-your-face images. And afterward, the approach will be criticized and the real message missed.

  • http://charmingdisarray.blogspot.com/ Io

    I’m ambivalent about this issue as well. It probably will infuriate pro-choice people, just like you say, but on the other hand I once walked past a display of graphic images like that and overheard a girl saying with genuine horror and surprise, “Is that really what happens at an abortion?” I think a lot of people truly see it as something clean, clinical, and harmless. At the same time, pro-lifers get accused of “only caring about babies until they’re born.” It’s a difficult all around.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      I’m hardly ambivalent. Gee, I hope that wasn’t the impression I was giving.

      • http://charmingdisarray.blogspot.com/ Io

        “Maybe I can finally be convinced one way or the other” sounded like ambivalence.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

          Mea cupla.

  • http://quiltingbibliophagist.blogspot.com/ Catholic Bibliophagist

    As a pro-life mother, I would not have wanted my children to be exposed to graphic images of aborted babies on television. Talk about nightmare fodder! 

    What we should be showing people is graphic photos of how human-looking unborn children look during the stages of development during which it is legal to abort them. I remember, many years ago, one of my husband’s colleagues telling me that she had previously been pro-choice (and had even had an abortion herself) because she’d been told that she was simply removing “a clump of cells.” But after watching a TV special on human development in the womb she became convinced of the humanity of the unborn child and said that she could never support abortion again.

    My opinion on this has also been confirmed by reading _unPlanned_ by Abby Johnson.

    –C.B.

  • Elli

    I think this particular ad is horrible, and will backfire big time.

    1) There are many many people who are infuriated by comparing abortion to slavery or genocide.  “You’re comparing suffering, thinking, feeling people to something completely unaware!”  “You’re co-opting my people’s suffering for your agenda!”

    2) They’ll infuriate parents who don’t want their children to see this – even parents who lean pro-life, who don’t want their children to learn about abortion this way.

    3) The images of the unborn babies are repellent – even the undismembered one – it has peeling greyish skin.  “Fetus” is already a repellent-sounding word, now it gets coupled with unpleasant images.  People with think of ugly little monsters growing inside a woman’s womb – yes, let her get rid of them if she wants!

    4) The Randall Terry for President campaign at the end comes across as self-aggrandizing – it’s all about him.  And he’s not an attractive man, physically, and there will be a burst of anger at older, controlling, white, religious right reactionary men.   They’re the ones who want to keep women down!  (That’s what the mainstream media sells, and that’s what I used to buy into.  Unfortunately the messenger is the message.)

    5) No girls or women pictured – they mean nothing to these hateful, oppressive “right-to-lifers” – their lives, their health, their plans and dreams – nothing!

    It would be so much better to show pictures of developing unborn babies in their beauty, and educate people.  “Here is the baby eight weeks after conception.   All organs are present.  It has been moving for two weeks now.   Its heart has been beating for five weeks. It reacts to touch.”  Maybe you would even say, “400,000 babies every year are killed at this stage or later in the United States.”  Maybe you would show a young woman looking at a sonogram and saying, “I never knew – I never knew my baby looked like this.”

    Far too many people do not know what unborn babies look like.  Fetal development is undertaught, to say the least.  Many pictures in my anatomy and nursing texts showed fetuses less developed than they are – i.e. a drawing of an embryo at 7 weeks from LMP for chorionic villus sampling which is done 10-12 weeks from LMP.  I knew one woman who asked what her 12 week baby looked like; the abortion counselor showed her a cotton ball.  I know another who asked me after I’d lost a baby at 20 weeks, if it had arms and legs yet.  She had a master’s degree.  She’d had three children herself – I’m not sure what she thought they were kicking her with.  A fellow student in a nursing prereq who already had “a health degree” insisted that fetuses were only undeveloped balls of cells months into gestation.

    The new National Standards for the Future of Sex Education have nothing specifically about fetal development – pregnancy and contraception sure, but not fetal development.
    http://www.futureofsexeducation.org/documents/josh-fose-standards-web.pdf 

    My theory is that if you teach children what a baby developing in the womb looks like, they will sympathize with the baby and take its side.  If they don’t consider the abortion question until they are adolescents, they will very likely take the side of the young man and woman whose lives they think will be wrecked, or at least greatly inconvenienced, by an unwanted pregnancy.

    Show the beauty of created humanity, show maternal bonding and love, show grace triumphing over fear.

    If Terry made people turn away in horror and grief he might succeed in his aims, but he will make them react with disgust and hate instead.

    • Anonymous

      I am so sad thinking that Satan can possibly use fervent pro-lifers in this way.  But this is how I see it when I see that ad.

  • Tanya

    What I can tell you is my own personal experience with those images during this past year’s 40DFL campaign. All the volunteers had been told, of course, not to bring signs that had those images on them. There was a small group of  well-intentioned older men who had brought graphic signs anyway, but obviously had been told they couldn’t use them. So instead, they put them “down” by strategically placing them along side the fence facing the very parking lot where the 40DFL volunteers were parking. I arrived for my shift and as I opened my car door, the first thing I saw was a sign showing an aborted baby in pieces. This was disturbing on so many levels, and was no doubt more so to me because just a couple weeks before, I had a miscarriage. I had to have a D&C, so you can imagine the thoughts that were going through my mind as I sat in my car staring at this horrid image. I know there’s a difference between the two procedures. Still. There are similarities. But it was the thoughts – the heartwrentching visuals – that an instrument had been inside me, too, to take away my baby’s body. Did my baby look like that when it came out of me? My husband and I specifically didn’t want it taken to pathology for “testing” b/c we didn’t want it manipulated in such ways. But there it was in front of me.  I had no choice on my D&C. Physically the choice had been made for me.  So, I certainly wasn’t prepared to see those images. Absolutely horrible timing, if there’s ever a “right” time. I literally sat there in my car, so shaken I almost left.  Because of why I was there, though, I felt a sense of urging (I like to think from my baby’s guardian angel) to continue my peaceful protest. I didn’t know I was going to lose my baby when I signed up to pray. I was lead there and it wasn’t me that took the keys out of the ignition and got out of the car, I know that much. 
    That day  was one of the hardest I’ve ever lived, aside from the day(s) of actually losing my own baby. That was my second miscarriage, so maybe it was just that I was so new in my loss this time. But the other emotion I wasn’t prepared for was the absolute anger I felt – right or wrong -as I walked over to stand beside the very men who’d disobeyed the 40DFL rules and brought those signs anyway. Oh, the things I wanted to say. But how could they have known or predicted,  and did I have a right to even be upset? I don’t know. I gave it all up – every thought – every tear – everything – as a sacrifice for the innocent life that was being taken and for the women who’s lives would never be the same after coming to that place that morning. That trumped anything I was going through.  Even after that experience, I can still see both sides. Maybe if one of those girls I saw walk in that morning had seen what I had seen when I got there, she would’ve thought twice. I thought twice. I almost left, even if it was for a different reason. Even still, I just can’t get on board that train. I still think in my heart it’s scandalizing the baby and the beauty of the sanctity of life, not to mention what it does emotionally to post-abortive women or women like me, who’ve experienced miscarriage. There are so many other ways to reach people. The 40DFL movement seems to be quite effective w/o the use of graphic signs, so…..   

    • Seraphic

      I am so sorry that happened to you. That is awful. And for reasons such as yours I myself am in favour of giving people the choice whether or not they want to see such ghastly images. Let the images be around if people demand to see them, but for heaven’s sake, don’t let them be shoved at bereaved mothers and little children, PARTICULARLY when the pro-life organizers have asked that they be left at home. We don’t allow graphic photographs of any other dismembered people on the public street. 

  • http://therosarychick.blogspot.com/ Melanie

    Right there with you! This particular ad troubles me. 

    I think there is a place for graphic images though. As you know I lost my son. I was 14 weeks, 2 days in my pregnancy. We took photos of Jude. The pictures have been shared with family and I donated copies to the local pro-life clinic in the event they could be helpful when counseling a client. I know of Jude’s photo being shared with some pro-choice friends of our family who had no idea that a fetus would look so much like a “baby” so early in the pregnancy. It converted their heart on some level. 

    Like some other readers, I think focusing on the beauty of adoption may be a better commercial for this type of audience.

  • GeekLady

    I think this is a horrid idea, and the person behind it ought to be ashamed of themselves. There are small children who will end up seeing this ad, which I couldn’t even try to watch, the still was almost too much for me as it was.

    My son is three. He is not old enough to learn about abortion at all, much less be introduced through such graphic means.

    Furthermore, I just experienced my fifth miscarriage at the end of October at 13 weeks. We had literally told our son we were going to have another baby the day before. This intimate introduction to the idea of death has had a huge impact on him. He is not ready to grapple with the idea that in our world, mother’s may murder the babies in their tummies at will. I already get questions like “did God kill the baby in your tummy?” I can’t bear to think about the questions a premature introduction to the idea of abortion will raise.

    Graphic pictures had their place in the pro life movement. But their use in conversion of the general public is past. Our society is now far too accustomed to horror, gruesomeness, and self centeredness for these graphic images of abortion to be useful in producing a change of heart in those who view them. The vast improvements in the imaging of living children in the womb are a far better tool for this purpose, because they both show the truth and they inspire awe, not horror or disgust. Or worse.

    • GeekLady

      Sorry about all the typos/grammar issues/misplaced apostrophes. Discus is a bear to type a comment on with an iPad, and I’m getting a weird bug where my new comment box is always full of whatever I last typed in there, and if I move the cursor’s focus with the touch screen, my ability to type in the box vanishes. I’ve been trying to post since last night and finally had to resort to the bluetooth keyboard.

  • http://girlwhowassaturday.blogspot.com/ TGWWS

    Bad, bad, bad idea.  I cannot describe how against this I am.  My (very pro-life, adopted four kids and had six of her own) mother never took us kids on the March for Life (although we’ve gone as teenagers and adults) precisely because she didn’t want to expose her children to images like these.  It’s just not right to spring this on unsuspecting people, period.

    Seriously.  We’ve been trying to air pro-life ads in prime time for years.  Is this the BEST we could come up with?!!

  • http://twitter.com/espressobean21 Sarah Martinez

    Kat, I am really with you on this one. 

    My mother had two abortions as a teenager, and she’s spent the years since really bravely advocating organizations like Project Rachel and speaking at pro-life events.  I’m very proud of her, and many things the pro-life movement does.  But I think some pro-life activism can reach into alienating territory usually reserved for PETA, and gives the impression that they are more anti-abortion than they are pro-life.  (what I mean is, they will condemn abortion but then also condemn the humans those babies grow to be, by say, supporting the death penalty.) 

    Heather King wrote an amazing blog piece not too long ago about this, and I agree with every word: 

    “Why I am For Life, not “Pro life”: http://shirtofflame.blogspot.com/2011/12/why-i-am-for-life-not-pro-life.html

    I started to skim for a highlight to post here, but the whole, entire thing is worth reading. But here’s this, anyway:

    “To be for life means to stand your ground while also exercising delicacy, courtesy, and restraint of tongue and pen. It means to be passionately for our work and passionately against imposing our work on others. It means to refrain from trumpeting our own courage in favor of admiring the courage of the next person.  It means to be for the unborn baby and for the baby who grows up to be an alcoholic, love-starved, frightened, extremely misguided adult and has an abortion, or two, or three before at last crawling toward the light (or not)—because you never know the wounds from which another suffers. You never know the sins and sorrows for which another is doing life-long penance. You never know the odds against which another is working. You never know who you are hoping burns in hell so you can “save” some other baby.”  

    Babies will only be saved when people start loving the lives of those they’re saving.  We need to approach this movement with the joy of life, to show that we are FOR life, not AGAINST abortion.  

    I do agree that showing these pictures may be necessary in certain contexts, to a mother about to abort her child… But not this. 

     

  • Anonymous

    I just don’t see how showing this upholds the dignity of these dead babies. Not to mention the dignity of the little ones who watch the game. I know that it is reality, but my daughter who LOVES football is also the daughter who would be haunted by those images.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with this.  I think that those images treat the martyred children they are pictures of…as things.  Who owns those children?  Who looks after them?  Has anyone who has a right consented to the display of their bodies?  No. and no. 

      The ends do not justify the means.

  • susan

    I’m having a really tough time with what I’m reading here.  These images are not only effective, they are necessary.  As Priests of Life says, “America will NOT reject abortion until America sees abortion”.  It is FAR too easy to see it as a clinical, sanitized ‘procedure’, and forget , or worse yet never realize, the horror of the reality it is.  America didn’t truly get behind Abolition until the pictures of scarred slaves were seen.  America only got mobilized for human rights when the pictures of humans being fire-hosed for the ‘crime’ of being black were widely published. 
     
    These pictures simply show the REALITY of  the choice!  This is what happens, and goes on with nearly the same frequency as tooth extractions in western countries!  And may I remind everyone who is SO against graphic images, that Our Lady herself showed a GRAPHIC image of hell to the little visionaries of Fatima, one of whom was only 7 years old.  She could have shown them chubby cherubim to illustrate how lovely heaven is, but she didn’t.  She could have talked to them in lovely slogans and platitudes, but she didn’t.  She was brutally graphic–in tone AND in image, and their lives were changed forever and they lived as saints because of what they saw….Little Jacinta spent the rest of her short life doing penances for sinners that they might not enter the place of extreme horror that she saw.  La Salette was more of the same, doubled down.  Abby Johnson was converted in an instant by a graphic image…she say a baby being aborted on a sonogram and she could no longer deny that the ‘choice’ was the brutal murder of a human being in its most defenseless stage.  I have no doubt that the years of prayers by the vigilant pro-lifers brought down the grace that moved her heart, but make no mistake, it was the IMAGE that was the spark upon which that grace caught fire.
     
    I understand the fragility of post-abortive women.  I helped my best friend through this post-traumatic horror and she found great help and solace through Rachel’s Vineyard, but she will be the first one to say, “show the images!”…how many will be spared the horror of falling into this sin if they see what it is?
     
    We have seriously GOT to get over this inoffensive, nice-at-all-costs mentality where mortal sin and the eternal destination of souls is concerned.  Abortion is happening…50 MILLION+ and counting in this country alone in 4 decades…this is child sacrifice that would make the Aztecs blush, and we keep speaking in platitudes and niceties.  Hell, we’re STILL fighting the ‘personhood’ battle for the unborn.  When you see these pictures, there is no way you can deny that it’s a person.  When children see the images use the time to teach!  You can raise and form saints, who will be front liners in the battle for life because they KNOW what’s at stake and what the reality of the ‘choice’ is from a very young age….now is the time to form their character and mettle.  I take the Blessed Mother as a pretty good role model for teaching, and I for one, am not about to tell her she did it all wrong.

    • Rjruffo

      well said Susan,
      too many can not handle the truth..

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, like those weak little children.  They need to man up and get used to the bloody reality of abortion.  Three year olds!  To the Crusades!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Please explain how it’s okay to expose little kids to these images. I’m not saying they have no place, but I can’t agree that publicly displaying them on the street or during family viewing times is okay.

      • susan

        ummm…could ya maybe re-read my letter?  I think I answered your question pretty thoroughly in it.

        • Anonymous

          Susan, I did read your letter and you are dead wrong. I know my four year old ought to be protected from many things that are reality. She is not ready to absorb all the horrors the world has to offer. It’s why she has parents- to protect her and introduce things at a developmentally appropriate time. I know my job is to teach. Your original letter has not convinced me that you know squat about little children.

        • http://twitter.com/espressobean21 Sarah Martinez

          So I suppose you think sexual education should be left to whomever wants to teach it to your children as well, instead of the parents?  After all, sex is usually what gets people into the position of having to choose.  Sex is a reality. Sex can be dangerous.

          Being forcibly confronted with death can be as innocence-stealing as being overly exposed to information about sex. Both are facts of life, but both need to be dealt with in their own time when it comes to children. 

          There’s a reason Our Lady of Fatima hasn’t also been Our Lady of Sunnyvale, and Our Lady of the Ohio Suburbs.   She didn’t appear to every child to show them hell– she picked those three.   Just like a biological mother would pick different times for her children to learn different things. at different times.

          • susan

            “So I suppose you think sexual education should be left to whomever wants to teach it to your children as well, instead of the parents?  After all, sex is usually what gets people into the position of having to choose.  Sex is a reality. Sex can be dangerous.”
             
            No, actually, I don’t.  I think that the government  forcing  an immoral value system on the populous through the indoctrination of kids in public schools (and now with it’s tentacles in Catholic schools) is thoroughly disgusting and abhorrent, but your assertion is an apples/oranges proposition.  One is imposing a values system against Christian belief; the other is illustrating the results of that values system to emphasize the truth of Christian belief.  Your child will see all sorts of things in life, at times you don’t want them to, and it is your responsibility to educate them about it in line with what the Church teaches.  You are the primary educator (though the current administration would argue the point), and if you respond in a hysterical, ranting way about these pictures, your child will respond in kind.  If however you take it as a chance to calmly and graciously point out the difference between what the world promotes and what Christianity fosters, the lesson can be a true cornerstone in a saintly character.  And as to your last statement in this paragraph, it would certainly do our society GREAT good to see graphically the results of rampant, promiscuous, sex.  MANY have been scared straight, or saved from falling into the pit altogether by seeing a medical picture, or reading a description of  late-stage syphilis or untreated gonorrhea…it has to do with teaching the real consequences of behavior that runs opposed to God’s will.  Now please don’t take me out of context or put words in my mouth, I’m not saying you should show your 4 yr. old a medical textbook,; what I am saying is that these abortion pictures are legitimate tools to lead many hearts away for a horrific, soul-slaying sin, and if your child happens to see one, it’s your responsibility to teach them a resounding lesson in a calm, loving way.  Otherwise, plan on keeping them in the house with a bubble suit on 24/7.
             
            “There’s a reason Our Lady of Fatima hasn’t also been Our Lady of Sunnyvale, and Our Lady of the Ohio Suburbs.   She didn’t appear to every child to show them hell– she picked those three.   Just like a biological mother would pick different times for her children to learn different things for her different children.”
             
            She picked those three to be ambassadors to the world.  She didn’t say, “hide my message until I let you know who can handle it.”  She made it a clear point for them to tell the world what they saw and heard…ALL of it (with the exception of the third secret).  Look, Sarah and Babs5, I think you are probably both very good, loving, wonderful Christian mothers who are doing all you can to raise good kids in a culture that wants to pervert and twist them at every turn.  I just ask you to see that there is another viewpoint to the graphic images question, and people of equally good will hold it, with some very solid reasoning for doing so.  It is legal, it is effective, and I will be one of the cadre holding  one of these signs, loving and praying for each and every heart that looks at it, while also praying for an end to this horrible holocaust that it depicts.  A holocaust which far too many ignore because it’s easy to ignore.  Not quite as easy to ignore when it’s seen.  And if we REALLY believe as a people of faith that this is the murder of innocent children, then seen it needs to be!…where on earth is the indignation and the urgency?…we are talking about human infant sacrifice on a monstrous level and hands are being rung because a few brave souls stand up in the public square facing ridicule and hatred because they dare to pull back the veil and show what it is?  God bless, protect and guard Randall Terry….he’s a voice crying out in the wilderness.

          • Anonymous

            Here you are again, proclaiming your right to teach my children what you think is Christian.

            I am prolife as they come, and would chain myself to an abortion clinic with the best of them but I would NEVER agree that you, or Randall Terry, has the god-given right to teach my small children what “the real horror of abortion looks like.”

            This is making me absolutely livid.

          • Anonymous

            Pardon me, but you seem to care a lot about the unborn, yet not a whit for the little ones already born. Not all Of them even have parents who will teach them about what they see in these pictures.

        • Anonymous

          Ack, I’m sorry for that last sentence. My mommy dander needs to be civilized sometimes.
          Here’s the deal: I do rely on the Blessed Mother, and the whole of heaven really, to help my kids navigate the world. But I also think that I have a huge role in that. As I said, yep these images have  a place. On an overpass where my 4 year old can see them is not it.

          I know my kids. I foster a love for the unborn in my kids. We look at the development of their sibling every week together and pray for her growth together. Someday my girls might be more “compassionate” toward a person who wants an abortion. I will have images of abortion to show them. Does the world share my values? No. Do I wish all who need to see these images would? Yes. But not at the expense of a little one’s innocence. Not my little one and not anyone else’s.

    • Kit15

      The Blessed Mother knows her individual children so well.  She reserves such imagery for her particularly young children that she knows are ready for it.

      That being said, she’s also the only mom who knows my kid better than I and the media continues to be a thorn in my side.

  • susan

    Sorry, I just have to respond to the Heather King (oy) quote, because , well, it’s just gotta be responded to:
     
    “To be for life means to stand your ground while also exercising delicacy, courtesy, and restraint of tongue and pen. It means to be passionately for our work and passionately against imposing our work on others.”
     
    Gee, guess Jesus was a little off-base about imposing His work on others, eh?…shoulda kept it in the closet, Jesus.  I seem to remember Him imposing plenty; He didn’t force, but He imposed like crazy, and He got killed for it…”go out and make disciples of all nations…no one comes to the Father but through Me…My people perish for lack of knowledge (OT)”  Go out and speak the Gospel message boldly, fearlessly, clearly, and unashamedly.  St. Peter did it, St. Stephan did it, all the martyrs did it.  We, however, are living in a time of extreme lukewarmness and fool ourselves into thinking we’re saints of ‘tolerance’….(eeeesh, I just threw up a little in my mouth).
     
     “It means to refrain from trumpeting our own courage in favor of admiring the courage of the next person.”
     
    I have N.E.V.E.R. seen a pro-life warrior trumpet their own courage.  That is a slanderous and baseless accusation tossed out into the blogosphere with the arrogance of self-authority of a smug Catholic-intellectual.  The pro-life world is made up of the most selfless, humble, holy souls I’ve ever had the grace to know, and I am NOT worthy to unloose most of their sandals. They’ve been spit on (repeatedly); had projectiles thrown at them (repeatedly)–some you don’t want to have me describe; and been called (by screaming) every disgusting, putrid, vile name in the book.  I have not ONCE seen or heard one of these good souls raise a voice or a fist in return, but rather they say a prayer for the abuser, and continue to come out to witness to the Truth.  If anyone calls them courageous, they actually blush and deny the compliment.
     
    “It means to be for the unborn baby and for the baby who grows up to be an alcoholic, love-starved, frightened, extremely misguided adult and has an abortion, or two, or three before at last crawling toward the light (or not)—because you never know the wounds from which another suffers.”
     
    What kind of an inane non sequitur is that???  Seriously.  Does one really preclude the other in Heather King’s imaginary world?  Two of my dearest friends man a crisis-pregnancy center that shares a wall with an abortuary.  They care for the mothers as well as the babies, through all stages of pregnancy and beyond.  They care for the women who ignore their entreaties and enter the house-of-horror next door.  They pray for them, they do daily penance for them, and they are TYPICAL of the people I routinely meet in the pro-life world.  And King’s cynical little “(or not)”…that’s an eternal soul’s destination at stake, not fodder for a flippant remark that somehow seeks to countenance another to marinate in their ‘wounds’.  My friends love these broken women enough to live next door to hell itself, roll up their sleeves, and with the help of grace do all they can to offer real healing of those wounds, not write platitudes of detraction against the heroes working in the vineyard.
     
    “You never know the sins and sorrows for which another is doing life-long penance. You never know the odds against which another is working.
     
    Hey Heather, it is our MANDATE to try to help them out of their sin and sorrow by offering them Christ!…to open the eyes of the blind, not to give them justification for continuing to roll in the dung because, well, they just have so much going on, and we have no idea.
     
    “You never know who you are hoping burns in hell so you can “save” some other baby.”  
     
    OH. MY. GOSH…..where do I even begin with this disgusting insult?  The oh-so-delicate, courteous, and, how did she phrase it?…restraining of tongue and pen Heather King accusing truly good people of “hoping (someone) burns in hell”….and this quote is used to bolster an argument?  Honest to gosh, I do not get it. 

    • Sarah Martinez

      Go read the whole article, dear. I gave you a link. And please calm down. All that shrieking is hurting my ears.

      • susan

        Seems you have very delicate ears, dear.   I have read Heather King and her home-spun heresies.  I stand by what I said…every word.

    • Anonymous

      Sorry, susan, all the gentle prolifers in the world are not enough to convince me that you are they know what is best for my child.  If you came to my house and stuck your foot in the door demanding to show my children pictures of aborted fetuses because you knew what is best for them, I would be tempted to punch you in the face.  Being an aspriring peace-loving prolifer myself, I would try not to.  But seriously, there are certain things once must fight.

      I would fight with everything in me to be have the right to determine when my children are ready to see mutilated bodies.

      • susan

        Wow.  Punch me in the face?…for a made-up accusation of something no one wants to do?  No one is talking about sticking a foot in your door and demanding to show pictures of aborted fetuses to your children.  I went to great pains to speak in a cogent manner about why I feel graphic images are legitimate, and I have been called screeching and been threatened with physical violence.  Barbara, those images are legal, and effective, and I will be one of the people who holds them in the PUBLIC square, and Randall Terry has a right to show them on the public airwaves as a candidate.  If your 3 year old is glued to the television during the whole Superbowl, well first of all…dang!, and second of all, they shouldn’t be watching any of the commercials or the halftime presentation cause much of it will be far more detrimental to their true state of innocence than will their seeing a 2 second image of the reality of abortion, along with images of scarred slaves and Holocaust victims. (Have you actually seen the video of the proferred ad?…it is done with great reverence and sensitivity).  Would that your anger and rage be directed at the actual fact of legalized, state-sponsored, tax-payer funded abortion in this country rather than toward the warriors pointing out the reality.

        • Anonymous

          People claiming that this kind of ad is wonderful and good have been asked, “What about offending or harming the innocence of children who might be watching this mainstream, non-abortion-related event on television?”  And  the reply is, “Whatever.  They need to see the horrors of abortion.  It is real.” 

          If you are not one of these people, I apologize for directing my ire at you.    But your “gentle prolifers” thing really got me after  reading so many of my fellow prolife activists go on and  on about how it is perfectly fine for  children to see the ad… because they should know the truth, too, etc.

          If Randall Terry or any other prolife group insists that putting an ad on television like this during regular viewing hours is acceptable “because it is for a good cause” they are essentially saying they have the right to bombard my children with any and all images for the same reason.  That is a direct disrespect of my right as a parent to decide when my children are able to view graphic images of violence against children (which is essentially what these are.)   It is the same as you saying that you want to the right to educate my children as you see fir in a way that you have decided is good and right for them, in direct opposition to what I see as their spiritual development. 

          HM.  That is  a lot like the sex ed question isn’t it?  The difference is that you think you are right so it is ok.

        • Anonymous

          People claiming that this kind of ad is wonderful and good have been asked, “What about offending or harming the innocence of children who might be watching this mainstream, non-abortion-related event on television?”  And  the reply is, “Whatever.  They need to see the horrors of abortion.  It is real.” 

          If you are not one of these people, I apologize for directing my ire at you.    But your “gentle prolifers” thing really got me after  reading so many of my fellow prolife activists go on and  on about how it is perfectly fine for  children to see the ad… because they should know the truth, too, etc.

          If Randall Terry or any other prolife group insists that putting an ad on television like this during regular viewing hours is acceptable “because it is for a good cause” they are essentially saying they have the right to bombard my children with any and all images for the same reason.  That is a direct disrespect of my right as a parent to decide when my children are able to view graphic images of violence against children (which is essentially what these are.)   It is the same as you saying that you want to the right to educate my children as you see fir in a way that you have decided is good and right for them, in direct opposition to what I see as their spiritual development. 

          HM.  That is  a lot like the sex ed question isn’t it?  The difference is that you think you are right so it is ok.

        • Anonymous

          People claiming that this kind of ad is wonderful and good have been asked, “What about offending or harming the innocence of children who might be watching this mainstream, non-abortion-related event on television?”  And  the reply is, “Whatever.  They need to see the horrors of abortion.  It is real.” 

          If you are not one of these people, I apologize for directing my ire at you.    But your “gentle prolifers” thing really got me after  reading so many of my fellow prolife activists go on and  on about how it is perfectly fine for  children to see the ad… because they should know the truth, too, etc.

          If Randall Terry or any other prolife group insists that putting an ad on television like this during regular viewing hours is acceptable “because it is for a good cause” they are essentially saying they have the right to bombard my children with any and all images for the same reason.  That is a direct disrespect of my right as a parent to decide when my children are able to view graphic images of violence against children (which is essentially what these are.)   It is the same as you saying that you want to the right to educate my children as you see fir in a way that you have decided is good and right for them, in direct opposition to what I see as their spiritual development. 

          HM.  That is  a lot like the sex ed question isn’t it?  The difference is that you think you are right so it is ok.

        • Anonymous

          Please accept my apology for speaking in such terms.  In reality I was really terribly upset by reading at the LifeSite website (the link).  All those people who answered the question of ”  What about harming the innocence of children?”  who were told, “Children need to see this!” made me so angry. 

          It feels like even the people you think are of the same mind as you have suddenly gone nuts.   Maybe it isn’t sudden; I just don’t know anyone who would say that showing children pictures of other children’s  mangled bodies, and against the wishes if their parents, is fine and dandy. 

          I also think this ad is disrespectful of the dead.  But that is another argument.  We won’t be watching the SuperBowl because we never do.  But maybe the people who don’t watch should be inundated by a door-to-door campaign? 

          • susan

            Holy Moses!…seriously, do you not understand that you are doing the exact thing you are accusing others, in the most derisive terms, of?  Barbara, No one is coming door to door, we are standing in the public byways.  No one is forcing you or your children to watch a commercial; turn your head, turn it off.  I do this routinely when I’m hit with a Cialis or Viagra commercial.  And in fact this last is a moot point because, “We won’t be watching the SuperBowl because we never do.”….sheese!  Do you understand that there are people out there who are offended by the name Jesus let alone a picture of Him or a cross on a steeple…by your logic, those should all come down and His name forbidden in the public square because someone is offended and doesn’t want to explain it to their children and doesn’t want to have to look at it.  They are as worked up as you are but from a different angle.  You are the one who is trying to set the bar according to your own personal tastes and opinions. 
             
            The public at large needs to be aware of what abortion is because, let me be very clear here, most don’t know!  They’ve believed the lie that PP has been dishing out for 40+ years that it’s just a blob of cells…nothing more….I believed Gloria Steinem and Betty Freidan and the pain in my life is lifelong.  Calm down the vitriol, and quite frankly, grow up.  Be a good mother.  Guard when you can, explain when you must, and realize that life, and the battles that other people chose to fight with boldness, aren’t your personal fiefdom.

          • susan

            …and I this point, I invite you to have your parting shots and the last word…I’ve pretty much had my fill of this thread and won’t be checking back; all it’s doing at this point is disquieting my soul and the souls of sisters in Christ.  I’m choosing to turn my head and walk away; see how easy that is?…great freedom in that.

            Peace to all, and may Jesus Christ reign in hearts.

          • Anonymous

            And, since the response I wrote is from earlier, before I read this, I want to add:
            I am not talking about not offending people. 
            I am talking about showing graphic, brutal imagery to children. 

            There are hundreds or more children who will see those pictures and*not* have anyone to console them or explain what they mean.  They will not lead miraculously to questions that their parents must answer by converting to being prolife.  In fact, in as many cases as there are good outcomes, I would predict that there will be bad ones.

             I used aggressive language because I *DO* live boldly to protect children, born and unborn.  My kids know about abortion at the level that *I*, their parent, have decided they can handle it.    That is MY job to decide, not yours.    It’s the job of every parent.  And when I say, “What about the children who will see this,”  I am not thinking of myself, who can handle the fallout, but of the thousands of children whose parents will not know this is coming on, and will not know to take their kids away or turn it off.  They will not be expecting it at all.  So your “Be a good parent and screen” is totally ridiculous.

            Finally, you don’t know one minute thing about me.  My pro-life cred is not up for your approval or disapproval.   Nor is my parenting.   And frankly I wouldn’t respond to somebody who feels it is their right to lecture other prolifers about how good they are at being prolife,  except that it makes
            me mad when other people come along and tell me that they are right to
            assault innocent children with images of graphic violence because they
            are right (ends justify the means, eh?).    And who suggest that I am a bad mother or I am not boldly fighting the evil of abortion because I disagree.  

            If you want to hold up pictures of nameless, disrespected bodies of children and claim that you are honoring those martyred children and fighting for the truth, go ahead.  But I am not going to say it is a good idea, or right.  I especially won’t give money for it to happen on national television broadcast to the beer-swilling, violence-mongering masses who are watching Super Bowl along with the rest of the nation. 

            Do as you please.  I will disagree passionately that you are not protecting or respecting children that way.  

          • Anonymous

            And, since the response I wrote is from earlier, before I read this, I want to add:
            I am not talking about not offending people. 
            I am talking about showing graphic, brutal imagery to children. 

            There are hundreds or more children who will see those pictures and*not* have anyone to console them or explain what they mean.  They will not lead miraculously to questions that their parents must answer by converting to being prolife.  In fact, in as many cases as there are good outcomes, I would predict that there will be bad ones.

             I used aggressive language because I *DO* live boldly to protect children, born and unborn.  My kids know about abortion at the level that *I*, their parent, have decided they can handle it.    That is MY job to decide, not yours.    It’s the job of every parent.  And when I say, “What about the children who will see this,”  I am not thinking of myself, who can handle the fallout, but of the thousands of children whose parents will not know this is coming on, and will not know to take their kids away or turn it off.  They will not be expecting it at all.  So your “Be a good parent and screen” is totally ridiculous.

            Finally, you don’t know one minute thing about me.  My pro-life cred is not up for your approval or disapproval.   Nor is my parenting.   And frankly I wouldn’t respond to somebody who feels it is their right to lecture other prolifers about how good they are at being prolife,  except that it makes
            me mad when other people come along and tell me that they are right to
            assault innocent children with images of graphic violence because they
            are right (ends justify the means, eh?).    And who suggest that I am a bad mother or I am not boldly fighting the evil of abortion because I disagree.  

            If you want to hold up pictures of nameless, disrespected bodies of children and claim that you are honoring those martyred children and fighting for the truth, go ahead.  But I am not going to say it is a good idea, or right.  I especially won’t give money for it to happen on national television broadcast to the beer-swilling, violence-mongering masses who are watching Super Bowl along with the rest of the nation. 

            Do as you please.  I will disagree passionately that you are  protecting or respecting children.  Abortion is a great, great evil and we must do whatever we can to stop it– except that which is itself evil.  

  • Susi

    It’s not going to work, I think. If I were in the situation of dealing
    with an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy and didn’t know what to do, these
    pictures would not offer me a bit of hope or an inkling of a positive
    solution. I would feel horrible, but still wouldn’t know how to earn
    enough money to raise the child/get affordable housing/deal without
    being a single parent/deal with telling the father and so on and so
    forth, whatever fits the specific woman’s situation. You need to show
    people where they can get help, THAT they can get help.

    I’d take up one poster’s idea of showing how far a fetus is developed at
    a specific age and maybe add snippets from an interview with women who
    had decided not to have abortions in difficult situations some years
    ago. In these interviews, they could talk about their initial shock and
    then how they managed to get through this experience and now are
    grateful for their kids. Like, emphasize the silver lining. If I were
    considering an abortion in a difficult situation, it would encourage me
    to learn that others, who decided against it, managed to raise their
    babies and are happy they did.

    Gruesome footage doesn’t achieve anything, as so many posters have already shown.

    • Miss Doyle

      I have to agree with you Susi, especially after I read that book by Abby Johnson ‘Unplanned’. When she changed sides, the one thing she advised the pro-life movement to do was to remove those graphic pictures. Her reasoning behind it was that women in a situation of crisis pregnancy are looking for hope. 
      They want someone to step in and tell them, there’s an alternative to abortion, and pictures of happy mothers and babies will do that. I would guess that most women do know what an unborn baby looks like and that the reason why post abortion trauma is so hard to face is because of those mental images. 
      I want positive pro-life messages, not to deny the utter horror of abortion, but to give hope. Pictures of aborted babies don’t do that, do they?

  • hilary

    I think it’s very telling that your arguments against graphic images are exactly the same as the complaints of the pro-aborts about them. They also like to assume the moral high ground and say things like, “This is why everyone hates you pro-lifers… you just don’t [sniff] care about the children… what about the CHILDREN?!!!”

    It is plainly nauseating to hear this coming from Catholics claiming to be pro-life. 

    It’s called appeasement, Kat. Grow out of it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/caytie82 Cassi Duncan

      I’m not sure why it would be nauseating for a pro-life Catholic to be concerned about children’s welfare? To think that a child should be able to watch the game with his parents (or even just play in the same room) and not be treated–without any warning to his parents who might wish to shield him–to the sight of a bloody, dismembered corpse? Should children learn the truth? Absolutely, but in age-appropriate ways. And there is nothing age-appropriate about these images for young children. They have their place, and they are powerful tools. But as with any powerful tool (especially those that also have the potential to harm), discretion in their use is advisable.

  • Eve

    Ok, after reading all these comments, I think someone needs to say this: in the battle against abortion, against the Evil one, in the fight for life, the fight to get the Truth out there, people are going to be offended, people are going to be hurt. This is unavoidable. 
    Graphic images are NECESSARY to show abortion for what it is. They may not be appropriate all of the time, e.g at a 40 days for Life vigil, in a pamphlet for post-abortive counselling, etc but they are necessary to use in the fight for life. Monsignor Reilly has said this time and again. No-one here is advocating a free reign on showing such images to little ones. I would never voluntarily show a young child a picture of an aborted baby and proceed to teach them all about abortion.  Of course we want to preserve their innocence for as long as possible. If little ones happen to see these graphic images, along with the many other awful visual presentations of evil they will see as children, I hope their parents have the sense to teach them the truth in a way they can understand, just as they would if their child knew someone who died, or witnessed an accident.  I think we underestimate a child’s ability to understand evil. But if it’s a choice between their innocence, my discomfort, public anger and hatred, and the changing of hearts and minds, the saving of souls and lives, I choose the latter.  Who’s to know that there’s a war going on, if the carnage is hidden? I personally don’t think the ad is great, even being so short, it could be better quality and far more effective in getting the message across, even without graphic images. If you don’t want your child to see the truth, turn off the TV. But allow these images to be seen by those who need to see them, on the TV, on the street. 

  • Eve

    Ok, after reading all these comments, I think someone needs to say this: in the battle against abortion, against the Evil one, in the fight for life, the fight to get the Truth out there, people are going to be offended, people are going to be hurt. This is unavoidable. 
    Graphic images are NECESSARY to show abortion for what it is. They may not be appropriate all of the time, e.g at a 40 days for Life vigil, in a pamphlet for post-abortive counselling, etc but they are necessary to use in the fight for life. Monsignor Reilly has said this time and again. No-one here is advocating a free reign on showing such images to little ones. I would never voluntarily show a young child a picture of an aborted baby and proceed to teach them all about abortion.  Of course we want to preserve their innocence for as long as possible. If little ones happen to see these graphic images, along with the many other awful visual presentations of evil they will see as children, I hope their parents have the sense to teach them the truth in a way they can understand, just as they would if their child knew someone who died, or witnessed an accident.  I think we underestimate a child’s ability to understand evil. But if it’s a choice between their innocence, my discomfort, public anger and hatred, and the changing of hearts and minds, the saving of souls and lives, I choose the latter.  Who’s to know that there’s a war going on, if the carnage is hidden? I personally don’t think the ad is great, even being so short, it could be better quality and far more effective in getting the message across, even without graphic images. If you don’t want your child to see the truth, turn off the TV. But allow these images to be seen by those who need to see them, on the TV, on the street. 

  • hilary

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