File 125

Frequently Asked Questions

At the following links, the Frequently Asked Questions about our projects are answered:
What is the connection between the Holocaust against the Jews, the lynching of blacks, and abortion?

At the time the Holocaust happened, were the Jews considered to be valuable human beings equal to Aryans? At the time blacks were lynched, were they considered deserving of the same rights as whites? Today, as abortion occurs, the pre-born are considered inferior to the born. In each of these cases then, there is a vulnerable class of people targeted for killing.

Societies that commit and permit genocide begin the atrocities by dehumanizing the victim class, calling them non-persons, parasites, cockroaches, sub-human, animals, etc. In Germany, the Nazis made it lawful to kill Jews. In the United States, slave owners and racists made it lawful to enslave and even kill black people. In Canada, the Supreme Court has permitted the killing of the pre-born throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

Although the atrocities are not identical, there is a strong similarity: huge numbers of dead victims who have been denied their personhood on the basis that they are a burden and/or have something that is useful to the rest of society.i Jews were considered responsible for the social ills in Germany, and yet the Nazis also considered this "burden" to be a "benefit": the Jews had bodies that the Nazis used for medical experiments. Whites considered blacks useful for slave labour yet when they became a "nuisance" they would lynch them. And today in Canada, the pre-born are often deemed a problem ("unwanted, unplanned pregnancies") and yet society is now finding a supposed "benefit" from the burdensome group through embryonic stem cell research.

i Gregg Cunningham, "Why Abortion is Genocide," p. 2 online, p. 8–9 in print (http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/abortion.html).

How can you be so insensitive to people of Jewish and African ancestry? These signs offend them.

Are all Jewish and African-Americans offended? Of the ones that actually are offended, are they offended by atrocities being compared to one another generally, or specifically that abortion is compared to historical atrocities?

At the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., there is an exhibit that shows images of recent atrocities including pictures from Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. A quote in that section by Holocaust-survivor Elie Wiesel says the following: "A memorial unresponsive to the future would violate the memory of the past."

If it is legitimate to compare what happened during World War II to what happened in Rwanda, why not also to what happens in Canada? Are people offended by the comparison of abortion to the Holocaust because they don’t believe the pre-born are humans? Do they believe, as Paul Spiegel, the head of Germany's Central Council of Jews, says, "there is an enormous difference between mass genocide and what women do to their bodies"?i That perspective is precisely why the comparison is being made: many in society today do not acknowledge the humanity of the pre-born just as societies of the past did not acknowledge the humanity of their victims. The pictures themselves are offensive because injustice is offensive. The comparisons are offensive to those who are guilty of committing or permitting a less-acknowledged injustice that is conceptually similar to a more recognized one.

In the fall of 2000, the Jewish Association at the University of British Columbia, Hillel, set up their annual exhibit entitled, "Holocaust Awareness Week." They displayed disturbing images of the horrendous slaughter of Jews and others during (and preceding) WWII. Also that week, they hosted several presentations, one of which drew attention to the recent genocide in Rwanda. One of the presenters said, to paraphrase, "‘Never again’ doesn’t just mean ‘never my people.’ It means never again for all people, for all of humanity."

i Stephen Ertelt, "Pope Criticized by German Jews for Comparing Abortion to Holocaust," LifeSiteNews.com, available from http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/feb/05022306.html, viewed February 19, 2005..

 

How are these pictures the same? The Holocaust involved murdering human beings who had lives and families. Abortion is a matter of "choice."


Actually, the parallels are great. No form of genocide exactly mirrors another, but in the Holocaust against the Jews, it was the "choice" of the Nazis to kill Jews; it was also legal. Now it is a legal "choice" to kill innocent pre-born babies. These babies do have lives and families, but their families are taking away their lives.

How dare you compare women to Nazis?

Where on the posters do you see a picture of a woman next to a picture of a Nazi? The posters are a comparison of the victims of historical atrocities and victims of present atrocities. Comparisons, by their nature, have similarities as well as differences (otherwise they would be categorized as identical rather than merely comparable). We recognize there are differences between abortion and the Holocaust just as there are differences between the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide. However, there are also significant similarities, one of them being that the victims are denied their personhood status. The victims of abortion, like the victims of the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide, are stripped of their value and viewed as sub-human, even animalistic. Jews were considered to be "vermin" and "parasites" and Tutsis were called "cockroaches." Today that dehumanizing sentiment remains, only it is directed towards a different group: the pre-born.

Why are you calling this the Genocide Awareness Project? Abortion isn't genocide.

Webster’s New World Encyclopedia defines genocide as "The deliberate and systematic destruction of a national, racial, religious, political, cultural, ethnic, or other group defined by the exterminators as undesirable." i

Abortion is most definitely deliberate, with the intent and action directly targeting the pre-born for death, as well as the killing machines (e.g., suction machines) being designed for that purpose.

Abortion is also systematic: one in four pre-born babies’ lives is ended by abortion in Canada.ii Since its legalization, almost three million babies have been killed. In a country where private health clinics are not allowed, exceptions are made for abortions which are performed in clinics across the country, as well as at certain hospitals. In fact, according to the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League’s website on September 30th, 2004, there were 196 locations in Canada that provided abortions.iii Furthermore, the people doing the killing are trained medical professionals: doctors and nurses. Finally, the cost of the killing is paid for by Canadians’ tax dollars. You can’t get more systematic than that.

Imagine that abortion, however, is not the issue. Society once considered women to be non-persons (who could not vote, for example), so let’s imagine society is once again in that situation, but where men can beat and kill their wives if they want to. Imagine such behaviour is permitted by the government. Imagine the government is paying for men to kill their wives. Imagine that "Men’s Rights" groups are established all over the country, where they proclaim, "Every wife a wanted wife." But if you don’t want your wife anymore, you can "terminate" the marriage by taking her to a hospital or clinic and have a doctor kill her (after all, if you don’t want her, you want to be sure no one else gets her either). Imagine that this isn’t the outcome for all women (although it could be because no law states otherwise), but that it happens to "only" 1 in 4 women and that the other 3 are just lucky enough to be married to fine men. Would you not consider this organized mass-killing to be genocide?

 

i Prentice Hall General Reference, 1992.
ii In 2002, 105,154 abortions were performed (Statistics Canada, Pregnancy Outcomes by Age Group (Induced Abortions) http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/hlth65c.htm, viewed July 25, 2005). There were 443,355 pregnancies in 2002 with 328,802 Canadian women giving birth and a smaller number miscarrying (Statistics Canada, Pregnancy Outcomes by Age Group (Total Pregnancies), http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/hlth65a.htm, viewed July 25, 2005 and Statistics Canada, Pregnancy Outcomes by Age Group (Live Births), http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/hlth65b.htm, viewed July 25, 2005). According to Statistics Canada, 9399 pregnancies ended in fetal loss (miscarriage) (Statistics Canada, Pregnancy Outcomes by Age Group (Fetal Loss), http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/hlth65d.htm, viewed July 25, 2005).
iii www.caral.ca. In 2005, CARAL closed its doors and as of March 9, 2006 their website is not functional.

Why are you here? How dare you bring these ugly signs to my campus!

The university campus is a marketplace of ideas. Our point of view is held by millions of people, but it is not being taught in the classroom. We are here to expose the truth about abortion. We want to spare pre-born children from extermination and we want to spare women from the grief that follows abortion. The academic institutions and the media aren’t showing people what abortion is and does, so we are here on tax-funded property exercising our freedom of expression rights on behalf of defenseless pre-born children.

Your signs just make people angry. How is that going to achieve your goal?

Arthur Schopenhauer once said, "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." We know that some students are intellectually honest enough to examine the issue and change their minds as result of seeing these pictures and talking with us. Furthermore, if people are angry they need to ask themselves: "why?"

In 1908, an American photographer, Lewis Hine, was hired by the U.S. National Child Labor Committee to photograph images of children working long hours, often in dangerous conditions, being robbed of their childhood.i When speaking to an audience Hine once remarked, "Perhaps you are weary of child labor pictures. Well, so are the rest of us, but we propose to make you and the whole country so sick and tired of the whole business that when the time for action comes, child labor pictures will be records of the past."ii We echo that sentiment when it comes to exposing the reality of abortion.

TIME Photographer James Nachtwey documents images he took in the 1990s in his book "Inferno." Nachtwey traveled to many dangerous parts of the world and photographed disturbing scenes in places like Rwanda, Sudan, and Bosnia. He said, "I am trying to upset people. I am trying to interrupt their day."iii

In the same way, the fact that people get angry is not a deterrent to our exposing these images. People should be angry about injustice; they should be moved out of their complacency.

i "The History Place: Child Labor in America 1908–1912: Photography of Lewis W. Hine," available from http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/childlabor/about.htm, viewed November 29, 2005.
ii http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/IRhine.htm, viewed November 29, 2005.
iii Richard Lacayo, Book Review of Inferno, James Nachtwey, Time Online Edition, available from http://www.time.com/time/daily/special/photo/inferno/book.html, viewed November 29, 2005.

Don’t you think it’s disgusting to show these pictures?

Is it more disgusting to visually educate people about abortion than for abortionists to perform abortions? What’s really disgusting is that abortion is happening and that people are more concerned about their comfortable lives being bothered than they are concerned about the babies’ lives that are being violently ended.

Don’t you care about women who have had abortions? Don’t you think your pictures cause them pain?

Abortion hurts women because abortion kills children. 48% of women who have abortions have already had at least one previous abortion.i We want to spare them and their children more suffering.

Furthermore, if abortion is a good action then why would a picture of it cause pain? If people feel bad upon viewing the images, doesn’t that mean their consciences are convicting them about the action and not about the image? Many women are in denial about the wrongness of abortion and that denial is maintained by a culture that tells them their actions were okay. Although many women instinctively feel the opposite of what society tells them, they often do not address those feelings because it would hurt too much to acknowledge that. This tension is then buried, making the situation worse. As painful as it can be to come to terms with the truth, that recognition can move women out of denial and into healing, through post-abortion counselling.

To choose maintaining a lie over telling the truth is to choose short-term gain for long-term pain. Showing the truth is evidence that we do, in fact, care about women and their long-term happiness.

i "Facts in Brief: Induced Abortions in the United States," Alan Guttmacher Institute, May 18, 2005, available from http://www.agi-usa.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html, viewed November 29, 2005.

What right do you have to judge anyone?

Was killing Jews right? Was killing Tutsis right? If you say no, then you’re being judgmental too. You’re being judgmental about some forms of genocide; we’d like you to join us in being judgmental about all forms of genocide.

Who gave you permission to do this? What right do you have to be here?

Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d) freedom of association.

Furthermore, universities across the country have academic freedom policies that outline students’ rights to express their views. McMaster University has a policy which states, "Behaviour which obstructs free and full discussion, not only of ideas which are safe and accepted but of those which may be unpopular or even abhorrent, vitally threatens the integrity of the University, and cannot be tolerated."i The University of British Columbia has a similar quote in its policy.

i "Statement on Academic Freedom," December 14, 1994, McMaster University, available from http://www.mcmaster.ca/senate/academic/acafreed.htm, viewed March 9, 2006."Academic Freedom: Introduction," Calendar 2005/2006, The University of British Columbia, available from http://students.ubc.ca/calendar/index.cfm?tree=3,33,86,0, viewed March 9, 2006.

Who sponsors (or pays for) this exhibit?

This exhibit is run by the local campus pro-life club. The project was created by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) in the United States; its affiliate, the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR), assists pro-life clubs in the planning of the activity. The campus pro-life club raises funds to purchase their own set of project materials.

Do you shoot abortionists and bomb clinics?

Absolutely not. CCBR condemns all forms of abortion-related violence and will not collaborate with groups or individuals who fail to condemn such violence.

I’m concerned about your use of graphic abortion visuals because I think the images of aborted children violates the pre-born's dignity, reduces the pre-born to things, as well as denies human remains the respect they deserve, such as a proper burial.

There is a critical difference between committing evil and exposing evil. It is the former that reduces the pre-born to things, not the latter.

What violates the human dignity of pre-born human beings is the act of abortion which dismembers their tiny bodies. What denies human remains the respect accorded them are the abortion advocates who dispose of the precious human body as though it were "medical waste." What reduces human life to things is the Culture of Death—a culture in which women place their bodies on the altar of convenience to sacrifice their own children to gods of selfishness, a culture in which boyfriends and husbands abandon their girlfriends, wives, and offspring, creating countless "orphans and widows," a culture in which parents pressure their children to kill their own grandchildren to spare shame on their family, a culture in which those who should know better "[pass] by on the other side"i in order to avoid personal responsibility for stopping the shedding of innocent blood.

We who peacefully fight these injustices by bringing what is in darkness into the light (Ephesians 5:11) are fulfilling our God-ordained duty to "rescue those who are being taken away to death; [to] hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter." ii

Graphic images are routinely used to communicate the reality of injustices and to compel people of good will to intervene: newspapers and magazines showed images of people killed by the 2004 tsunami in southeast Asia; television stations show footage of bombed civilians in war-torn countries; campaigns against starvation show images of malnourished children with distended stomachs living in deplorable conditions; the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., displays pictures of the bodies of Jews killed during World War II.

Far from violating human dignity or reducing human beings to things, such graphic imagery compels people with functioning consciences to funnel their money, their time, and their talent towards ending these crises.

When there are mass atrocities taking place, the greatest respect one can show for the dead is to prevent future deaths like theirs. After all, insisting upon a respect for the dead (while certainly laudable) should at least be matched with a determination to achieve respect for the living. It is cold comfort to victims of injustice to be given a "proper burial" by those who, at best, murmured weakly in opposition to their slaughter in the first place.

Moreover, showing images of victims, not hiding them, reveres their memory. It creates deeper awareness of injustice so that, with a better informed societal conscience, mindful of the victims of the past, generations current and future will be more vigilant against attacks on human rights and on human dignity.

i Luke 10:31
ii Proverbs 24:1

But the end does not justify the means!

You are certainly correct that the end does not justify the means, but that principle refers to employing immoral means to produce a good end. We aren’t using immoral means to save babies from being killed.

Quite to the contrary, the authority of common sense compels people to expose injustice whenever it occurs. Victimizers want their deeds hidden. ("For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed."i ) But victims want their plight revealed, both for themselves and any who are victimized after them. Amidst this "contest of wills," the ABCs of human morality and decency are this: an act of violence is occurring. It is hidden. Those who know this are obligated to expose it in an effort to bring its end. It is that basic and simple.

i John 3:20

But your visual projects do not provide counselling to women and men who are suffering from post-abortion grief.

It is important to see our visual projects as an integral part of a greater whole rather than in isolation from the rest of the pro-life movement. Various post-abortion ministries already exist (e.g., Project Rachel, Rachel’s Vineyard, and post-abortion bible studies). One of the aims of GAP and the Reproductive Choice Campaign (RCC) is to channel the wounded to such help centres.

The following scripture verse provides insight into the philosophy of working in tandem with other approaches:

Now the body is not a single part, but many. ...if an ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body,’ it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. ...The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you.’ i

Many women and men are in denial and tragically are not pursuing the help of post-abortion ministries. By exposing the evil of abortion, GAP and RCC make denial much more difficult and lead some to admit personal responsibility for their wrongdoing and to repent; in turn, they experience forgiveness and find healing with the aid of help centres.

In May 2001, our American affiliate, CBR, reported the following from a sponsor of GAP at the University of North Carolina: "Our parish priest stopped me on the way into mass and told me a woman who had seen GAP... spent several hours with him—she had had an abortion, now realized what she had done and was even looking to convert to Catholicism."

In 1998, CBR took GAP signs to a Christian women’s event in Nashville, Tennessee. They met a woman who had had an abortion before she came to Christ and she said, "God used your pictures to set me free!"

i 1 Corinthians 12:14, 16–18, 21

Don’t you think your images could produce post-traumatic stress?

Abortion—the killing of a baby—is probably one of the most unnatural, most evil acts in which a human being could participate. It is not only lethal to the baby, but psychologically traumatizing and spiritually damaging to everyone involved, particularly to the degree that one consents to or is complicit in the act (although complicity is not the only exacerbating factor).

Many stimuli can remind a woman of her past abortion experience: everyday sounds reminiscent of the abortion procedure or facility, the cry of a baby, even seeing another pregnant woman, etc. It is only natural that if such stimuli could remind a woman of a past abortion, then factual images of abortion certainly will as well.

Carrying forward this line of thinking, theoretically any denunciation of abortion as wrong could be a distressing reminder of one’s abortion experience. If we concede, for the sake of argument, that such verbal criticism of abortion could produce post-traumatic stress and if we want to avoid causing any such stress, then the pro-life movement would be handicapped from even stating opposition to abortion—the pro-life movement would censor itself out of existence.

However, just because a woman has been reminded of her abortion does not mean that the reminders are at fault. If such a woman does develop post-traumatic stress, it is produced by her having participated in the act of abortion, by her having made a choice that goes against the natural law, not by her having merely seen images of abortion days, months, or years later.

Many women are burdened, for example, with distress on the anniversary of their abortions, or with flashbacks to the procedure, or with nightmares of the same. These are tragic indicators that such women need healing. But the difficulty for such women is to seek healing while living in a culture that implicitly and explicitly affirms that abortion was their right, and that they did nothing wrong. If, however, pro-lifers convey a message that affirms the intuitive feelings of these women, namely that they did do something wrong, and if that message is complemented by offers of help, namely by advertising post-abortion ministries, more women will get the help they so desperately need.

The reality is that the only way to ensure that a woman will not somehow experience post-traumatic stress is for her to be healed from the abortion itself. Conversely, what will ensure her susceptibility to distress is remaining unhealed from the abortion, and what will prolong her lack of healing is maintaining her denial of the evil of that act and her participation therein.

So, understanding that it is the abortion experience itself that causes stress and pain and trauma, in no way should those who use graphic abortion images be blamed for causing stress in post-abortive men or women. Let us understand this point by way of some analogies: a soldier returns from war and experiences post-traumatic stress. If he sees images of armed conflict on television or in newspapers, is the media responsible for inducing post-traumatic stress?

If a drunk driver hits and kills a pedestrian and later feels great distress upon viewing a graphic campaign exposing the harm caused by drinking and driving, are those who produced the campaign to be blamed? Are they being irresponsible by attempting to educate society about this particular evil? Should their efforts to save lives be curtailed because the cost in sorrowful feelings is too high?

Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life sits on the board of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. He is also the pastoral director and chairman of the Board of Rachel’s Vineyard, an international retreat program for post-abortion healing. In 1997, he was asked by the Vatican to help co-ordinate and promote post-abortion healing throughout the world as an official of the Pontifical Council for the Family.i As an authority on post-abortion matters, Fr. Pavone supports graphic abortion visuals: "I have used graphic images and have watched their effect. I am convinced they should be used." ii

This perspective is even more compellingly expressed by post-abortive women themselves:

"I myself have had an abortion and seeing images and reading more about these killings make[s] me want more and more to fight for my child and all the other unborn. (It also) gives me the courage to stand up for them and the mothers that are thinking of killing their children. Thank you!" –25-year-old woman iii

"I have had an abortion and if I had seen these pictures before, there would have been no decision to be made. I would never have gone through with it. I never knew and nobody told me." –23-year-old womaniv


To read CCBR’s letter to a post-abortive woman, go here.

i www.rachelsvineyard.org/aboutus/frfrank.htm
ii Fr. Frank Pavone, www.priestsforlife.org/articles/shouldweuse.htm
iii www.abortionno.org/AbortionNO/hurt.html
iv Ibid.

 

I just feel like the approach does more harm than good.

Feelings aren’t enough. You need to provide evidence for making that bold claim, especially in light of the evidence of changed minds, babies saved, and men and women brought to repentance all as a result of graphic images. And whatever evidence you have, it should be weighed against the following information:

Graphic abortion pictures are worth a thousand words.

Graphic abortion images change minds and save lives:

"The video of all the aborted embryos was very moving and was very visual. It was very important to change my opinion." –15-year-old female, Stratford, ON

"My younger sister has had one. And I was going to have one. But I definitely change[d] my mind." –15-year-old female, Renton, WA (Further testimonies here: www.abortionno.org/AbortionNO/web_response.html)

CCBR regularly publishes newsletters which frequently convey similar reports and testimonies: www.unmaskingchoice.ca/newsletters.html

It is a recognized principle that injustices should be exposed. In fact, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his wonderfully insightful Letter from Birmingham Jail in response to clergymen who were critical of his approach to fighting segregation. In it he said the following:

Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.i

The history of social reform movements (e.g., the Civil Rights Movement and anti-child labour movement) testifies to the power of imagery.

Certainly, exposing abortion in all its ugliness will be met with anger and resistance, but that is nothing new. (CCBR addresses the matter of angry responses to its work here: www.unmaskingchoice.ca/angry.html) From the early church martyrs to Mahatma Gandhi to Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, one observes that individuals will face resistance who challenge the culture with a message it needs to know but does not want to know. But as Christ himself said, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you... ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you." ii

For further information related to CCBR’s use of graphic visuals, please read the FAQ.

Acknowledgement:
This document was revised for CCBR based on the original Frequently Asked Questions provided by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (www.abortionno.org). Special thanks to Gregg Cunningham.

i Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, www.stanford.edu/group/King/popular_requests/
ii John 15:18, 20

Aren’t graphic abortion images like pornography? Isn't this considered obscenity?

In considering this comparison, it is important to note how pornography is defined. According to the Oxford Online Dictionary pornography is, “printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.” Therefore, it is clear that to be considered pornography, a picture must be specifically sexual in nature. In this way it is obvious that abortion imagery—evidence of the violence abortion does to the pre-born child—is not in any way comparable to pornography, because it is not sexual in nature.

Abortion imagery is not used for even remotely sexual purposes, but rather to decry the inhumanity of this barbaric procedure and to point out what the results of recreational sex—so glorified by pornography—can bring about. Pornography is part of the culture of promiscuity that has contributed to abortion so greatly.

Another way to see how abortion imagery is not analogous to pornography is to consider other graphic materials portraying great injustices. For instance, Holocaust imagery, which show older victims of systematic violence, is clearly not considered pornography, just as attending the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC would not be analogous to visiting a Playboy Club or pornography store. When thoughtfully considered, the pornography comparison --in the case of abortion images or of images of the Holocaust-- reveals itself to be an extremely offensive comparison to make—both to the victims and those who stand to reveal their fate.

Section 163(8) of the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC) defines obscene material as the following:

(8) For the purposes of this Act, any publication a dominant characteristic of which is the undue exploitation of sex, or of sex and any one or more of the following subjects, namely, crime, horror, cruelty and violence, shall be deemed to be obscene.

In other words, only material and publications that exploit sex are recognized as obscene material by the CCC. None of the post-cards distributed by CCBR fit into this definition and therefore they are not obscene under the law.

In addition, The Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan ruled in R. v. Whatcott, that the display of graphic photos of aborted children, represent “legitimate participation in an important political and social debate in Canada.”

To compare documentation of the fate of so many of our pre-born neighbours to imagery designed to incur sexual arousal is one that has no intellectual foundation, and one that should be discarded due to lack of coherence and credibility.

Why don't the volunteers stop to talk; why don't you talk to people face to face?

The purpose of the Postcard Project is to deliver the pro-life message to mailboxes through the postcards, not to engage in dialogue. We have other projects, such as “Choice” Chain and the Genocide Awareness Project, which are designed for dialogue. The effectiveness of this particular campaign is in reaching many households in a short amount of time, and this goal would not be accomplished if our volunteers continually stopped to have conversations.

Why don’t you put the postcards in envelopes so people can choose to look at them?

With around 300 children killed by abortion every day in Canada, our goal is that people see the injustice, and have to confront the issue, even if they don’t want to. Most people who ask this question would prefer we stop distributing this information entirely, and we don’t tailor our projects to what people would prefer. We want to turn people off to abortion.  These images do that for those who have functioning consciences.

There are also practical reasons for not using envelopes. In the first place, it is an ineffective use of our limited time and resources. The extra time and money to put the postcards in envelopes can be used buying more postcards and distributing more of them, so more people are reached. Secondly, after the first round of the envelopes being delivered, people would start throwing them away without looking at the postcard inside. That would defeat the purpose of the project.

Why don't I get a personal e-mail or reply to my complaint/concern/question?

Due to the high volume of correspondence we receive we are unable to respond to each message individually. We have limited personnel and resources to dedicate to responding to the various questions and concerns. Your message, however, was read in its entirety and we do want to acknowledge receipt of it.

Given that we find most people share similar questions and concerns, we’ve drafted an email that addresses all main concerns to be sent out to all those who request a response. Also, the questions and concerns are addressed in this document and on our website in various places particularly in our pro-life classroom.

Isn’t the Postcard Project an invasion of privacy? Is it legal?

Many people point out that our Postcard Project is both graphic and intrusive, as indeed most of our projects are. That is intentional. We live today in a culture that is comfortably tolerating the decapitation, dismemberment, and disembowelment of nearly 300 pre-born children every single day. Most people—including pro-life people—don’t want to see a picture of an abortion, because pictures of abortion are graphic and disturbing. However, they are also depictions of a sad daily reality in Canada. The Postcard Project is deliberately designed to eradicate people’s ability to ignore the abortion problem by bringing the message directly to mailboxes and doorsteps across Canada. People may get angry at us. But they will also be awakened to the problem.

However, it is important to point out that the delivery of the postcards is legal and protected under Section 2 of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

What about children seeing the graphic images?

We understand this concern, and have thus drafted a number of different responses to address the sad reality that children sometimes come face to face with the evidence of other, butchered children:

On our website:

http://www.unmaskingchoice.ca/training/classroom/graphic/children

On our blog:

http://www.unmaskingchoice.ca/blog/2012/06/18/thunder-bay-assault-childs-conscience-versus-mans-anger

What about women who have had abortions? Won’t these pictures traumatize them?
Aren’t these just shock tactics?

They’re much more than that. For an extremely succinct summary of why the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform uses the tactics that we do within the historical context of social reform movements, please take a moment to read executive director Stephanie Gray’s description of our strategy:

http://liveactionnews.org/ending-the-killing-why-graphic-images-of-abortion-are-necessary

 

What is the Reproductive "Choice" Campaign?

The Reproductive "Choice" Campaign is a project designed to both educate and stimulate public dialogue about abortion. This mobile-billboard campaign involves placing factual images of aborted embryos and fetuses on the sides and rear of box-bodied trucks which are then driven through populated areas.

Why are you running this campaign?

We are conducting this campaign for a number of reasons. First, abortion is rampant in our country. Statistics Canada reports that there are over 100,000 abortions every year, but few Canadians are aware of this ongoing slaughter.

Also, abortion advocates have for years misled Canadians regarding abortion. Using carefully crafted language such as "reproductive freedom", abortion advocates have created a climate of confusion in which the general public is unclear about who the pre-born child is and what abortion does to her.

As an example of this confusion, many people mistakenly imagine that abortion, especially when done in the first trimester of pregnancy, is a benign procedure that merely removes a small mass of tissue. Our images dispell that confusion because they reveal a very different reality: first-trimester abortion is a brutal act of violence which kills a baby.

There are babies alive today because pregnant women considering abortion saw these kinds of images and changed their minds about killing their babies. Also, these images have helped other women acknowledge the trauma of a past abortion experience, which in turn has allowed them to seek counselling and healing.

More broadly, the history of social reform is characterized by examples of graphic images being used to dramatize injustice and shock the conscience of the culture. Campaigns to end slavery, child labour, civil rights abuses, and other systematic oppression involved showing the public the humanity of the victim and the inhumanity of his victimization.

Where can I find help for a friend who’s facing an unplanned pregnancy or who’s struggling with the trauma from a previous abortion?

Please refer your friend to the toll-free number 1-800-395-HELP (4357). This is a 24-hour helpline run by an organization which is unrelated to the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform and which has no involvement with our Reproductive "Choice" Campaign. Please also review our document "If Someone You Know is Considering Abortion."

What about children who see the horrible images on the trucks?

You may be relieved to know that we aren’t directly targeting children with our campaign—they aren’t the ones perpetrating this injustice nor the ones complicit in it. Therefore, we won’t knowingly go to an area where only children are present, such as a preschool or an elementary school. The reality, however, is that it is impossible to reach the masses in society where no children will ever be present.

If parents with young children see the images, they can practice parental discretion and distract their children as they would if there were a dead deer on the side of the road, or they can seize it as a teaching opportunity. They can gently explain to their children that some people hurt babies but that the people driving the trucks are trying to stop that. Furthermore, parents can reassure their children that they will never be hurt like the babies have been hurt because "Mommy and Daddy love you and will keep you safe."

Sadly, parents sometimes use their children as an excuse for why the images shouldn’t be shown. The reality is that they don’t want to see the images. They may have guilt from past abortions and they don’t want to come to terms with their mistake. After all, children have consciences and they love babies. When children see the images they see a hurt baby and they want to know, "Who hurt the baby?"

It’s worth observing that the parent’s reaction will often determine the child’s reaction. An irate, swearing guilty parent will have a frustrated and confused child. But a calm, rational parent will have a calm child. Such was the case with a 5-year-old who saw graphic abortion images. Her teenage sister gently explained the situation and although the little girl cried, she was moved to pray during family prayer time "...that the doctors will stop killing babies." Another child, a 9-year-old, who saw a graphic abortion photo went directly to his mother and said, "Mom, I want to stop abortion."

In 2006, the Calgary Herald newspaper wrote about a 10-year-old homeless advocate who was inspired—at an even younger age—to form a charity to help the homeless. The paper reported that it was her seeing injustice that convicted her to act:

When Hannah Taylor was five years old, she was struck by the unfairness of something she saw that makes most others turn their heads. [Emphasis added.]

As she watched a homeless man dig for food in a trash can in Winnipeg, she decided no person should ever have to go without food or a home.

Notice that people are not complaining that young Hannah was victimized by seeing such an injustice. On the contrary, people are inspired by her willingness to do what she can to help the less fortunate and by her refusal to make excuses for their plight. But where is that same attitude towards other children’s seeing the injustice inflicted upon the pre-born?

Children have functioning consciences. The question is: do we? If we think we care so much about children, where is our care and concern for the lives of the over 100,000 pre-born children who are killed each year in our country?

If you were walking down the street with a 2-year-old and saw a 5-year-old being killed in front of you, would you complain about your 2-year-old merely seeing the injustice, or would you intervene to stop the injustice itself?

Why should I have to see this while driving in my car?

Is there any place where you wouldn’t object to viewing these images? We have found that in many cases when people complain about seeing the images in public, they don’t want to see them in private either. Many people would prefer that these images be "out of sight" because then they would be "out of mind." And that’s the problem: precisely because the horrible truth of abortion is out of most people’s minds is this injustice happening. The reality is that while people drive in their cars, babies are being killed. We intend to make sure that as long as society tolerates this injustice, society will see what it looks like.

Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that we like these images—we don’t. But human rights abuses don’t end on their own, no matter how much we turn a blind eye. They end only when a society stands up and demands change. And our society will only stand up and demand change on abortion when it is convinced that abortion is a terrible injustice. What better way to convince our visual culture of this fact than to show them what abortion does? After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

How dare you force your views on me?!

Where on the trucks is any "view" being forced? It shows a picture of an aborted baby next to the word many associate with abortion: "choice." If you look at that and conclude that our view is that abortion is wrong, what’s really happening is that, upon viewing the evidence of what abortion does to an innocent person, your conscience is telling you that abortion is wrong. As Gregg Cunningham says, "If something is so horrifying we can’t stand to look at it, perhaps we shouldn’t be tolerating it."i

iGregg Cunningham, executive director, Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. Quote taken from Gregg's introduction to the film "Hard Truth."

Why don't you hold presentations and debates in a hall where people can choose to receive the message?

A society in the midst of committing and permitting an injustice does not willingly or easily admit its own wrongdoing. People rarely acknowledge evidence of their own complicity in injustice; even fewer seek out such evidence. The people who need to see this message simply will not go out of their way to view it in large enough numbers to stop this injustice. So we must go out of our way to bring it to them—we must make abortion impossible to ignore or trivialize.

Such is the case with any social reform movement. As the great civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "...freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."i But because pre-born children cannot speak for themselves, we will demand their freedom on their behalf.

i Martin Luther King,"Letter from Birmingham Jail," in Ideals and Ideologies: A Reader, T. Ball and R. Dagger (US: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc., 1999) 363.

Why don't you show positive pictures of babies, both in and out of the womb?

There is definitely a place for fetal development imagery in educating the public about who the pre-born are. In fact, new technologies, such as 3D and 4D ultrasound, are a benefit to the pro-life movement.

Pictures of babies after birth, however, are not nearly as powerful a tool because people see babies all the time, whether in person or in images. They can rationalize killing the pre-born, even with exposure to the beauty of born children, because they do not consider the two to be equal. In fact, they may look at a born child and think, "I need to have an abortion before it becomes that, because then there’s nothing I can, or would, do."

And although fetal development imagery helps humanize the pre-born child, such photographs do not dehumanize the act of abortion. International pro-life speaker Scott Klusendorf expands on this idea:

When it comes to moral persuasion, many times images of death work better than images of life.

To cite a parallel example, the modern environmental movement got its start with graphic pictures in the late 1960’s. As activist Jerry Mander points out in his book Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, initial attempts to mobilize public support for preservation of the giant redwoods produced a giant public yawn. Breathtaking photographs of majestic trees, though inspiring, did little to incite public anger at the timber industry. So, activists took a lesson from the Vietnam War. Instead of showing pictures of pre-cut trees in all their glory, environmentalists began circulating before and after photos. "We started carrying around photos of acres of stumps where hundreds of redwoods had been cut down. I don't know if you have ever seen a field of tree stumps, but it is a horrific sight, not unlike a battlefield."

The public outcry was immediate. "At that moment," Mander concludes, "I realized that death is a much better subject for television than life. Images of life—whether of trees themselves or the finely-tuned Vietnamese culture—accomplished nothing. They only put people to sleep." i

The same can be said of abortion. The use of graphic pictures is not manipulative, but consistent with other mainstream campaigns of social reform. Shocking pictures have traditionally been used by social reformers to dramatize the injustices of child labor, racial violence against African-Americans, U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, etc. What has changed is that for the first time in recent history, political conservatives are using this tactic in an effort to reform an abortion-tolerating public. ii

This tactic is appropriate, given we live in a culture that thinks and learns visually. As Neil Postman points out in Amusing Ourselves to Death, with the advent of television, America shifted from a word-based culture—with an emphasis on coherent linear thought—to an image-based one where thinking is dominated by feeling, intuition, and images.iii

Postman’s point (and mine) is that visual learners have short attention spans. They make decisions based on intuition, feeling, and images. That doesn’t rule out the presentation of facts and arguments, but it does change how they are communicated. It means we must change how people feel as a predicate to changing how they think.iv Disturbing images change feelings in ways that words cannot.v
i Jerry Mander, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (New York: Morrow-Quill, 1977).
ii Gregg Cunningham, "Why Abortion is Genocide," available from www.abortionNO.org.
iii Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (New York: Penguin Books, 1984).
iv As early as 1974, for example, media critic Marshall McLuhan questioned whether rational discourse could reform culture because "abortion ‘thinking’ is taking place in an even deeper swamp of mass hysteria created by the inner trips of the TV image. All of our thinking about abortion is taking place in the smogged-over world of TV." His proposed solution was for networks to feature graphic abortion sequences on national television. When asked if footage would unfairly bias viewers, McLuhan replied, "These films don’t have to have any pro or con slant, if they are permitted to show the actual process." (Matie Molinaro, et al, Letters of Marshall Mcluhan, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1987, pp. 441, 503.)
v This quote and the footnotes within it are from Scott Klusendorf’s document, "Should Crisis Pregnancy Centers Use Graphic Visual Aids?" 2001.
What if a woman who has had an abortion commits suicide upon seeing your trucks?

In the seventeen years CBR has been using graphic abortion photos in the public square and in the five years CCBR has, we are not aware of one incident where a woman has committed suicide after viewing graphic images.

But for the sake of argument, let’s suppose a woman does kill herself. That would be utterly tragic, but it would not mean the exposure of the truth was in any way invalid. The image isn’t what made the woman feel guilty, it was the act that she committed in her past. The image simply brought that pain to the surface, just as any number of things could have: a pro-life billboard or bumper sticker, a friend’s miscarriage, or the familiar sound of a suction machine, etc.

When people are convicted of their mistakes they can do one of three things: deny their responsibility, acknowledge their mistake and resolve to change, or despair. Obviously, one hopes that no one chooses the first and third options. If, however, someone falls into denial or despair, those who are proclaiming the truth are not responsible for that.

The same could be said about a drunk driver who kills an innocent pedestrian and is able to avoid criminal punishment. Should he later be convicted that he made a mistake—and is filled with so much grief that he kills himself—would Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) be responsible for his suicide with their many advertisements condemning drinking and driving?

But won't your large images distract drivers and cause accidents?

Our images are no different than billboards lining the sides of freeways or on the sides of transportation trucks.  Why don't we hear an outcry that such billboards cause accidents if your claim was indeed true?

Consider when a car accident happens--how often do other drivers slow down and stare?  If such gawking resulted in another accident, would we blame the first accident or blame the driver who chose to not give his driving the attention it required?  In fact, when we were displaying a sign near a busy freeway, there was an accident in the area, and people incorrectly assumed our sign caused the accident.  On the contrary, the accident had occurred /before/ we arrived, and we went to the area because there was such slow-moving traffic.  Correlation does not mean causation. 

Do you shoot abortionists and bomb clinics?

Absolutely not. CCBR condemns all forms of abortion-related violence and will not collaborate with groups or individuals who fail to condemn such violence.

Why the Project?

Politicians who support the dismemberment, decapitation, and disembowelment of the next generation of Canadians should have their views exposed so that they are publicly shamed for supporting the killing of pre-born Canadians.

For too long, politicians who spoke out in defense of pre-born children were faced with hostility from opposition parties and even their own; their pro-life voice came with a hefty political price tag.  Justice demands we reverse that—anyone who supports the age discrimination that is abortion will instead be faced with ramifications for that stated position. Those ramifications are simple—we will reveal what their actions and their words endorse and permit. Throwaway lines such as “abortion debate” or “the right to choose” have not been defined properly in public consciousness. That must change.

For too long, abortion has been just one of the many issues people vote on, but hasn’t been a central focus, even for many of those who believe that abortion is wrong. We cannot continue to support men and women who believe that the killing of pre-born Canadians is something they can support, endorse, or permit through inaction.

This is not just another policy issue—this is the most significant human rights violation our country has ever committed, and the death count continues to rise while pro-lifers are urged to be “patient.” This is not about pro-life activists and our patience; this is about pre-born children and their lives: We do not pay the price for waiting—they do—and that price is the ultimate one.

It is worth considering the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who wrote the following to people who agreed with his goal but not his methods of direct action:

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was ‘well timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’”

Over 3 million pre-born children have been slaughtered in the past 44 years in Canada.  The dead victims cannot speak for themselves, or their unprotected peers.  How much longer must they wait for those of us who have voices to actually use them?

But isn’t CCBR educational instead of political?

We are indeed educational, and since we work on changing public opinion, we believe public policy should reflect that.  Currently public opinion supports legal protection for humans at 6 months of pregnancy, but abortion is allowed until 9 months, so CCBR is working to educate the public on this disparity.

CCBR often points out that throughout history, public opinion typically must change before public policy does. We now have a state of affairs in Canada where many abortion-related motions and laws which the Canadian public would and do support are suppressed or ignored—not because the public would not support them, but because many politicians do not want to engage in a debate they consider too controversial. This cowardice is unacceptable—and deadly for the pre-born.

Furthermore, this project is inherently educational in nature. First, it educates hundreds of thousands of Canadians on what the reality of the abortion procedure is, which is CCBR’s core mandate. Second, it educates Canadians on how their Member of Parliament has failed pre-born children. Lastly, but very importantly, many polls show us that huge numbers of Canadians are unaware that abortion is legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy in Canada. This project is an opportunity for us to make hundreds of thousands of Canadians aware of that fact.

When society is educated, it is important to make clear what that education should lead to.  Education about how abortion is destroying the bodies of tiny babies must lead to behaviour changes for those who face unplanned pregnancies through avoiding abortion, but it must also lead to legal protections for those babies.  Some people will avoid having abortions simply because it’s illegal, which means that if abortion is legal, those same individuals would choose it.

And so, as Dr. King said, “The law may not be able to make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me.”  Likewise, laws banning abortion may not make people love pre-born children, but they can act to deter people from killing pre-born children.

We do not seek to educate simply for the sake of educating about the killing, but rather to entirely eradicate the killing.  As long as powerful institutions such as the government and medical bodies enable the killing, it leads the public to believe that abortion is acceptable.  Therefore, the political very much goes hand-in-hand with the educational when it comes to social reform.

But putting a politician’s face next to a dead baby? That’s just despicable.

How is it despicable?  The question is this: Are the postcards true?  Has the politician pictured failed pre-born children?  If so, the “despicable” thing is the utter disregard a leader in a democratic society has towards its youngest members.  The “despicable” thing is that the leader refuses to use his or her power to protect the powerless.  The “despicable” thing is that innocent blood is being shed in clinics across our land, funded with taxpayer dollars, and that such leaders turn a blind eye.

The test of whether this strategy is despicable or not, is to imagine if a recognized human rights violation replaced the abortion messaging—if a politician enabled the killing of Jews or Blacks, would it be outrageous to expose that?  Or outrageous that the politician does that?

If women were once again not considered persons under the law, and if domestic abuse were legal, and if 1 in 4 Canadian women were beaten by their partners, how would we feel about a politician’s refusal to open the debate about spousal abuse?  How would we feel about a politician’s stubborn commitment to defeat any legislation that would offer even the slightest protection to women?  How would we feel about a politician’s voting against a measure that would look at the evidence for the personhood of women?

Those who oppose abortion but also oppose our strategy of “Face the Children,” must do some serious soul-searching about whether they truly believe the pre-born are the humans they claim them to be.  We claim it—yes, of course.  But do we actually, truly believe it?  Our actions, and reactions, to this project will tell us the answer.  After all, would cries of “inappropriate” ever be aired if the mass murder victims were born?  From slavery to child labour to the Holocaust—pictures convey what words cannot.

Where is our sense of outrage at the daily bloodshed of children who are so vulnerable that their silent screams cannot be heard?  We would do well to consider the words of a Rwandan woman who lost most of her relatives to genocide: when she saw abortion imagery next to Rwandan genocide imagery, she pointed to the aborted baby photo and said, “That’s worse—because at least my family could try to run away.”

Postcards make people upset and don’t provide dialogue/education.

First, images are education.  Second, the backside of the postcards explain the image-heavy front.  Third, our website is provided, which has a wealth of pro-life argumentation, including in our Pro-Life Classroom (http://www.unmaskingchoice.ca/training/classroom).  Fourth, people are dialoguing about it—through social media, traditional media, and to neighbors, colleagues, family, and friends.  What else has opened the abortion debate in Canada like this has done in just its opening days?

Regarding people getting upset, it’s important to remember history: liked reformers were rarely effective, and effective reformers were rarely liked.  CCBR has written extensively on the subject of social reformers facing hostility so those concerned about this topic are encouraged to read the following:

Finally, social reformers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Alice Paul, Thomas Clarkson, and William Wilberforce all successfully made an impact on public opinion and public policy, but though we celebrate them as heroes today, they were despised, ridiculed, and persecuted when they lived.

What do you say about the claim that if the Conservatives lose, it will get worse? And that you’re contributing to that?

We aren’t targeting the Conservatives.  We are targeting MPs who don’t protect pre-born children.  No MP should be in power who supports the killing of the youngest of our kind.  By circulating these images, we are alerting people to what those in power support.  We are also alerting those in power that actions have consequences and that they cannot continue to enable Canada’s greatest human rights violation without being held accountable. If they fail pre-born children, their betrayal of the weak and vulnerable will be exposed so that they either change their behaviour, or so that they lose the power they are not fit to hold.  If an MP loses power because the truth of their words was made known, that loss will not be because of us, but because he or she held such a barbaric view.

Certainly there are many Conservative Members of Parliament that deserve our heartiest support for their principled stand on pre-born human rights. However, no one is doing more to suppress the abortion debate right now than Stephen Harper, and that fact cannot be ignored.

This is going to impede “behind-the-scenes” work; it paints all pro-lifers with the same brush and makes us all look bad.

Behind-the-scenes work is important.  But how does this campaign harm that?  How is it problematic to expose human rights violators for being human rights violators?  What if an MP were enabling human trafficking?  Wouldn’t we expose that?  Why not this?

If MPs don’t want their picture next to a dead baby, it’s very simple: Don’t make dead babies—don’t make decisions or statements, act, or don’t act, in a way that fails pre-born children who desperately need you.

For too long, pro-lifers, whether politicians or the general public, have been on the defensive.  They’ve been forced to defend why they’re pro-life, as though they’re doing something wrong.  It’s time to get on the offensive—and force those who support the killing of children to explain that barbaric view.  If this seems to “rock the boat” on Parliament Hill, so be it.  Rather than pro-lifers shrink away from defending the message, it should be seized as a great opportunity for dialogue and debate—debate that was likely not happening in the context of what, precisely, abortion does.  Rather than a pro-lifer distancing herself from the controversy, when someone expresses concern the question should be asked, “Why?  What don’t you like about it?  And why is that?”  Besides questions, when analogies are made to other human rights violations, as the questions above do, a strong case can be made for this approach.

Let’s not forget history—the old Abortion Caravan of 1970 involved “furious women,” as they called themselves, rocking the boat and ultimately getting what they wanted.  Canada had limited access to abortion when these loud, determined, persistent women took to the streets.  In the contest of wills, their wills were strong—and their wills won. 

How is the pro-life will these days?  Are we as determined to save pre-born children as abortion advocates are to kill them?  Way, way too often pro-lifers retreat and run scared. The only people who should be scared are those who support the killing of children.  The pictures prove that.

What do you hope to accomplish?

We aim to make a pro-life Canada—both amongst the public as well as amongst politicians.  The history of successful social reform movements and our own experience shows that images are a powerful tool to change peoples’ feelings, thinking, and behaviour.  Images are a key tool to making abortion unthinkable.

Further, we hope to expose the extremism of these politicians’ views to their constituents.  We will show the people what their elected representatives’ action, or inaction, is enabling.  The images of aborted children send a clear message to people of conscience that only leaders who will protect the most vulnerable in Canadian society should be worthy of election.

These postcards enable us to reach huge numbers of the Canadian public with important information that many of them do not yet possess.

What does the campaign involve?

Each week, for five weeks, we will release a postcard that exposes a politician’s failure towards pre-born children (based on their statements and/or voting record) and show their image alongside images of the aborted.  We will then spend the summer circulating those postcards to every home in that politician’s riding.  We will be circulating 250,000 postcards over the next 4 months.

Is public opinion really inconsistent with the status quo of accepting abortion on demand?

Yes.  A 2013 Environics Poll found 60% of Canadians say human life should receive legal protection by the sixth month of pregnancy.  A 2012 poll commissioned by Postmedia News and Global TV, 60% of Canadians support introducing a law that limits abortion, such as during the last trimester.

Many would say the pro-life movement is a minority voice. How would you respond?

Yes, but we are a minority voice that matters.  We are a large constituency of every MP that we will be targeting.  Furthermore, we are a minority that is growing into a majority—we already have in these areas:

  • An overwhelming majority of Canadians support legal protection for pre-born humans at 6 months of pregnancy. 
  • Further, over 90% of Canadians are opposed to sex-selective abortion.
Will you be doing anything else besides postcards?

We will be continuing with our other projects (the Reproductive “Choice” Campaign and “Choice” Chain) in the ridings as well.

Who else will you be targeting?

We do not release the politicians who will face the children until the day-of. 

Last year we made a Face the Children video exposing the words of MPs Irene Mathyssen and Niki Ashton, which can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nqUxACmVgAI

Will this go beyond the five politicians you plan to target this summer?

Yes.  If someone fails the children, they will face the children.

  1. Why don’t you show positive pictures of babies, both in and out of the womb, instead of graphic abortion photos?
  2. Will the audience be warned about the imagery?
  3. What if audience members have had abortions? Will their feelings be respected?
  4. Our audience will, in some sense, be held "captive," since they are required to attend the presentation. Isn’t it unfair to show them images in that circumstance?
  5. Should we place a warning about your use of graphics on posters advertising the event?
  6. Do you show graphic imagery in your debates? If so, doesn’t that take away from the nature of a debate, which is about arguments?
  7. Won’t your use of images just get the audience angry? We don’t want to burn bridges within our community. In getting upset with you, tensions will rise and people will become upset with each other.
  8. Worship services are supposed to be uplifting and positive. Won’t these images take away from worshipping God?
  9. What if the video offends people who are not Christians and turns them off of Christianity?
  10. Our audience is already pro-life and therefore they do not need to see the pictures.
  11. I’m concerned that the use of graphic abortion images will open the door to the use of sexually explicit images in other contexts. How would you reply?
  12. How does your use of graphic images show respect for the dead? Their permission was not obtained to use the images.
  13. Aren't teenagers too young to see those disturbing pictures?
  14. Our school has a good reputation. Won’t your use of images result in countless parental complaints and harm our relationship with our students’ parents or guardians?
  15. Our event is not a school assembly and involves young people coming from various locations; therefore, a letter to parents is impossible. Does this mean we should not address abortion in the manner you are proposing (with pictures)?
  16. May we preview the film?
  17. How have past audiences and hosts reacted to these images?
  18. I'm just uncomfortable with the idea. Is it essential that you show graphic visuals? Will you leave them out for this presentation?
Why don’t you show positive pictures of babies, both in and out of the womb, instead of graphic abortion photos?

Pictures of babies after birth are not as compelling because people see babies all the time, whether in person or in images. They can rationalize killing the pre-born, even with exposure to the beauty of born children, because they do not consider the two to be equal. For example, someone may look at a born child and think, "I need to have an abortion before it becomes that, because then there’s nothing I can, or would, do."

Because of the great ignorance throughout society about who the pre-born child is, there is definitely a place for intelligent use of fetal development imagery. New technologies, such as 3D and 4D ultrasound, are a benefit to the pro-life movement.

But fetal development imagery, by definition, only shows fetal development. The public, however, also needs to be educated about abortion. It is one thing to humanize the pre-born child; it is another to dehumanize the act of abortion. International pro-life speaker Scott Klusendorf expands on this idea:

 

When it comes to moral persuasion, many times images of death work better than images of life.

To cite a parallel example, the modern environmental movement got its start with graphic pictures in the late 1960’s. As activist Jerry Mander points out in his book Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, initial attempts to mobilize public support for preservation of the giant redwoods produced a giant public yawn. Breathtaking photographs of majestic trees, though inspiring, did little to incite public anger at the timber industry. So, activists took a lesson from the Vietnam War. Instead of showing pictures of pre-cut trees in all their glory, environmentalists began circulating before and after photos. ‘We started carrying around photos of acres of stumps where hundreds of redwoods had been cut down. I don’t know if you have ever seen a field of tree stumps, but it is a horrific sight, not unlike a battlefield.’

The public outcry was immediate. ‘At that moment,’ Mander concludes, ‘I realized that death is a much better subject for television than life. Images of life—whether of trees themselves or the finely-tuned Vietnamese culture—accomplished nothing. They only put people to sleep.’i

The same can be said of abortion. The use of graphic pictures is not manipulative, but consistent with other mainstream campaigns of social reform. Shocking pictures have traditionally been used by social reformers to dramatize the injustices of child labor, racial violence against African-Americans, U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, etc. What has changed is that for the first time in recent history, political conservatives are using this tactic in an effort to reform an abortion-tolerating public.ii

This tactic is appropriate, given we live in a culture that thinks and learns visually. As Neil Postman points out in Amusing Ourselves to Death, with the advent of television, America shifted from a word-based culture—with an emphasis on coherent linear thought—to an image-based one where thinking is dominated by feeling, intuition, and images.iii

Postman’s point (and mine) is that visual learners have short attention spans. They make decisions based on intuition, feeling, and images. That doesn’t rule out the presentation of facts and arguments, but it does change how they are communicated. It means we must change how people feel as a predicate to changing how they think.iv Disturbing images change feelings in ways that words cannot.v

Pictures of smiling Jewish children do not convey the horror of the Holocaust in the same way images of those same children starving in death camps do. Likewise, pictures of developing embryos and fetuses, while important, do not convey the injustice of abortion the way abortion imagery does.

Jerry Mander, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (New York: Morrow-Quill, 1977).
ii Gregg Cunningham, "Why Abortion is Genocide," available from www.abortionNO.org.
iii Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (New York: Penguin Books, 1984).
iv As early as 1974, for example, media critic Marshall McLuhan questioned whether rational discourse could reform culture because "abortion ‘thinking’ is taking place in an even deeper swamp of mass hysteria created by the inner trips of the TV image. All of our thinking about abortion is taking place in the smogged-over world of TV." His proposed solution was for networks to feature graphic abortion sequences on national television. When asked if footage would unfairly bias viewers, McLuhan replied, "These films don’t have to have any pro or con slant, if they are permitted to show the actual process." (Matie Molinaro, et al, Letters of Marshall Mcluhan, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1987, pp. 441, 503.)
v This quote and the footnotes within it are from Scott Klusendorf’s document, "Should Crisis Pregnancy Centers Use Graphic Visual Aids?" 2001.

 

Will the audience be warned about the imagery?

Yes. CCBR speakers inform the audience, within the presentation, prior to showing the graphic abortion imagery. Individuals are told how they can avoid looking at the images (by closing one’s eyes or looking down) if they choose not to watch. Furthermore, where the facility layout permits, lights are turned down so others in the audience are not aware if an individual avoids watching. Finally, there is no sound besides instrumental music, so the audience also will not even hear any sounds related to the abortion procedure.

What if audience members have had abortions? Will their feelings be respected?

Yes. Statistically, it is likely that at least someone in the audience has been involved with abortion; and as a result, CCBR speakers address the subject gently, particularly before using the graphic images.

CCBR speakers point out that their condemning of the action of abortion should not be interpreted as a condemning of the actors who have been involved with abortion. Speakers point out that there is healing available for women and men who have been involved in abortion decisions, such as through post-abortion counselling programs often available through churches and pro-life pregnancy care centres.

Some schools have had a counsellor available for students to talk to following the presentation, in order to further facilitate dealing with the subject in a sensitive manner. When speaking to Christian audiences, CCBR speakers talk about Christ’s mercy and emphasize that He is eager and willing to forgive and that He desires that we ask for His forgiveness.

Too often people do not ask for forgiveness because they are in denial. And they are in denial because of a culture that tells them they did nothing wrong. Presenting the truth convicts them of the need to move from denial into recognition in order to seek healing. Furthermore, denial can lead to repeat abortions because people are still rationalizing the act, but repeat abortions are unlikely if one has acknowledged that abortion is wrong.

Our audience will, in some sense, be held "captive," since they are required to attend the presentation. Isn’t it unfair to show them images in that circumstance?

Before answering this question, it is important to consider this: would you be concerned about visual images used during presentations about the Holocaust, medical missionary trips, or the dangers of drug or alcohol abuse? These also draw attention to the plight of other human beings or the dangers certain choices have to ourselves and to others. Many of these presentations have mandatory attendance. How effective would these presentations be without images? Can we honestly say the visuals have no place?

Even if visuals were not shown, one could still argue the audience was forced to attend such presentations. Would the complaint of being held "captive" be grounds to not educate an audience about drugs?

The role of educators is to present truth. People do not have to accept the truth, but we are no less obligated to provide the message even if, upon receiving it, some in the audience reject it.

Should we place a warning about your use of graphics on posters advertising the event?

No. The intention behind placing warnings on the poster is likely to give people full disclosure to avoid controversy, but because proper context is not given and cannot be given on a poster, people do not get that full disclosure.

Putting a warning on posters compels people to make a judgment call about whether they will attend, but they make that call on incomplete information. They read the comment without the proper context in which the video is shown. There is already so much controversy surrounding abortion, let alone graphic visuals. People may fear the images will be "sprung" on them or jump to wrong conclusions because of misperceptions they have about graphic visuals and pro-life speakers.

Furthermore, one’s motivations for the warning (to avoid controversy) could actually backfire and cause a controversy. Some individuals who see the warning may complain, yet they would do so having not seen the presentation and perhaps having no plans to see it (because of what they conjured in their minds).

Ample warning and full context is given in the presentation to eliminate the prospect of criticism from the audience claiming that they "did not know" when pictures were about to be shown.

Do you show graphic imagery in your debates? If so, doesn’t that take away from the nature of a debate, which is about arguments?

A debate about abortion ultimately involves analyzing whether abortion is right or wrong. As a result, the evidence of what abortion is needs to be put forward in any intellectually honest discussion. Images of crime scenes or of the effects of smoking are evidence that must be considered by law enforcement officials or by doctors, respectively. In the same way, abortion images are evidence that must be considered when determining the morality of abortion. Therefore, images are an essential part of the debate.

Of course, imagery is not the only information put forward to make a pro-life case. Even if it were, however, the response from an opponent must not be to censor such a perspective from the debate but rather to respect its use in the debater’s time frame and to refute the approach in his or her rebuttal time.

An abortion advocate’s disagreement with abortion images may be just as strong as an abortion opponent’s disagreement with verbal "pro-choice" arguments. Debates are about each side presenting its case in a manner each believes is strongest, while the other side gets to scrutinize it. Ultimately, the audience decides who has the more compelling case. Censorship, however, prevents this from happening; therefore, in an intellectually honest environment, censorship should not be tolerated.

Won’t your use of images just get the audience angry? We don’t want to burn bridges within our community. In getting upset with you, tensions will rise and people will become upset with each other.

Just because people get upset, it does not follow that we should cease proclaiming the truth. In fact, such instances are often tests of our determination. United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas makes this insightful point:

Again, by yielding to a false form of ‘civility,’ we sometimes allow our critics to intimidate us. As I have said, active citizens are often subjected to truly vile attacks; they are branded as mean-spirited, racist, Uncle Tom, homophobic, sexist, etc. To this we often respond (if not succumb), so as not to be constantly fighting, by trying to be tolerant and nonjudgmental—i.e., we censor ourselves. This is not civility. It is cowardice, or well-intentioned self-deception at best.i

For people who are determined to avoid the truth about abortion, they will use anything as an excuse to dismiss the pro-life message. If we tailor our message to "tickle their ears" we won’t be proclaiming our message; we’ll be proclaiming theirs.

That is not to say we will make people angry for the sake of making them angry. We present our message with great respect and concern for the brokenness in the crowd. It is one thing to communicate a message strategically, so that people will consider it; it is quite another to entirely leave out a fundamental portion of your message because some people won’t like it. If anger results, it’s from the inner conflict of hearing truth but not wanting to accept it because of the change it requires to one’s life. That type of inner conflict is healthy—it will force the individual to consider and reconsider his or her views.

Keep in mind that any time people profess a message the world needs to hear but does not want to hear, some individuals will get upset. They got upset with the Christian martyrs, with Mahatma Gandhi, with Martin Luther King, Jr., with Mother Teresa, and with many others.

CBR’s executive director Gregg Cunningham points out the following:

Serving God means confronting evil. Confronting evil provokes controversy. Paul was such a ‘troublemaker’ in the Book of Acts that many of his listeners conspired to kill him in Damascus (Acts 9:23), attempted to kill him in Jerusalem (Acts 9:29), ran him out of Antioch (Acts 13:50), threatened his life in Iconium (Acts 14:5), stoned him and left him for dead in Lystra (Acts 14:19), attacked and beat him in Macedonia (Acts 16:22), stormed his residence in Thessolonica (Acts 17:5), drove him from Berea (Acts 17:13), dragged him before the authorities in Corinth (Acts 18:12) and attempted to silence him with mob violence in Ephesus (Acts 19:29). Paul also incited two riots in which he was almost killed in Jerusalem, the city in which the Book of Acts ends with a description of plot to assassinate him (Acts 21:30-31, Acts 23:10, 6-7, Acts 23:10, Acts 23:12).

Great spiritual leaders would not have changed the world if their primary concern was to avoid people getting angry. People were angry at Christ. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have crucified Him.

i Boyer Lecture, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington, D.C., February 13, 2001.

Worship services are supposed to be uplifting and positive. Won’t these images take away from worshipping God?

Though worship services should be encouraging, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t deal with difficult issues. People will be challenged and confronted with the truth at any gathering where the Bible is truly studied, including at Sunday morning services. Christians should be wise and compassionate about how they present God’s truth, but they shouldn’t water down clear biblical teachings for the sake of being inoffensive. Churches whose main goal is to not offend cannot preach the cross.

Moreover, worshipping God requires that we know God for who He is, and worshippers cannot know God if they don’t learn about Him. This is also true for church visitors. Christians can’t expect non-Christians to follow God if they are given an incomplete picture of Him.

For example, it is crucial for worshippers and visitors to know that God hates their sin just as much as they need to know that He loves them. They cannot truly appreciate the extent of God’s grace if they cannot accept the difficult truth of their own personal sins.

CCBR’s goal is to educate its audiences about the sin of abortion. We use graphic images not to glorify the violence but to help illustrate abortion for an audience that may be tacitly pro-life but does not likely understand the graveness of this sin. Christians need to see these images because abortion has become such an abstract debate about "choice" instead of about what is chosen. This means that they likely will not be exposed to the truth of abortion except in church settings.

Showing these images at church services exposes more people to the truth of what abortion really is. These images, as part of a CCBR presentation, will equip Christians to understand abortion and share biblical truths about human life with their non-Christian friends.

As well, women and men who have to deal with the sin of abortion in their past can only do so if the church is willing to discuss abortion truthfully. A sensitive but compelling presentation on abortion, which includes these images, will encourage people to seek help from God to deal with this sin.

In other words, graphic images of abortion won’t take away from worshipping God. Rather, used wisely, they can help people turn to Him.

What if the video offends people who are not Christians and turns them off of Christianity?

If you are willing to address the difficult subject of abortion, why not also expose what the act of abortion is? People can take offense with words as they can with pictures, but with pictures the audience will gain a deeper understanding of what abortion truly is.

Moreover, a Christian’s main concern should be to proclaim God’s truth in love and not water truth down to avoid being offensive. Love does not mean being inoffensive; it means wanting the best for others. This includes stating difficult truths for the other’s spiritual benefit.

Jesus himself proclaimed challenging teachings that were so offensive to some that they rejected Him. After Jesus declares in John 6 that "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst," the Gospel informs us, "After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him."

Then in Mark 18, a rich young ruler approaches Jesus and asks, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" After Jesus lists several commandments that the young man has been faithful to, Jesus declares, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." The scriptures then report, "But when [the young man] heard this he became sad, for he was very rich."

God is against killing babies. He opposes the shedding of innocent blood. If we are to "make disciples of all nations" we are to also "teach them to observe all that [Christ] has commanded."i If we expect to make true followers of Christ, they need to know who the Christ is that they claim to follow.

i Matthew 28:19–20

Our audience is already pro-life and therefore they do not need to see the pictures.

Abortion images do not only convert the unconvinced that abortion is wrong, they also activate the converted to respond more seriously to this crisis. Therefore, even if your audience is already pro-life, such individuals often need a deeper conviction and motivation—this film creates that. And of course, there is always the chance that even one audience member is not pro-life and could convert.

Furthermore, the film is a powerful tool pro-lifers can show to their family, friends, and colleagues, but they can only do that if they first view it themselves. Finally, there is no harm in showing the images to an already-pro-life audience—there is nothing to be lost and much to be gained.

I’m concerned that the use of graphic abortion images will open the door to the use of sexually explicit images in other contexts. How would you reply?

There is an important distinction between images of injustice and sexually explicit images. The former raises awareness about harm to humans that needs to stop. The latter sexually stimulates people and turns human beings into objects. While the former shows the tragedy of how humans have been treated as objects, the latter promotes the treatment of humans as objects for another’s sexual pleasure. The use of abortion imagery is not parallel to the use of sexually explicit imagery. Instead, it is parallel to the widely accepted use of other imagery such as natural disasters and war. Pictures of starving children in Africa are not used to justify sexually explicit images; why, then, would pictures of aborted children create this concern? Finally, there are indecency and obscenity laws already in place that address the use of sexually explicit images.

How does your use of graphic images show respect for the dead? Their permission was not obtained to use the images.

Their permission could not have been obtained because they were killed. Many images of atrocities are used without a victim’s permission because of the very circumstances surrounding his or her death. The greatest respect for the dead is in preventing future deaths like theirs. In other words, showing the images, not hiding them, reveres their memory. It creates awareness of an injustice with the expectation that there will be fewer victims in the future because society knows about the victims of the past.

Aren't teenagers too young to see those disturbing pictures?

The answer to this question is clearly no when one realizes that when many teenagers see abortion images, they subsequently choose not to have an abortion. Consider the following testimonies by teenagers who viewed the graphic images at www.abortionNO.org:

  • This has extremely altered my idea of abortion. I am currently pregnant and was considering the idea of abortion. Now... NO WAY!!

  • I'm pregnant and my mom told me I couldn't have [the baby], but now I'll tell her [I'm not having an abortion.]

  • I used to be pro-choice, but those images are so disturbing and heart-wrenching that I do not believe in abortion anymore.

If teenagers are old enough to have abortions, they are old enough to see them—and, tragically, many young girls do have abortions. Of the 103,768 abortions on Canadian women in 2003, 302 were performed on girls under the age of 15; 17,958 were performed on girls between the ages of 15 and 19.i It is therefore crucial that we communicate the truth of abortion to teenagers who would either consider it themselves or know someone who would. Furthermore, the number of abortions increase amongst women in their early twenties (32,662 on women between the ages of 20 and 24ii ) so it is vital to reach this audience as early as possible.

Not only are images powerful in turning people off of abortion, they are powerful in turning people on to addressing the injustice.

A powerful example of knowledge of injustice convicting the young is the case of two-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and founder of Free the Children, Craig Kielburger:

Looking for the comics section one morning before school, Craig came across an article in the Toronto Star. The front page caught his eye, showing a picture of a boy wearing a bright red vest and his fist held high. The headline read, ‘Boy, 12, murdered for speaking out against child labour’.

The article told the story of a young boy from Pakistan, Iqbal Masih, who was sold into child labour at the age of four as a carpet weaver to pay back a loan his parents had acquired. Iqbal worked 12 hours a day, six days a week, tying tiny knots to make carpets.

Iqbal lost his freedom to laugh and to play. He lost his freedom to go to school. And, after he began speaking out against child labour, he lost his life.

The article said he was murdered for raising the issue in the press and in politics at the age of 12, the same age as Craig at the time.

Craig had never heard about child labour, and wasn’t even certain where Pakistan was on the world map, but the differences between his life and Iqbal’s shocked him.

He soon discovered that there are 250 million child labourers in the world, one half of them working full-time; many in hazardous conditions. Craig knew that he had to help, so he did the only thing he could. He gathered a group of his friends together, most of them 12 years old like him, and they started Free the Children. The goal they set out then is the same as it is today, although now more than a million supporters are working together toward their goal: to free children from abuse, exploitation, and the idea that they are not old enough or smart enough or capable enough to change the world.iii

From the day Craig first encountered Iqbal’s story, he researched child labour. He became increasingly horrified by the injustice; eight months into his self-education on the subject, he went on a seven-week tour of five Southeast Asian countries—still at the age of 12. The book "Me to We: Turning Self-Help on Its Head" by Craig and his brother Marc powerfully describes the impact of seeing, face-to-face, the young people living as child labourers:

Seeing the lives of these children filled Craig with a deep sense of outrage. He was angry at a world of adults that allowed this abuse to continue. Such poverty and injustice had always seemed to belong to another world—a world that only existed on the television screen and in newspapers. But for the first time, he couldn’t change the channel or turn the page. These children were not just images. They were real, no different than him, his brother, his friends, and his classmates. He couldn’t understand how such stark inequality had come to exist. Were children not all equal? Were they not all deserving of the same rights? Did a child’s life matter less depending on where he or she was born?iv

And we add this: does a child’s life matter less depending on whether he or she is even born at all? By keeping teenagers ignorant of the gravity of abortion, we jeopardize the lives of the pre-born. If we graphically expose injustices directed towards born children, then why not those directed towards pre-born children? Why would we rob teenagers of the opportunity to develop the same conviction against abortion that Kielburger did against child labour?

i "Induced Abortions by Age Group," Statistics Canada, available from http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/health43.htm?sdi=abortion%20age, viewed May 13, 2006.
ii Ibid.
iii "History," Free the Children, available from http://www.freethechildren.com/aboutus/ftchistory.htm#notes, viewed May 13, 2006.
iv Craig Kielburger & Marc Kielburger, Me to We: Turning Self-Help on its Head (Canada: John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd., 2004) 52.

Our school has a good reputation. Won’t your use of images result in countless parental complaints and harm our relationship with our students’ parents or guardians?

The fact that parents may complain is not grounds to avoid communicating an important message. Addressing a controversial subject such as abortion, even without visuals, may result in some parents complaining. When people disagree on a subject it is inevitable that they will communicate their concerns. This issue is not "will people complain?" but is instead "is this message a truth that people need to know?"

Teachers already use graphic visuals to illustrate a variety of subjects including the Holocaust. It is helpful to know that CCBR speakers show other widely viewed graphic images prior to showing abortion images. These are pictures the students would have likely encountered through some media—possibilities include: Jacquie, a victim of a drinking and driving accident; Ali, a victim of war; Emmett, a victim of racism. The point of using these images is to illustrate the power of pictures and the widespread recognition of their place in communicating a message. Furthermore, if parents were to complain, the likelihood is that their complaints would not be regarding Jacquie’s, Ali’s, or Emmett’s photographs, but instead regarding abortion. This reveals that their concern is not the use of graphic images generally, but is instead abortion specifically. Most of us aren’t responsible for destroying someone’s life via drinking and driving. But all of us are responsible, to some extent, for abortion. That guilt compels people to want to water down the truth to avoid feeling bad. We cannot let that happen, knowing that the truth sets people free and changes minds.

Complaints are also ministering opportunities. The likelihood is that those who complain have some guilt from involvement with abortion (although this is not always the case); that is an excellent situation to help them work through their pain and find healing. An example of this is with international pro-life speaker Scott Klusendorf. He showed an abortion film when speaking at a youth camp. Three girls complained about this, but as it turned out they had had abortions. This provided a ministering opportunity and at the end of the week the girls said they were positively impacted by Klusendorf’s presentation.

Schools, however, can reduce the likelihood of complaints by sending home a parental notification letter (Click here to read CCBR’s sample letter for religious and public schools). Not only does it inform parents of the presentation, but it encourages them to attend. Because this letter is an advisory, it insures the school against criticism of leaving parents out of the education process. It is worth mentioning, however, that some schools already have policies on films being shown to students. The school should treat this film as it does other films. If it has no policy about how educators use films, why have a double standard with an abortion-related film? And if normal practice is to send a letter home, the same protocol should be followed with this film.

Our event is not a school assembly and involves young people coming from various locations; therefore, a letter to parents is impossible. Does this mean we should not address abortion in the manner you are proposing (with pictures)?

Since young people need to get to the location of the event, it would seem they are attending with some degree of parental knowledge. Let’s imagine a similar situation: your event is a monthly interdenominational youth gathering. Parents have some knowledge of this in the sense that it is a Christian venue where young people have praise and worship and receive teaching on a variety of subjects. Attendees come from various areas and simply show up; the organizers do not necessarily know beforehand who will be attending. Would you need to inform parents if your lesson was on poverty, sexual promiscuity, drug use, or stealing? Why treat abortion differently? It falls under God’s command not to murder, not to shed innocent blood, so it would make sense for the subject to be addressed at your teaching events.

If a Holocaust survivor were to speak to the youth and show pictures of concentration camps, would you not permit him to speak without parental knowledge?

The point is this: while it is helpful and good to inform parents and encourage their attendance, this is not always logistically possible. CCBR wants to be a resource to address the widespread ignorance regarding abortion. Teenagers can obtain abortions without parental permission, schools often do not address the subject in any meaningful way, and parents often aren’t equipped to deal with the issue. CCBR speakers are equipped to present a message that will impact the audience and save lives—the film is a fundamental resource for this.

May we preview the film?

Absolutely. The film Unmasking "Choice" is available on our website here. It is just over 3 ½ minutes in length. The film CCBR presenters typically show to audiences of age 18 and older is "Choice Blues," available at this link: www.abortionno.org/Resources/audiovideo.html. Approximately 4–5 minutes of the two scenes together is shown.

As you view these films keep in mind the context in which they are shown: the audience members are warned, they are told they can avert their gaze, and they told about the forgiveness and healing available for those who have been broken by abortion. Finally, given that the presentations are typically 1 hour (at least), the film is shown for mere minutes out of the 60 minutes available.

How have past audiences and hosts reacted to these images?

When a CCBR speaker presented to a youth group, a 14-year-old girl wrote the following in her survey, "Actually, I thought that I might be pregnant and I was going to get an abortion. After the video, it showed me what I would have done to my child."

At another presentation, a 15-year-old girl wrote, "My position on abortion before the presentation was: I was not for it but everyone has their own choice and I shouldn’t be the one making their decision. After the presentation I realized that we are all human and have every right to live and that we would never kill a newborn baby or anyone, so why do we have the right to kill a fetus. The video of all the aborted embryos was very moving and was very visual. It was very important to change my opinion."

A high school teacher wrote, "Your presentation was extremely valuable to our students in terms of reinforcing our beliefs in what is morally right. Although we consider ourselves a pro-life community, we are often too silent on this issue. Your graphic video exposed us to the horrors of abortion and awakened the need to defend life. We are often too silent because we feel uncomfortable and aren’t sure about how to counter the pro-abortion propaganda."

CCBR has many more testimonies about the impact visuals and its presentations have on people. A selection of these can be viewed here: www.unmaskingchoice.ca/newsletters.

I'm just uncomfortable with the idea. Is it essential that you show graphic visuals? Will you leave them out for this presentation?

Would you say that about a presentation on the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami? Would you say that about a presentation about sponsoring starving children in India?

In Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "Letter from Birmingham Jail," he responds to a group of clergyman who were critical of his tactics in fighting racism in the United States. Even though Dr. King was committed to peaceful methods of opposing segregation, his approach was controversial and bold. King’s insights about the need to daringly confront that injustice yesterday are worth recalling when determining how to confront this injustice (abortion) today:

...I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler [sic] or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating that absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

...Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.i

If we claim that the pre-born are human and that abortion kills those humans and if we expect to be taken seriously by the culture at large, then we have to ask ourselves: are we responding to the plight of the pre-born as we would if they were born? For example, if 2-year-olds were being killed at local hospitals, paid for by our tax dollars, with some of your audience members’ involvement, would you withhold the most compelling evidence of the toddlers’ deaths? Why are we holding a double standard when it comes to exposing the injustice directed towards the most weak and vulnerable of human beings?

Keep in mind that abortion supporters are lying to our children when they claim abortion is a mere "choice." Why would we facilitate this lie by refusing to show the strongest evidence we have to the contrary? That, however, is exactly what abortion supporters want us to do. You can be sure that Planned Parenthood would ask the same question you just did.

When human lives are on the line, can anyone, in good conscience, exclude the most powerful evidence there is to show that abortion kills children?

i Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail," in Ideals and Ideologies: A Reader, T. Ball and R. Dagger (US: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc., 1999) 365.