8.26.2005

Truth or Intimidation?

Perhaps the biggest organization that utilizes the "truth trucks" is the Center for Bioethical Reform, or CBR for short. Called "The Reproductive Choice Campaign," CBR drives fleets of large trucks with huge pictures of bloody aborted babies plastered on the sides. They are also using airplanes to fly over heavily populated areas with a large picture of an aborted baby flying along behind.

Their tone seems to be one of, "Yes, we know no one really wants to see these pictures, but we have to show them so that people will know the truth about abortion." I recall an interview where someone affiliated with CBR mentioned that any pro-lifer who did not approve of their campaign could not truly be pro-life. Well, I for one am about as pro-life as one can get, and I don't think I could disapprove of their campaign more if someone paid me to do it. Let me tell you why.

1. Children. These pictures are enough to shock an adult. For those of you with kids, can you imagine your little one seeing
this image pass next to them while you are driving down the highway? Would he or she ask you about it? Would they file that image away without talking to you about it? What would you tell your 3-year-old if he or she did ask what it was? As a mother, I do not want my child to learn about abortion this way. CBR makes the claim that "the same risks to children exist every time the television is turned on. Sickening images are likely to appear, even during early prime time." I don't know what kind of sick channel they are watching, but I can assure you that bloody, mangled babies do not flash by the TV screen when my child is watching. I am able to control the images my child sees on TV, but to avoid these trucks when they are in town, I would need to stay inside. That is not feasible for mothers and fathers with children.

2. Post-abortive women who are happy with having had an abortion. Most likely, it will not cause the women who aren't regretting their abortion to see the light. Most likely, it will seem to a woman as if we are on the lunatic fringe since she had an abortion, and it wasn't that bad. This will further solidify for her that pro-lifers are not on her side. Another brick is put onto her wall of denial, and should she ever become repentant, she may not venture toward the pro-life camp because she will think that she cannot identify with them and that we would not want to identify with her. She links all of us together as having the same judgmental attitude.

3. Post-abortive women who have regret. This could do a couple of things to someone who regrets her abortion. (1) It could bring her to her knees in tears for her baby, especially if she has not accepted forgiveness. (2) It could also drive her away from the pro-life people who want to help her because she will think, "I can't go to them for help - look what they think I did!" The message of a bloody picture does not comfort and reach out to these women!

4. Pregnant women. This is where CBR is trying to have the biggest effect. They want pregnant women to shriek in horror and run away from the abortion clinic as fast as they can. This might happen in some cases. These cases are few and far between though. Most women who are contemplating abortion are going to wonder if those pictures are exaggerated. And who are they going to ask? The abortion clinic workers. And what are they going to say? "Of course they are exaggerated dear. Now come on in and lie down on this table."

When a woman is contemplating abortion, for the most part, pro-lifers are the enemy. We want to take her choice away. We want to tell her abortion is a sin. Do you ever notice women walking toward the protesters outside of the abortion clinic? No. What do they do? They run past the protesters straight into the clinic, because they don't want to feel the sting of judgment. They're trying to run away from the thought of the baby they are carrying. They aren't going to look up and think, "This is what abortion will do to my baby...I can't do it." They are going to look down and run toward the abortion clinic, right into the arms of the ones who "care."

I'm a firm believer in that whatever method we use to help women choose to give birth, it should not hurt. They should not be wary of us or our intent. They should be 100% sure that we have their best interests at heart. I do not see the "truth trucks" in line with this method. I do not see a gentle, compassionate, Christ-like attitude in the truth trucks, and when I think, "What would Jesus do?" I cannot see him driving a truck. Can you?

A much better way of doing this is to invest the time and effort (think of the gasoline costs!) into promoting a way to reach women in a gentler way. Outreach programs into colleges for instance - instead of the upsetting
Genocide Awareness Project that CBR puts on. You want to drive trucks around all day? Put some pictures of prenatal development on the sides, although I still don't really think this approach will win many over. Buy some air time on radio stations and TV channels that talk about local pregnancy centers. The point is to do something that isn't so antagonistic. Nobody wins by putting people on edge.

7 comments:

GrannyGrump said...

Actually, when I used to picket I saw about 10% of the women did try to go to the prolifers, but the "escorts" stopped them. About another 10% wouldn't come to us but were receptive if we walked up to them.

Granted, we weren't using nasty fetus pictures.

The Pro-Woman Pro-Lifer said...

Granny, were you protesting or sidewalk counseling?

There's a big difference between peacefully praying or offering help as sidewalk counselors do and shouting and holding signs like the protestors do.

JivinJ said...

PWPL,
Are you totally against using pictures of aborted children or just against the public display of these images?

The Pro-Woman Pro-Lifer said...

Jivinj,

I had to think about this for a bit. :) I am against the use of pictures of aborted children as a way to convince women to choose life unless they request or authorize seeing these pictures.

In the work I do, I have had women request to see pictures of aborted babies as a way to make their decision. I've also seen other women get referred to sites that have these pictures on them without knowing that is what was there, and the women that did not request or okay seeing these pictures were pushed away...they did not want to speak to the person that referred them there, and they ended up having a slanted view of what pro-lifers are motivated to do.

Like I said in the original post, I'm a firm believer in that whatever method we use to help women choose to give birth, it should not hurt. They should not be wary of us or our intent.

So, I'm not upset that these photos exist, although I wouldn't be disappointed if they did not exist. I'm only upset when they are shown in the public or in private to those who do not want to or ask to see them. Does that make sense?

JivinJ said...

Yeah, that makes sense - it's also pretty much how I view the issue. I've also seen (somewhat to my surprise) how pictures of aborted children (if presented in the right way) can sometimes be a wake up call to prolife people who know abortion is wrong but don't quite take that belief to heart. For some people abortion isn't "real" unless they visually see the results.

I've also been wondering for a little bit - does your first name happen to also be a popular type of flower?

The Pro-Woman Pro-Lifer said...

I'm sure you're right re: the pictures waking up pro-life people, but I just think that moving the trucks through will do more harm than the good it might do. Making people aware of these pictures at pro-life walks, rallies, dinners, etc., that's the way to spread the word. Abortionno.org has good traffic because pro-lifers tell other pro-lifers about it. Sharing the message with others isn't wrong, but putting the pictures up where they can hurt women and hurt our cause has got to go.

It wouldn't be any fun if I gave my name away here now would it? :)

Nate said...

I totally agree that it's wrong to drive the trucks around and have graphic photos on them. I think that it does more harm then good, I think it makes people who are militant, even more so. It hurts those who are suffering even more. I totally don't see that as acting in a Christlike manner at all. I really don't. And I also see that as not being very caring or compassionate towards prochoicers or those who are undecided about abortion. I think that people who are totally prolife should see them, they can see why they are prolife, or those who are in the fence should see a few of them, but only with a compassionate prolifer to talk to them about the photos. Why offend people when there are better ways to do things, especially when love and compassion are much batter then being a jerk and being offensive to others? Why turn those who are at least sympathetic to your cause to totally be against your cause?