… 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.