Skip to comments.Are graphic abortion images effective? An interview with a Baltimore pro-life activist
Posted on 07/18/2012 1:17:43 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
A few weeks ago I was asked to join some pro-life activists in holding signs on Route 1 just south of Washington, D.C. Joining the group to hold up a genteel pro-life sign, I was shocked to see a number of signs showing graphic images of aborted babies. This led to a discussion with Jonathan Darnel, who had brought the signs, both in person and over the phone. Jonathan was convinced that such graphic images are actually effective, and despite my disagreement with portions of his argument I felt his argument was surprisingly valid and had more potential to convince Americans to become pro-life than Id realized. Below is a follow-up interview to that discussion.
Dustin Siggins: What is your organization and what do you do?
Jonathan Darnel: Ive never signed on a dotted line, but right now Im working with the Center Bioethical Reform (CBR), with the Maryland chapter. The mission of CBR is to alter public opinion on abortion through interacting with the public, using a variety of methods. Most of these methods incorporate images of the victims of abortion and a good, solid argument. For example, we have a traveling packet that we take to colleges. It consists of a number of panels of aborted children juxtaposed with atrocities from human history, such as Holocaust victims.
DS: When I met you, we discussed the effectiveness of this kind of tactic, and I mentioned that I think its very aggressive and could easily scare undecided people away from the pro-life movement. Is that correct?
JD: Thats a common concern among pro-lifers. I guess I understand that. When I first went to a CBR event, I didnt want to stand next to the signs. After a while, I was much more comfortable. You see a wide spectrum of reactions to stuff like this. Yes, there are folks who react angrily that we would act in this nature. However, most of those people are pro-choice in the first place. A lot of pro-lifers are afraid we are going to embarrass them, but similar to Martin Luther King who was told he was too radical were mostly just shaking up the system.
As an individual, I dont use the images exclusively. They need to be part of the repertoire. However, I am working on a series of signs that will have an embryo and an infant, and compare the sizes and ask what makes this a person? Is it size, intelligence, etc.? I want to show how claims that the unborn are not people are just spurious, since you could apply that to the disabled or elderly.
DS: What does holding a sign on a road do?
JD: It probably doesnt affect people too deeply, but with the Face the Truth tour you want to impact many people a little. Id rather engage people in one-on-one conversations, but you can at least show them an image and give them a quick, pithy message. That is not useless. At the very least, it demonstrates to the neutral crowd that there are some people who care enough to get involved.
I think it keeps people thinking about the issue. If we get people to think about the issue, we win. Our argument is completely solid. Our biggest enemy is silence. We could make all the mistakes in the world, but its better than being silent.
DS: Is there evidence that holding signs on a road are effective?
JD: We believe this is effective for two reasons: The CBR website has many testimonies at www.AbortionNo.org (click on Public Education Projects) showing how graphic images have changed peoples minds. Additionally, were simply capturing tactics from past movements that took to the streets. Abolitionists, the womens movement, civil rights movement activists, and others took to the streets at points, and abolitionists even took free slaves on tours and had them take their shirts off to show their scars. Was it controversial? Probably. But it doesnt make it wrong.
Let me put it this way: If you were a German citizen who could publicly show the atrocities being done to Jews to the public in the way we do today, would you do it?
DS: True, but many Germans probably believed killing Jews was bad. The Nazi Party was only a small percentage of the nations citizens. Meanwhile, only 50% of Americans are pro-life, and of that 50% many support abortion in some cases. Holding up graphic images could very well cause them to turn away in discomfort or anger, not respond with an open mind.
JD: Well, I find that while many Americans who support abortions say they support abortion, many do not understand what that means. Something like 60% of Americans support Roe v. Wade should still be the law of the land, yet about three-quarters thought abortion should be illegal after the first trimester. Clearly, they fail to understand the laws and practical application of those laws as they relate to abortion, in this country.
I have met many people who say they are pro-choice but have never seen an abortions impact or thought about being pro-life. I dont think most people support abortion. I think most tolerate it. This is why we show our arguments every place we can. We show what the abortion industry tries to hide.
One of those clowns with the signs waved one of those signs at my wife after she miscarried. Then again a couple days later outside my work - I told him to back off and he pushed on and got even more agitated.
It’s a disgusting tactic used by people that don’t think outside their narrow “stop abortion” focus. The people that wave them tend to be as rotten and ugly as the folks on the other side - self-absorbed, reckless and inconsiderate in every aspect.
Not effective for keeping women from getting the deed done. 4-d ultrasounds in utero on video will go a longer way to change hearts and minds. Pay for tv time and just show the video of little baby floating around sucking its thumb, smiling to pretty music.
Meanwhile shutdown these hell-hole clinics that you wouldn’t even take your dog to for a spaying. Do this thru increased requirements and reporting that any other “health care” clinic must do.
Bloody fetuses just make innocent bystanders turn their heads. How does that help?
Abortion images are graphic.
Post one here on this thread.
See if it doesn’t get deleted.
The only way to prove an unborn baby is not a “mass of cells” is to show the dismembered body parts of the “mass of cells.”
Even holding up “Abortion Stops a Beating Heart” or signs like that, I’ve been keenly aware of the people who stare straight ahead to avoid seeing the signs. Those are the people I worry about, and I pray for them, because they may be dealing with their own hurt over this issue. Anytime a person holds up a sign there’s that chance, and hopefully anybody holds up a sign they are sensitive to that.
I’ve had one child stillborn at 42 weeks and another miscarried at 12 weeks. I’m really sad that you and your wife have been through that. The person holding up that sign probably had no idea, which is a reason for people who hold up ANY kind of sign to not be too quick to judge other people’s responses. We have no way of knowing what they may be dealing with. Hopefully that knowledge will make us humble and winsome.
When images are graphic, there is danger of little ones seeing them, which is not a good idea, and that’s one reason why I would shy away from graphic signs in places where children would come.
Sometimes, though, it’s the little ones who force the grown-ups to see with true eyes. Jean Garton was a pro-choicer who was watching “The Silent Scream” in order to rebut it. She hadn’t realized that her young son had walked into the room until he looked up at her, heart-broken by the image on the screen, and asked her, “Who broke the baby?” That changed her life.
My mom wasn’t sure when there is a human soul (which was the issue in her mind) so I was undecided on the issue until I was in junior high, when the local Right to Life group sent a pamphlet in the mail that had the images of aborted fetuses. I had nightmares from it, but that began my quest to stop the violence of abortion.
Much like the reality of the Holocaust became real to me when we went to a presentation in school where the footage of the liberation of the concentration camps was shown. Once you’ve seen something like that, it changes you.
I had a similar thing just a few years ago when I made the mistake of clicking on a link showing a 14-year-old Pakistani boy sawing off the head of an “infidel” with a dull knife. As soon as I saw the blood I went woozy and tried desperately to stop the video before I could see any more but I was feeling shock-like symptoms before I could get it off. I was shaking. I had wanted to see the movie “The Stoning of Soraya M” but I was afraid I would have the same reaction. I don’t click to see stuff like that any more. It’s one thing to see blood and gore when you know it’s fake, but when it’s real, I just can’t handle it. It’s too real, too painful. Cuts me open like a knife.
I don’t look at photos of aborted fetuses now. It hurts too much. I don’t want people showing me photos of aborted fetuses. But I am thankful that somebody did about 20 years ago.
The truth is often ugly, and often effective.
Actually, it is less the graphic nature than the target audience that will drive the pro-abortionists nuts.
They have poured resources into targeting poor, black, inner city women. They are the abortionists #1 targets, to kill as many black babies as possible.
The one time the pro-life movement unfurled a banner in the inner city, the abortionists lost their marbles. They called in every IOU they had to get the local government to take it down.
So, graphic or not, if the pro-life movement wants to take the fight right to the doorstep of the pro-abortion movement, it needs to do so in the inner city.
Likely, all it would take is a ream of 8.5x11 paper and a copy machine. Then flyers could be put up all over the place. It would strike at the heart of the monster.
<The truth is often ugly, and often effective.
Yep. I was pro abortion until I saw some graphic images, right from a link here on FR. These ‘clumps of tissue’ were obviously babies and I immediately changed my stance.
I don’t know if having a poster shoved in my face would have done the trick, but having the time to look at the images, without a crowd screaming around me, and to think about the whole process, enabled me to change my mind.
They are as effective as graphic stop smoking ads.
My community’s Halloween parade frequently had a float entered by a local activist titled “Dr. Butcher’s Shop of ‘Choice’ Cuts”.
Things got ugly and a long-standing parade nearly got put out of business.