On September 5, 2010, the Anti-Choice Project (ACP) stood at a busy intersection in Silverdale, Washington to protest the killing of babies by abortion.
In a typical reaction to our 4’x3′ signs of first trimester aborted babies, two pro-abortion women, unrelated to each other, approached our volunteers at the same time asserting that men had no right to speak about babies being killed in the womb. In addition, both were upset about their children having to see our signs.
Whether or not it is moral to perform an action that can have both a good effect (here, adults seeing pictures of dead babies) and a bad effect (small children seeing pictures of dead babies) is governed in ethics by the Principle of Double Effect.
Although the conditions of this ethical principle may sound complicated, all of us apply them frequently. A little boy cuts his hand, and his mother puts an antiseptic on the cut. This action has two effects: it causes the boy pain and it wards off infection. Although the mother may not realize it, she actually used the principle of double effect. She performed an action that was good in itself, that had two effects, one of which was bad (pain).
Though the Anti-Choice Project never intentionally shows small children pictures of abortion, it can be foreseen that our strategy will result in their viewing. Employing the criteria of the Principle of Double Effect, we have weighed the “bad effect” against the “good effect” and, since the graphic images change minds, have come to the conclusion that the lives saved from a torturous death matter more than the feelings and emotions of born children.