Thursday, January 23, 2014

Why using images of aborted fetuses is usually, but not always a bad idea

Simcha Fischer explains, quite well, why this is the case.
If you are, I’m begging you to reconsider. Fr. Pavone famously said, “America will not reject abortion until America sees abortion.” Most pro-lifers understand that Americans are tragically ignorant about what abortion really is — what it really does to real babies. Many of us remember seeing those bloody images for the first time, and can recall being shaken out of a vague, fuzzy support for the pro-life cause into the realization that this is a life-and-death struggle — real life, and real death.

But a public place is not the place to use these images — ever, I’m convinced. These images are like a terrible weapon which should be used with fear and trembling, and only as a last resort. Why?


I wholeheartedly agree. When I was active with the pro-life movement in Baltimore I got some literature from a prolife organization in the mail that had aborted fetuses on the envelope and I was completely horrified. I wrote to the head of the organization and asked to be taken off their mailing list because I didn't believe it was acceptable to send material in envelopes with photographs of corpses on the cover.

In Abby Johnson's book Unplanned she describes how prolifers with bloody fetus photos drew her away from their side, and into the arms of Planned Parenthood because she thought they were lunatics harassing women and didn't want to be associated with them. Later as a director of a local Planned Parenthood, she would convert from prochoice to prolife, but it was only after a life-altering experience of operating an ultrasound during an abortion, and after the prolifers at her clinic changed their tone and got rid of some of the more inflammatory images.
Word. We're so bad at communicating with each other, or understanding ourselves, as a species that I think moving discourse in a rational direction is always a good idea, because we have bad mental models of the minds of others, even people we are close to. Appealing to their emotions will often backfire.

Hmm, do you have the book available for borrowing purposes?
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