FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When first confronted with the idea of displaying large abortion pictures in public, it is natural to have questions — even doubts — about such an activity. Here we address in a clear and concise format some of the more frequently asked questions and challenges posed to us over the years.
Have a question not addressed here? We welcome your questions and comments through our contact us page.
What is the Anti-Choice Project?
The Anti-Choice Project (ACP) is a campaign of peaceful, public displays of abortion victim pictures to educate and stimulate dialogue about abortion. For more, visit our About Us page.
Why are you running this campaign?
We are conducting this campaign for a number of reasons. First, abortion is rampant in America. The Guttmacher Institute reports that in 2011, 1.06 million induced abortions were performed, yet few Americans are aware of the magnitude of this daily slaughter.
Also, abortion advocates have for years misled Americans regarding abortion. Using carefully crafted language such as “reproductive freedom”, abortion advocates have created a climate of confusion in which the general public is unclear about who the unborn child is and what abortion does to her.
For instance, many people mistakenly imagine that abortion, especially when done in the first trimester of pregnancy, is a benign procedure that merely removes a small mass of tissue. Planned Parenthood’s website describes abortion as a procedure which “gently empties your uterus.” Our images dispel the confusion and reveal a very different reality: first-trimester abortion is always a brutal act of violence which kills a baby.
There are babies alive today because pregnant women considering abortion saw these kinds of images and changed their minds about killing their babies. Also, these images have helped other women acknowledge the trauma of a past abortion experience, which in turn has allowed them to seek counseling and healing.
And abortion victim images often compel those of good will to intervene; to funnel their time, money and talent into ending the injustice of abortion.
More broadly, the history of social reform is characterized by examples of graphic images being used to dramatize injustice and shock the conscience of the culture. Campaigns to end slavery, child labor, civil rights abuses, and other systematic oppression involved showing the public the humanity of the victim and the inhumanity of his victimization.
What kind of pictures do you use? Where do you get them?
We primarily use pictures of first trimester (prior to 12 weeks’ gestation) abortion, mounted to 3′ X 4′ signs with the word “Choice” written above, and a caption of the aborted baby’s age below.
We obtained our photos through the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. CBR gets them from undisclosed abortion clinics. Doctors willing to kill babies for profit are sometimes willing to photograph their work for profit.
Those pictures are not really abortions, they are just miscarriages.
The Anti-Choice Project uses abortion victim images which were obtained by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR), a pro-life organization based in California and headed up by Gregg Cunningham. In March 2014 ACP learned that CBR is considering legal action against persons at the University of Georgia who have falsely accused CBR of fraudulently misrepresenting pictures of aborted human embryos and fetuses. Executive Director Cunningham explained:
The contention that pictures which CBR represents as abortion photos are actually miscarriages is false and defamatory. The vast majority of CBR’s photos depict first trimester (the first twelve weeks of pregnancy) babies whose bodies bear indisputable evidence of surgical dismemberment, evisceration, and decapitation. Most miscarriages occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and AmericanPregnancy.org reports that “Women can safely miscarry on their own [without surgical intervention in the form of a D&C procedure], with few problems in pregnancies that end before 10 weeks. After 10 weeks, the miscarriage is more likely to be incomplete, requiring a D&C procedure to be performed.” These facts are important because all of the abortions depicted by CBR, whether early-term, mid-term, or late-term, were photographed and filmed at elective abortion clinics, not at hospitals.
Women with pregnancy loss issues don’t generally go to elective abortion clinics, whose focus is pregnancy termination. They go to hospitals, which are far better equipped and staffed, to be treated by an obstetrician/gynecologist. CBR’s photographer has prepared the following affidavit for use (along with his testimony) in any defamation lawsuits we file against persons who accuse CBR of photo fraud: “[His name] certify that, with the exception of one twenty-six week aborted fetus photo (decapitated head in tongs over jar), I personally videotaped and photographed every one of the abortions in progress and aborted embryonic and fetal tissue used by the Center For Bio-Ethical Reform. In so doing, I videotaped and photographed large numbers of abortions at numerous abortion clinics in various locations. Without exception, these images were obtained at abortion clinics which perform elective pregnancy terminations and the images have not been altered in any way.”
One of CBR’s abortion medical experts is Anthony Levatino, MD, JD. Dr. Levatino is a board certified obstetrician/gynecologist, an Assistant Professor of Medicine, an attorney and a former abortionist. He is prepared to authenticate our photos in court and his affidavit reads as follows: “I, the undersigned, having performed induced abortions earlier in my career, have examined the photos depicting the aborted human embryos and fetuses used by The Center For Bio-Ethical Reform in their public education projects (http://www.abortionNO.org). It is my professional opinion that the photos depict aborted human embryos and fetuses and that the depicted aborted human embryos and fetuses are accurately captioned as to age, in weeks since fertilization.” Impugning the authenticity of CBR abortion photos is the same sort of intellectually dishonest, morally bankrupt tactic used by neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers. They say death-camp photos are fake. They say the Holocaust never happened. They say the Final Solution is a slanderous, anti-Arian lie. They say what abortion holocaust deniers say about abortion photos.
Do you advocate violence against abortionists and abortion clinics?
You're just a bunch of men. Men don't have a say!
Every abortion is an act of violence against a baby. Contrary to how some try to frame the debate, abortion is not strictly a women’s rights issue — it is a human rights issue. And human rights issues involve all of society.
Ironically, those who argue that men should not have a say in the abortion debate are often found defending the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision. The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe struck down abortion restrictions in all 50 states. It was a decision made by 9 men.
Why do you call yourselves 'anti-choice'?
Before founding ACP we noted that in many of our conversations with pro-aborts words would be twisted and used as a smoke screen to defend baby killing. The most obvious example of this deceptive tactic is their constant employment of the word “choice.”
We are convinced that abortion remains legal today simply because of the brilliant marketing of abortion under the banner of “choice.” Americans love choice. We love our freedoms; our ability to choose McDonald’s over Burger King, Ford over Toyota, Yale over Princeton, etc. And so abortion was sold to us as another choice.
Once baby killing becomes “Choice,” logic dictates that if you oppose abortion, you are by definition anti-choice.
And in our own experience conducting pro-life work we found so much of our time was wasted arguing this point with pro-aborts and fence-sitters alike: that we aren’t anti-choice — that we think everyone should be able to choose the brand of shoes they wear and the fast food they prefer — but that we are anti-abortion.
But in embracing the pro-abortion label of “anti-choice” we have completely side-stepped their primary argument. It’s no longer a topic of debate. We agree with our opposition: we are decidedly anti-choice when it comes to the choice of killing a baby.
With our organization’s name and with our organization’s method of using abortion victim imagery we have shifted the entire debate away from “choice” and focused instead on what is being chosen. And the minute that happens, we win the argument. Every time.
Why do you use the word 'Choice' on your signs?
Are you associated with a church or particular religious organization?
About the Use of Abortion Victim Photos
Why do you insist on using such graphic pictures to make your point?
Abortion is an act of violence which kills a defenseless baby. Pictures of abortion prove that in a single glance, change minds, and save lives.
In order to effect change in public policy one must first effect change in public opinion. Images of abortion in public drastically reshape the collective mindset of society with regard to its perception of “choice.” As Gregg Cunningham, Director of the Center for Bioethical Reform explains, “When abortion is hidden, abortion is tolerated. When abortion is seen, everything changes.”
By educating complacent Americans about the horror of legalized baby-killing, the Anti-Choice Project seeks to make abortion not just illegal, but unthinkable.
Isn't it illegal to show such offensive pictures in public?
It is not illegal to show abortion pictures in public because such displays are protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Time and again, whenever the question is raised, the Court has reaffirmed the right of individuals to engage in free speech which is offensive and disturbing to others. The question we ask those who disagree in principle is, ‘If it’s wrong to show what goes on in an abortion clinic, why isn’t it wrong to do what goes on in an abortion clinic?’
“[A] principal function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger…If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable” Texas v. Johnson 491 U.S. 397 (1989).
“But above all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content. To permit the continued building of our politics and culture, and to assure self-‐fulfillment for each individual, our people are guaranteed the right to express any thought, free from government censorship” Police Department of Chicago v. Mosley 48 U.S. 92, 93 (1972).
“Much that we encounter offends our esthetic, if not our political and moral, sensibilities. Nevertheless, the Constitution does not permit government to decide which types of otherwise protected speech are sufficiently offensive to require protection for the unwilling listener or viewer. Rather, the burden normally falls upon the viewer to avoid further bombardment of his sensibilities simply by averting his eyes” Erznoznik v. City of Jacksonville, 422 U.S. 210, 211 (1975).
“It would therefore be an unprecedented departure from bedrock First Amendment principles to allow the government to restrict speech based on listener reaction simply because the listeners are children” 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Center for Bioethical Reform v. L.A. County Sheriff Dept., (2007).
“… the State [of California] wishes to create a wholly new category of content-based regulation that is permissible only for speech directed at children. That is unprecedented and mistaken. This country has no tradition of specially restricting children’s access to depictions of violence.” Supreme Court Justice Scalia, Majority Opinion, Brown v. EMA, (2011).
How does your use of graphic images show respect for the dead? Their permission was not obtained to use the images.
Their permission could not have been obtained because they were killed. Many images of atrocities are used without a victim’s permission because of the very circumstances surrounding his or her death. The greatest respect for the dead is in preventing future deaths like theirs. In other words, showing the images, not hiding them, reveres their memory. It creates awareness of an injustice with the expectation that there will be fewer victims in the future because society knows about the victims of the past.
As these images have proved to save lives, what greater respect could be granted to the victim than to allow their unjust death to play a role in saving the life of another innocent person?
By displaying these photos in public aren't you dehumanizing this unborn child?
The child shown in the picture was dehumanized by an abortionist who described the process to a frightened mother as a simple “termination of pregnancy,” or “an extraction of the fetus.” She was dehumanized when her mother thought of her only as a “parasite” or an unwanted “blob of tissue” which she had the “choice” to carry to term or “remove.” She was dehumanized as her body was ripped apart at the end of killing instruments utilizing high-powered vacuum suction. She was dehumanized as her remains were washed down an industrial-strength garbage disposal and into our city’s septic system. She was dehumanized when her father wrote the $400 check to pay for her death.
And now, for the very first time, she is being humanized as the tragic crime committed against her is made known to the public. She is being humanized for the first time as she is no longer thought of in terms of pro-abortion rhetoric. For the first time she’s a child and not a “choice.”
And with her, she humanizes all unborn children.
Do the ends really justify the means?
We may never do evil that good may come of it. But it is important to recall there is a great difference between committing evil and exposing evil. Planned Parenthood is doing the former; we are doing the latter. So this is not a case of evil means justifying a good end. Rather, revealing the horror of abortion through the use of pictures is a good means of achieving a good end.
It is a method of social reform used in every successful movement of the past two centuries including the abolition of slavery, the abolition of child-labor, the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement.
And it is a method of social reform wholeheartedly endorsed by almost every single national pro-life leader including renowned clergymen like Fr. Frank Pavone, Rev. Dr. Childress, Fr. Dennis Wilde, and others.
Would Jesus use graphic, bloody images to make his point?
He already did.
Jesus controlled every aspect of his capture, trial and execution. He permitted to have Himself beaten nearly to death before stumbling through the most crowed part of Jerusalem on the most crowded day of the year. His bloody body horrified throngs of Passover pilgrims which included large numbers of families with young children.
He then permitted himself to be stripped naked and tortured to death in full view of still more passersby, including more children. The Romans used executions to intimidate subjugated peoples. They located crucifixion cites for maximum public exposure. Our Lord accommodated Caesar by going out of His way to make this disturbing spectacle of His death as public as possible. And in the process, He chose as the very symbol of our faith, a bloody instrument of torture. His point was to disturb us with the gravity of our sin but bless us with the grace of His forgiveness, despite the fact that many children would be traumatized in the process. Did He get this wrong?
Why don't you show positive pictures of babies, both in and out of the womb, instead of graphic abortion photos?
Pictures of babies after birth are not as compelling because people see babies all the time, whether in person or in images. They can rationalize killing the unborn, even with exposure to the beauty of born children, because they do not consider the two to be equal. For example, someone may look at a born child and think, “I need to have an abortion before it becomes that, because then there’s nothing I can, or would, do.”
Because of the great ignorance throughout society about who the unborn child is, there is definitely a place for intelligent use of fetal development imagery. New technologies, such as 3D and 4D ultrasound, are a benefit to the pro-life movement.
But fetal development imagery, by definition, only shows fetal development. The public, however, also needs to be educated about abortion. It is one thing to humanize the unborn child; it is another to dehumanize the act of abortion. International pro-life speaker Scott Klusendorf expands on this idea:
When it comes to moral persuasion, many times images of death work better than images of life.
To cite a parallel example, the modern environmental movement got its start with graphic pictures in the late 1960’s. As activist Jerry Mander points out in his book Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, initial attempts to mobilize public support for preservation of the giant redwoods produced a giant public yawn. Breathtaking photographs of majestic trees, though inspiring, did little to incite public anger at the timber industry. So, activists took a lesson from the Vietnam War. Instead of showing pictures of pre-cut trees in all their glory, environmentalists began circulating before and after photos. “We started carrying around photos of acres of stumps where hundreds of redwoods had been cut down. I don’t know if you have ever seen a field of tree stumps, but it is a horrific sight, not unlike a battlefield.”
The public outcry was immediate. “At that moment,” Mander concludes, “I realized that death is a much better subject for television than life. Images of life—whether of trees themselves or the finely-tuned Vietnamese culture—accomplished nothing. They only put people to sleep.”
The same can be said of abortion. The use of graphic pictures is not manipulative, but consistent with other mainstream campaigns of social reform. Shocking pictures have traditionally been used by social reformers to dramatize the injustices of child labor, racial violence against African-Americans, U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, etc. What has changed is that for the first time in recent history, political conservatives are using this tactic in an effort to reform an abortion-tolerating public.
This tactic is appropriate, given we live in a culture that thinks and learns visually. As Neil Postman points out in Amusing Ourselves to Death, with the advent of television, America shifted from a word-based culture—with an emphasis on coherent linear thought—to an image-based one where thinking is dominated by feeling, intuition, and images.
Postman’s point (and mine) is that visual learners have short attention spans. They make decisions based on intuition, feeling, and images. That doesn’t rule out the presentation of facts and arguments, but it does change how they are communicated. It means we must change how people feel as a predicate to changing how they think. Disturbing images change feelings in ways that words cannot.
Pictures of smiling Jewish children do not convey the horror of the Holocaust in the same way images of those same children starving in death camps do. Likewise, pictures of developing embryos and fetuses, while important, do not convey the injustice of abortion the way abortion imagery does.
I'm just uncomfortable with the idea. Is it essential that you show graphic visuals?
In Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” he responds to a group of clergyman who were critical of his tactics in fighting racism in the United States. Even though Dr. King was committed to peaceful methods of opposing segregation, his approach was controversial and bold. King’s insights about the need to daringly confront that injustice yesterday are worth recalling when determining how to confront this injustice (abortion) today:
…I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler [sic] or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating that absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
…Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.
If we claim that the unborn are human and that abortion kills those humans and if we expect to be taken seriously by the culture at large, then we have to ask ourselves: are we responding to the plight of the unborn as we would if they were born? For example, if 2-year-olds were being killed at local hospitals, paid for by our tax dollars, with some of your audience members’ involvement, would you withhold the most compelling evidence of the toddlers’ deaths? Why are we holding a double standard when it comes to exposing the injustice directed towards the most weak and vulnerable of human beings?
Keep in mind that abortion supporters are lying to our children when they claim abortion is a mere “choice.” Why would we facilitate this lie by refusing to show the strongest evidence we have to the contrary? That, however, is exactly what abortion supporters want us to do. You can be sure that Planned Parenthood would ask the same question you just did.
When human lives are on the line, can anyone, in good conscience, exclude the most powerful evidence there is to show that abortion kills children?
What's the difference between showing pictures of abortion and showing sexually explicit pictures in public?
There is an important distinction between images of injustice and sexually explicit images. The former raises awareness about harm to humans that needs to stop. The latter sexually stimulates people and turns human beings into objects. While the former shows the tragedy of how humans have been treated as objects, the latter promotes the treatment of humans as objects for another’s sexual pleasure. The use of abortion imagery is not parallel to the use of sexually explicit imagery. Instead, it is parallel to the widely accepted use of other imagery such as natural disasters and war. Pictures of starving children in Africa are not used to justify sexually explicit images; why, then, would pictures of aborted children create this concern? Finally, there are indecency and obscenity laws already in place that address the use of sexually explicit images.
Reactions of People Who See the Pictures
Where can I find help for a friend who's facing an unplanned pregnancy or who's struggling with the trauma from a previous abortion?
Please refer your friend to the toll-free number 1-800-712-HELP (4357). This is a 24-hour helpline run by an independent organization unrelated to the Anti-Choice Project, and which has no involvement with our campaign. There are also many websites dedicated to helping women in a crisis pregnancy. More resources are available on our Help Available page.
What if a woman who has had an abortion commits suicide upon seeing your signs?
The Anti-Choice Project, founded in 2009, and with its many chapters displaying abortion victim images in cities all across the country, has never heard of such a case.
But for the sake of argument, let us suppose a woman does kill herself. That would be utterly tragic, but it would not mean the exposure of the truth was in any way invalid. The image isn’t what made the woman feel guilty, it was the act that she committed in her past. The image simply brought that pain to the surface, just as any number of things could have: a pro-life billboard or bumper sticker, a friend’s miscarriage, or the familiar sound of a suction machine, etc.
When people are convicted of their mistakes they can do one of three things: deny their responsibility, acknowledge their mistake and resolve to change, or despair. Obviously, one hopes that no one chooses the first and third options. If, however, someone falls into denial or despair, those who are proclaiming the truth are not responsible for that.
The same could be said about a drunk driver who kills an innocent pedestrian and manages to avoid criminal punishment. Should he later be convicted that he made a mistake — and is filled with so much grief that he kills himself — would Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) be responsible for his suicide with their many advertisements condemning drinking and driving?
What about teenagers who see your images? Aren't they too young to see such disturbing pictures?
The answer to this question is clearly no when one realizes that when many teenagers see abortion images, they subsequently choose not to have an abortion.
Consider the following testimonies by teenagers who viewed the graphic images at www.abortionNO.org:
“This has extremely altered my idea of abortion. I am currently pregnant and was considering the idea of abortion. Now… NO WAY!!”
“It has really opened my eyes to what really goes on between closed doors. Abortion is just not right, how can you terminate a innocent sweet baby.”
“I used to be pro-choice, but those images are so disturbing and heart-wrenching that I do not believe in abortion anymore.”
If teenagers are old enough to have abortions, they are old enough to see them — and, tragically, many young girls do have abortions. Of the 25,735 abortions on women of Washington State in 2007, 107 were performed on girls under the age of 15; 4,538 were performed on girls between the ages of 15 and 19. It is therefore crucial that we communicate the truth of abortion to teenagers who would either consider it themselves or know someone who would; especially in a state like Washington, where a minor can procure a surgical abortion without ever notifying her parents. Furthermore, the number of abortions increase amongst women in their early twenties (8,163 on women between the ages of 20 and 24) so it is vital to reach this audience as early as possible.
Not only are images powerful in turning people off of abortion, they are powerful in turning people — including teens — on to addressing the injustice.
Source: Table 4. “Induced Abortions of Residents by Woman’s Age and Weeks of Gestation, 2007,” Washington State DOH, available from www.doh.wa.gov on March 14, 2009.
What about small children who see the horrible images you display?
You may be relieved to know that we aren’t directly targeting children with our campaign — they aren’t the ones perpetrating this injustice nor the ones complicit in it. Therefore, we won’t knowingly go to an area where only children are present, such as a preschool or an elementary school. The reality, however, is that it is impossible to reach the masses in society where no children will ever be present.
If parents with young children see the images, they can practice parental discretion and distract their children as they would if there were a dead deer on the side of the road, or they can seize it as a teaching opportunity. They can gently explain to their children that some people hurt babies but that the people holding the signs are trying to stop that. Furthermore, parents can reassure their children that they will never be hurt like the babies have been hurt because “Mommy and Daddy love you and will keep you safe.”
Sadly, parents sometimes use their children as an excuse for why the images shouldn’t be shown. The reality is that they don’t want to see the images. They may have guilt from past abortions and they don’t want to come to terms with their mistake. After all, children have consciences and they love babies. When children see the images they see a hurt baby and they want to know, “Who hurt the baby?”
It’s worth observing that the parent’s reaction will often determine the child’s reaction. An irate, swearing guilty parent will have a frustrated and confused child. But a calm, rational parent will have a calm child. Such was the case with a 5-year-old who saw graphic abortion images. Her teenage sister gently explained the situation and although the little girl cried, she was moved to pray during family prayer time “…that the doctors will stop killing babies.” Another child, a 9-year-old, who saw a graphic abortion photo went directly to his mother and said, “Mom, I want to stop abortion.”
In 2006, the Calgary Herald newspaper wrote about a 10-year-old homeless advocate who was inspired — at an even younger age — to form a charity to help the homeless. The paper reported that it was her seeing injustice that convicted her to act:
When Hannah Taylor was five years old, she was struck by the unfairness of something she saw that makes most others turn their heads. As she watched a homeless man dig for food in a trash can in Winnipeg, she decided no person should ever have to go without food or a home.
Notice that people are not complaining that young Hannah was victimized by seeing such an injustice. On the contrary, people are inspired by her willingness to do what she can to help the less fortunate and by her refusal to make excuses for their plight. But where is that same attitude towards other children’s seeing the injustice inflicted upon the unborn?
Children have functioning consciences. The question is: do we? If we think we care so much about children, where is our care and concern for the lives of the over 1,000,000 unborn children who are killed each year in the United States?
If you were walking down the street with a 2-year-old and saw a 5-year-old being killed in front of you, would you complain about your 2-year-old merely seeing the injustice, or would you intervene to stop the injustice itself?
Ultimately, when it comes to the question of young children being exposed to the pictures we have to decide for ourselves which it is we care more about: the feelings of born children or the lives of unborn children? We at the Anti-Choice Project operate under the principle that lives trump feelings, and will therefore be using the pictures. We plan to bring them to an intersection near you.
Why should I have to see this while driving in my car?
Is there any place where you wouldn’t object to viewing these images? We have found that in many cases when people complain about seeing the images in public, they don’t want to see them in private either. Many people would prefer that these images be “out of sight” because then they would be “out of mind.”
And that’s the problem: precisely because the horrible truth of abortion is out of most people’s minds is this injustice happening. The reality is that while people drive in their cars, babies are being killed. Our goal is to ensure that Americans living during this holocaust cannot plead ignorance of it, as once did the good citizens of Nazi Germany.
Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that we like these images—we don’t. But human rights abuses don’t end on their own, no matter how much we turn a blind eye. They end only when a society stands up and demands change. And our society will only stand up and demand change on abortion when it is convinced that abortion is a terrible injustice. And there is no better way to convince our visual culture of this fact than to show them what abortion does to babies.
As Father Frank Pavone, Director of Priests for Life explains:
“When a culture is reluctant to learn that abortion is an act of violence which kills a baby, and when so many of those who need to hear the message are complicit in the injustice, people choose to turn away from listening to pro-life talks, attending pro-life events, or reading pro-life brochures. If our educational activity relies primarily on the voluntary consent of the audience we are trying to reach, we will not reach the audience we need to reach.”
How dare you force your views on me!
Where on the signs is any “view” being forced? It shows a picture of an aborted baby next to the word many associate with abortion: “choice.” If you look at that and conclude that our view is that abortion is wrong, what’s really happening is that, upon viewing the evidence of what abortion does to an innocent person, your conscience is telling you that abortion is wrong. Gregg Cunningham put it this way: “If something is so horrifying we can’t stand to look at it, perhaps we shouldn’t be tolerating it”.
Why don't you hold presentations and debates in a hall where people can choose to receive the message?
A society in the midst of committing and permitting an injustice does not willingly or easily admit its own wrongdoing. People rarely acknowledge evidence of their own complicity in injustice; even fewer seek out such evidence. The people who need to see this message simply will not go out of their way to view it in large enough numbers to stop this injustice. So we must go out of our way to bring it to them—we must make abortion impossible to ignore or trivialize.
Such is the case with any social reform movement. As the great civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “…freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed”).
But because unborn children cannot speak for themselves, the Anti-Choice Project will demand their freedom on their behalf.
Won't your use of images just get people angry?
Just because people get upset, it does not follow that we should cease proclaiming the truth. In fact, such instances are often tests of our determination. United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas makes this insightful point:
Again, by yielding to a false form of ‘civility,’ we sometimes allow our critics to intimidate us. As I have said, active citizens are often subjected to truly vile attacks; they are branded as mean-spirited, racist, Uncle Tom, homophobic, sexist, etc. To this we often respond (if not succumb), so as not to be constantly fighting, by trying to be tolerant and nonjudgmental—i.e., we censor ourselves. This is not civility. It is cowardice, or well-intentioned self-deception at best.
For people who are determined to avoid the truth about abortion, they will use anything as an excuse to dismiss the pro-life message. If we tailor our message to “tickle their ears” we won’t be proclaiming our message; we’ll be proclaiming theirs.
That is not to say we will make people angry for the sake of making them angry. We present our message with great respect and concern for the brokenness in the crowd. It is one thing to communicate a message strategically, so that people will consider it; it is quite another to entirely leave out a fundamental portion of your message because some people won’t like it. If anger results, it’s from the inner conflict of hearing truth but not wanting to accept it because of the change it requires to one’s life. That type of inner conflict is healthy — it will force the individual to consider and reconsider his or her views.
Keep in mind that any time people profess a message the world needs to hear but does not want to hear, some individuals will get upset. They got upset with the Christian martyrs, with Mahatma Gandhi, with Martin Luther King, Jr., with Mother Teresa, and with many others.
The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform’s executive director Gregg Cunningham points out the following:
Serving God means confronting evil. Confronting evil provokes controversy. Paul was such a ‘troublemaker’ in the Book of Acts that many of his listeners conspired to kill him in Damascus (Acts 9:23), attempted to kill him in Jerusalem (Acts 9:29), ran him out of Antioch (Acts 13:50), threatened his life in Iconium (Acts 14:5), stoned him and left him for dead in Lystra (Acts 14:19), attacked and beat him in Macedonia (Acts 16:22), stormed his residence in Thessolonica (Acts 17:5), drove him from Berea (Acts 17:13), dragged him before the authorities in Corinth (Acts 18:12) and attempted to silence him with mob violence in Ephesus (Acts 19:29). Paul also incited two riots in which he was almost killed in Jerusalem, the city in which the Book of Acts ends with a description of plot to assassinate him (Acts 21:30-31, Acts 23:10, 6-7, Acts 23:10, Acts 23:12).
Great spiritual leaders would not have changed the world if their primary concern was to avoid people getting angry. People were angry at Christ. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have crucified Him.