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On Graphic Images of Abortion
From a reader (who really needs a blog of his own):
What is your opinion on showing graphic images of aborted fetuses in public?
He included a link to this article from WorldNutDaily:
Prominent pro-life advocate Bryan Kemper is questioning Facebook after it removed his pro-life message, a move that followed on the heels of the company’s decision to allow the posting of directions on how to perform an abortion at home...
Kemper and his associate, Andy Moore, of abortionwiki.org, created a version of the popular “What They Think I Do” graphic that have been going viral on Facebook.
Their graphic was entitled “Abortionist” and the final frame was a photo of a baby killed in an early abortion...
Just last month, the popular social media site issued an apology to Rebecca Gomperts for temporarily censoring her do-it-yourself abortion instructions she had posted as her profile picture.
But this week Kempers’ message was shut down and he wants pro-life Facebook users to sound the alarm.
Quick thoughts, because I have a BIG POST to finish tonight, and also an email to my sister, and some audio drama lines to record.
Graphic images of abortion are, tactically speaking, one of the most powerful weapons in the anti-abortion armory. However, that sword cuts both ways: they can both dramatically harm and dramatically help the cause. Everyone knows this.
Graphic images of abortion are most effective at changing hearts and minds when the viewer gives some measure of consent before viewing them. When a pro-choicer is presented with the opportunity to see some of the "aborted products of conception," if he is intellectually honest, he will want to prove to himself that this particular anti-abortion line of argument is just a trumped-up emotional appeal like he's been told, so he can laugh it off in the future. So he will consent, and our pro-lifer will show him. That's when pro-choicers suddenly realize that a dead baby is not an "emotional appeal." That's when conversions happen. Our side knows this.
Something in the human heart rebels at being confronted with injustice it helps perpetrate without any consent on the oppressor's part. Ambushing an oppressor with a picture of the evil in which they participate doesn't open his eyes to what he's doing. Quite the opposite: it tends to train him to numb himself against what he's doing. He will react defensively. This is simply original sin, and no pro-lifer can do anything about it. Our side knows this, too.
Yet we still ambush people with these images, even though the damage from doing so far outweighs the tactical benefit! There's a good reason for that: justice demands it. There's a very deep human impulse, close to the pro-lifer's heart, that holds that every injustice is made worse when those responsible, with the power to stop it, refuse to even admit what they are doing. Hitler could have done nothing if the good German citizens of the quaint country towns of Buchenwald and Dachau had, for just one moment, opened their blind eyes and acted like human beings. After the war, they denied responsibility and slunk back to their homes, facing no accounting for their role in the mass murder of 12 million Europeans in the concentration camps. This was unjust. Pro-lifers do not wish to afford the pro-choicers of our era the bland excuses their propaganda suggests. We want justice. When this is over, we want them ashamed. I think we all know that, in truth, a full accounting of justice over abortion belongs to God alone, but we are human and cannot help ourselves wanting. Some organizations succumb to the temptation to pursue this impulse even when it hurts the overall cause -- take the Facebook image in question, for example.
Ending abortion is far more urgent than perfecting the circumstances of punitive justice in some hypothetical future when we've already ended abortion. We must, as a movement, abandon or refine tools that lead to more dead babies, and that includes graphic images of said dead babies.
For these reasons, I did not initially share the image in question. I briefly did repost it after the censorship, but realized that Facebook actually has a leg to stand on in its case: it also does not appear to allow photographs of Holocaust victims or other gruesome but commonplace images of dead people. Its community guidelines give it broad discretion to remove an image like this. Ms. Gompert's how-to guide on murdering children is a much grayer area. So I relented. In toto, my image was probably up for no more than a minute.
This is all straight from brain to screen here, so I apologize in advance for any unclear bits or logical errors I make. That's why I class these under Mere Opinion, after all.