“Within twenty years, we will abolish abortion in Canada.”
Today I write as a convert. I used to be against the use of graphic images in the cultural debate on abortion. However, after attending a revolutionary presentation led by the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform, I changed my mind.
The evening began with the testimonies of summer interns who had been traveling across Canada, publically displaying graphic images. Each person had a story of someone they encountered who had been converted against abortion by the power of the pictures.
This was strongly moving, but I still had my doubts: was it really as effective as all that? I have friends, after all, who have confessed to me that when they see protestors with graphic images they simply do not want to engage in conversation anymore. Furthermore, could it not harm a post-abortive woman to see such pictures? Lastly, shouldn’t we protect children from witnessing such horror?
Jonathan Van Maren began to speak about the history of justice movements in the past couple centuries. He spoke about William Wilberforce fighting to abolish the slave trade in England, he spoke of Emmett Till, victim to racism in the United States in 1955, and he spoke of Lewis Hine’s mission to expose American child labour some fifty years prior.
What linked the method of these justice movements together? The use of images, for images speak directly to hearts and posess a power that words and pure reason do not. The British Abolitionsists spread pictures of slave-crammed boats, Emmett Till’s mother insisted that her son’s casket be open at the funeral so as to reveal his mutilated body, and Lewis Hine sneaked into labour houses to take pictures of children at work. If you want to change a society’s mind, reveal to it precisely what it believes in.
Stephanie Gray then stepped forth and argued with the grace and intelligence and reason that befits the truth. She knocked down my (by now, very weak-kneed) objections:
- Pictures in themselves are not traumatic to women: abortion is. The pictures may trigger trauma in a post-abortive woman, but so may many other things she personally associates with her abortion. We have the obligation to try to protect women from the trauma of abortion.
- Children, Stephanie argued, are troubled because they have an innate sense for right and wrong. It is good to affirm a child’s horror and sense of wrong before such pictures and tell them that the baby in the picture was hurt but that the people holding the signs are fighting to stop other babies from being hurt, and then to reassure the child that she or he is protected.
“Like a boil that can never be cured as long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must likewise be exposed, with all of the tension its exposing creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)
Who can argue against the truth? Not I! Besides, I have heard no other pro-life organization speak so confidently about winning this culture war—not sometime in the airy future—but within twenty years. And I believe it. We will witness, we will reason, we will fast and pray, and we will, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, who wishes to destroy our race.
I invite you, and indeed I beg you on behalf of those pre-born children whose lives are going to be at the whim of “women’s choice” from 2012-2032, to give from your heart to this organization which promises to bring us a culture of life within a single generation, whether it be a poor widow’s mite or a rich businessman’s largess: http://www.unmaskingchoice.ca/donate.