Another Kind of Graphic Image

Hi folks, I was just reading the newspaper the other day and I came upon an article about cigarette packages. Apparently the government of Canada has imposed a new line of images on the front of them showing the various heath problems and diseases that can happen when one smokes cigarettes. They include a picture of a man dying of lung cancer, as well as reminders of how smoking can hurt both you and the people around you, as well as showing graphic images of lungs diseased by cancer and other disgusting images showing just how badly smoking can mess up your body. Now whatever your opinion on smoking is, I couldn’t help but compare this to the view that our society has taken to abortion. The government in this case forces cigarette companies to put graphic images of dying and dead people, as well as well as medical pictures of cancerous lungs, on the front of packages. In the case of abortion, a procedure with the actual purpose of killing another human being, people who disagree with it can actually be arrested for displaying graphic images which have been deemed “content disturbing or offensive to some people because of its graphic nature” on their own campus, miles away from the nearest abortion clinic. Or compare for a moment the big red sign on the front of cigarette packages that says “Cigarettes cause cancer” to the numerous medical studies linking abortion to breast cancer that have been unilaterally dismissed as junk science by the medical profession. Once again we see the hypocrisy of a society terrified of being labeled “anti-abortion”. Now, I say this in full knowledge of the fact that graphic images are some of the most controversial in the pro-life movement, and believe it or not I do see both sides of this issue. Many say that they are detracting from the real message and I get that. The most important thing is that we get our views out there, and to do this we need to have conversations with people, not gross them out. That being said, if anyone reading this ever does find themselves in a position where they are using graphic images in a protest and someone asks “How can you show such disgusting things” you might try pointing to the nearest cigarette package and asking them what they are really mad about. Just my opinion.

Pro-Choice Harrassment at a Pro-Life Demonstration in Vancouver

This, via The American Catholic, with the full story at

Last Friday the unknown individual approached the pro-life witnesses, who have gathered for several years on the corner of Broadway and Commercial Drive displaying graphic images of aborted babies, and repeatedly kicked, grabbed, and attempted to deface the signs of the pro-lifers.

The incident was caught on film by Campaign Life Coalition BC’s president, John Hof, who has posted the video on YouTube.

Hof said the young man “could not control his emotions as he lashed out at pro-lifers perfectly capable of defending themselves and even other, more elderly protesters. He appeared possessed by rage as he was incapable of engaging in calm conversation and was becoming more and more enraged as the minutes went by.”

Hof related that the person was eventually subdued and told to go on his way by a bystander who was concerned that two small children in the area were getting upset by the attacker’s violent behavior. Police were called but arrived on the scene too late to track down the individual.

Not pretty.

Controversy over pro-life ad which was accepted—then rejected—by Kelowna TV Station reports that

CHBC, the Kelowna local television station that drew national coverage this week after agreeing to air a pro-life ad, has changed its mind, claiming that the ad is too graphic.


The ad has drawn criticism for its inclusion of what has been called a “graphic anti-abortion image.” It portrays an adult hand holding the hand of a baby, and as the camera pans out, it reveals that the hand is, in fact, that of a baby killed by abortion. The ad begins with the slogan: “All those against abortion, raise your hand.”

“In a sense it’s graphic, but there’s much, much more graphic images that are shown on TV these days,” he told LSN. “If you’re going to ban this image, you’re going to have to ban every crime show that’s out there. You’re going to have to ban advertising for upcoming movies, … video games, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Half the content on TV will have to be banned if this sets the standard.”

The ad was produced by Priests for Life, based in New York, and Bartram told LSN earlier this week that he believes it would have been the first time an aborted child appeared on Canadian television.

The good news is that the Streisand Effect; refusing the ad—after having accepted it—has generated a lot of media coverage and rallies in support of the ad.

We embedded this ad on the blog back in December. The only thing controversial about it is the reality of abortion. Why aren’t pro-choicers willing to raise their hands in support of abortion when faced with its direct results? (I have a guess…)


New York Times Front Page Article on Graphic Abortion Images

Wow. Via the Show the Truth Mailing List (Jill Stanek also has detailed coverage), the New York Times did a front page article on the use of graphic images and pro-life work, and actually included the images in its online article.

The photographs are graphic and detailed, showing the fingers or toes of aborted fetuses whose entire frames are no bigger than a cellphone. Since the mid-1990s, they have appeared all over the country — carried as posters by protesters, handed out with pamphlets or, in some cases, mounted like billboards on the sides of trucks.

Like many others, I often wondered about the source of these images. Who took the pictures? Where did the fetuses come from?

A theology professor at Madonna University and the director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, she said she had firsthand experience retrieving fetuses after abortions and photographing them. When we met two days later in her university office, she handed me proof: a series of 4-by-6-inch prints that she shot, which have been turned into portraits by Stephen McGee.

She defended protesters’ use of blown-up imagery — sometimes as large as billboards — as necessary and justified. “In order to see the humanity and beauty of something so small, you have to enlarge it,” she said. “Otherwise, the baby is invisible and dismissed.”

The article is not for the faint of heart. The use of graphic images is controversial, but it’s hard to deny the horror of abortion when you see it up close.

There’s an accompanying slideshow video as well on the New York Times website. It’s amazing that they’re actually taking this topic on.

New Video from the Canadian Centre of Bioethical Reform

This is what choice looks like:


Update As Suzanne points out in the comments, the video (released a few weeks ago from the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform) has been taken down because of a YouTube “Terms of Service violation” — I guess YouTube/Google doesn’t want people to see what choice looks like.

SarahB suggests another video in the comments at ProWomanProLife about pro-life videos on YouTube “disappearing”. We’ll offer that instead:

WARNING: Abortion Causes Dead Babies

RH Reality Check’s “common ground” site on abortion has been anything but a “common ground” so far. Jill Stanek offers her own, no non-sense common ground suggestion.

Obama said yesterday in a meeting with Catholic reporters

“I don’t know any circumstance in which abortion is a happy circumstance or decision, and to the extent that we can help women avoid being confronted with a circumstance in which that’s even a consideration, I think that’s a good thing.”

It sounds an awful lot to me as if Obama thinks there is something wrong with abortion, much like NYC officials think there is something wrong with smoking. Here is their plan, according to AOL News, July 1:

“A proposal from [NYC's] Dept. of Mental Health and Hygiene suggests prominently displaying antismoking signs near the cash registers of all cigarette retailers.

The legislation would be the first of its kind in the U.S. And while Canada, New Zealand and Australia currently have sign requirements, NY would be the first to include graphics…” [note: I've certainly seen graphic signs in Toronto...]

Here are the salient points, from the New York Times:

“It’s really about getting them at the point-of-sale moment,” said Sarah Perl, the health department’s assistant commissioner for tobacco control….

We want them to also think about the consequences about what it will do to them,” Ms. Perl said….

“This type of signage which communicates purely factual information about a commercial transaction is legal,” she said.

Does anyone else see where this is headed?

If we all agree abortion is something be “avoid[ed],” as Obama said, then we could easily launch the same sort of anti-abortion campaign, using “factual information about a commercial transaction” at the “point-of-sale moment,” as Perl stated, of signs showing abortion at abortion mills, since it “can be effective to display gruesome health effects….”

The NYC anti-smoking campaign ad:

NYC anti-smoking campaign

And Jill Stanek’s suggestion:
WARNING: Abortion causes dead babies

Somehow, I’m guessing abortion supporters would call one of these ads “factual” and the other “manipulative.” I’d love to hear someone try to explain why.