The photographic evidence of what abortion does to pre-born children is the most powerful tool the pro-life movement has in effectively exposing the brutal reality that it is. For too long, abortion has seeped into nearly every facet of society. What started in universities has become prevalent in high-schools, and is now making more regular appearances in middle schools as well. What was at first seen as a way to cover up infidelity or sex outside of marriage is now an accepted form of birth control and so-called family planning. What once crept into churches through the back door now struts confidently down the centre aisle of the sanctuary.
“How?” many pro-lifers are asking. “How did this happen so quickly?” The answer is simple: we didn’t see it, and most of us still don’t. As long as abortion is carried out behind sterile clinic doors, as long as the cool methods of decapitation aren’t common knowledge, as long as pre-born children can be dehumanized as ‘clumps of cells’ and ‘products of conception,’ it will be embraced and celebrated as a way for women to take control of their own bodies.
Abortion victim photography changes all that. When the public is forced to view what abortion actually is, when shattered bodies, tiny hands and feet and faces are seen for the first time, the words choice, empowerment, and autonomy fade into silence, broken by the horrified gasps of the newly-enlightened.
The images do not lie. Words can be twisted, debated, ignored, but images force themselves into our minds, burning themselves into our memories. The images are our best evidence, which means that, at the same time, they are a pro-choice advocate’s worst nightmare. These images shatter the secrecy masking abortion, and, desperate to replace the mask, the pro-choice movement will try any method at its disposal to once again hide the truth from the public eye.
“Those pictures are fake!” some try to claim. “They are doctored, photoshopped, and are dated incorrectly!”
Affidavits from abortionists themselves soon dispel any faith in those claims.
“Children will see them!” others announce. “Don’t you care about children?”
Yes, we care. We care so much that we’re here, trying to make sure that more children don’t die.
“This will hurt women who’ve had miscarriages!”
These images may be triggering to women who have had miscarriages because they recognize that they lost something of infinite value. All we’re trying to do is show that all pre-born children deserve to be loved and valued and even grieved in the same way.
And then one of the most raucous voices of them all: “Hate speech!” cries Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. “Showing these pictures is hate speech! You’re calling women murderers!”
First, the images of abortion victims that we use do not call abortion murder. The words on our signs state merely: Abortion, or “Choice,” along with the gestational age of the aborted child. There is no reference to murder, just an image showing what abortion actually is. If abortion is as empowering as Ms. Arthur claims, such an image should only inspire awe at the power of new-age feminism. Instead, it inspires horror and disgust, not towards women, but towards an action.
The idea that we can hate an action and love a person is foreign to people such as Ms. Arthur. As a case in point, pro-choice advocates have no problem labelling pro-lifers as disgusting human beings who should go to a place of darkness, fire, and brimstone forever. But actions are not people. Every one of us has done something that we shouldn’t have, every one of us has hurt others, every one of us has a overwhelming tendency towards selfishness. We don’t hate women, it would be hypocritical and wrong if we did.
Yes, we hate abortion. We hate it firstly because it ends the lives of innocent children, but there’s so much more to it than that. Abortion rips apart families, and hurts women in profound ways. Nearly every one of us at CCBR has had to face the tears of a woman who has been deeply wounded by abortion. “I never knew it looked like that.” many women have whispered as they pass our outreach projects. “I think of my baby every day,” others have confessed. “I’d do anything to go back and make a different choice”
Hating abortion does not mean that we hate women, and exposing abortion does not mean that we wish to hurt them. We do what we do because we want to spare them the hurt that abortion will cause, and to help them find hope and healing if it’s too late to make a different choice. Exposing abortion for what it is helps women to recognize the humanity of their pre-born child, and for many who have already had abortions, it gives them permission to grieve the loss that society keeps telling them meant nothing at all.
We show these images because we love women. Love is not always comforting words and pats on the back. Love is wanting the others highest good. Abortion does not set women free, only the Truth can do that, and these images are the truth. We do not deny that the truth can be cripplingly painful to come to terms with. We do not claim that the truth is always gentle; sometimes kindness may at first glance appear to be cruelty. Love requires us to expose injustice, not only for the sake of pre-born children, but for their mothers.
So many women have been lied to, and told that their pre-born children are not children at all. Former abortion clinic workers have revealed that two of the most common questions are: “Is it a baby?” and “Will the abortion cause the baby any pain?” To both of these questions abortion workers firmly declare: No. A woman’s insecurities, and the expectations of society and/or family or partner make them cling to these lies. The room filled with women recovering from this procedure is often filled with muffled sobs. Women have been lied to. We have been told that in order to be empowered, we must be able to kill our children. We have been told that our bodily autonomy is absolute, and all that matters is our hopes and dreams for the future. We have been told that babies are not babies. It is long past time that we are told the truth, anything else is entirely hateful.