If there’s one thing we hear everywhere we go; at “Choice” Chain, at Banner Project, at Highway Project, and post-carding, it is this: “What about the children?” While post-carding angry fathers burst out of their front doors, waving our postcards at us and exclaiming, “What if my kids saw this?” At “Choice” Chain people get right up close to yell that, “There’s a day care around the corner!” When we sit by the side of the road at Banner Project driver after driver rolls down the window to angrily declare that they have children in the back seat of their car. So as parents, guardians, aunts, uncles and concerned citizens gather to ask us, “What about the children?” We have one answer for them; it’s all about the children.
I know that many people are legitimately concerned about their children, but I have my doubts about some. When I see children that only start to cry after their parents start yelling, (like at yesterday’s Banner Project where a little boy begged his dad to get back into the vehicle and stop yelling because he hadn’t even noticed the pictures) I wonder if it’s out of concern that these parents are upset or if it’s because of guilt. Most children have a clear sense of justice and when they see abortion victim photography, they see it for what it is; a brutally murdered baby. Their questions of, “Who hurt the baby?”, are not answered with reassurance that this is something bad that is going to be stopped; instead parents become angry because they don’t know how to tell their children that they believe mothers should have a choice, a choice to kill their children. And so, their guilt and anger is taken out on their most likely targets: us, and as they yell and scream I often long to turn the question around and ask them; “What about the children?”
While doing “Choice” Chain in downtown Hamilton a mother and her friend passed by with a beautiful little girl in tow. She clapped her hand over her child’s eyes and angrily asked why her, “F****** four year old had to see this.” Unfortunately, as she continued to spew ﬁlth from her mouth she did not feel the need to cover her child’s ears, an action that I felt like leaning around my sign and doing for her. And as she, inches from my face, demanded that I stop assaulting her daughter’s eyes with "that garbage" I itched to politely request that she watch her language in the presence of minors.
Banner Project brings still more concerned parents to address their concerns on the tops of their voices. Pulling over to bellow that, “This is NOT how to get your point across you (colorful insult)” and angrily add that, “I have children in the car that are scared now,” is a common occurrence. And every time this happens I long to ask, “And so the way to get your point across is to scream vicious names out of your window? The way to keep your children calm is to screech that they, who at this point are merely confused, are terriﬁed? You, sir, clearly never took child psychology, or, if you did, you failed it, and failed miserably."
In fact, as we hear the collective clamor of people who demand we remove our signs "for the children’s sake," inside my heart is breaking. Because they are right, it should be about the children, and from our side at least, it is all about the children. It’s about the children that are being torn apart every day. It’s about the children that have to grow up in a world that does not value human life. It’s about the children who walk past our signs and ask; “Daddy, Mommy, who broke the babies?”
There are legitimate concerns, that cannot be denied. Preferably children would not see these images. Preferably these pictures would not even exist. But as one of my friends asked a someone at “Choice” Chain, “If you were on a walk with your child and saw another child across the road being beaten, would your ﬁrst concern be the fact that your child is seeing an injustice and cover his eyes, or would you rush across the street to deliver the child in danger?”
It’s terrible that children have to see the broken bodies of their friends, their neighbors, their siblings. It’s terrible that children have to ask, “why did someone hurt the babies?” It’s terrible. But isn’t it more terrible that we are more concerned with covering our eyes and the eyes of our children than coming forward to stop the violent action that ripped the babies from their place of safety and brought their bodies into the light of day in pieces?
Children, we have seen, time and time again, react as their parents react. At Banner Project a woman drove past with her windows rolled down. She had four small children in the backseat and I winced as she pulled up to the curb. I braced myself for the worst but she just leaned over and said with conviction, “Thank-you for doing this. It’s worth it.” Her children waved at us as she drove away. They had just seen injustice but their mother had shown them that what we were doing was working to save children, not end their lives, and the safety and security they felt in her presence was clear in their happy faces. But even if your children don’t react as these children you can take them onto your lap and tell them that they are safe. You can tell them that you love them, you can comfort them. The children that they saw, that you saw, were never safe. They were never loved and they can never be comforted.
Hurt feelings can be mended, tearful faces can be dried, fears can be soothed. But broken bodies can never be put back together. Life cannot be breathed into the tiny forms thrown into trash cans. Your children have you to ﬁght for them, but who will ﬁght for pre-born children? Please, think about the children.