Obviously most of us would agree that blowing up abortion clinics or gunning down doctors or workers is wrong. If you don’t think that’s wrong, take your business elsewhere.
That being said, there is a lot of gray area in what is “right” and what is “wrong” with pro-life work in general. I personally dislike the use of graphic images of aborted babies. I think it not only does NOT change hearts and minds (and often hardens them) but I think it denigrates the dignity of that baby. If you’re loved one was spilt into four pieces by being in a motorcycle accident with body parts all over the highway, would you want that pic used? For me, I wouldn’t. However, many people think this is the best way to educate and it’s a legal form of free speech.
But some of this free speech becomes a gray area. One story that haunts my memory is this one. In fact, it was so questionable that New Mexico Right to Life pulled their support of it once they realized the image wasn’t exactly what it seemed. The point being made of a father’s loss and lack of rights in an abortion could have been portrayed differently. And the ensuing fall-out from this billboard seriously undermined a valid point.
And if you think the ambiguity of whether the woman in that case had an abortion or a miscarriage is a strange thing, think again. Do you know what the medical term for miscarriage is, particularly a miscarriage in progress? It’s not miscarriage. It’s “spontaneous abortion.” And if a miscarriage is suspected the medical term is “threatened abortion.” I know because I’ve seen those words on my own personal medical records. Now imagine you’re a father in an unplanned pregnancy. Imagine there is some kind of disagreement as to whether you and your wife or girlfriend or occasional sexual partner want the baby. The woman goes to the doctor and finds out there is no heartbeat, no signs of life, the baby has died and she now requires a DNC. On her check-out paperwork it says “spontaneous abortion.” You’re not trained medically so you believe that she went to Planned Parenthood or another clinic and underwent an abortion when no such thing actually happened. Trust me, seeing those words on my own check-out paper, everything and I mean everything, goes through your heart and mind. I was already grief stricken and that was a knife in my heart.
While we’re led to believe the man behind the billboard in New Mexico was completely out of the loop on this one. But a situation like the one I described above could very well take place easily if there was still even limited contact. Publicly we’ve only heard one side.
This man, while certainly working through grief, severely harmed his underlying message by posing himself in his picture. He claims he had money donated from private businesses, Could he not have had enough money donated to hire an actor? I realize that personal witness is always best, but considering how he had to back pedal when more about his situation became known, it might have been a wiser move to make.
I think when we are looking at ways to promote a pro-life agenda, sometimes, we need to consider why we are doing this. This man had a very powerful message that most people do not now get because of how he chose to portray this message. In the end, yes it’s about the mother and father…but it’s also about the baby. If his campaign was seeking vengeance in his loss, then the life of the baby is nothing more than a utilitarian means to hurt the woman in this situation. Also, the kind of marketing that targets only the adults in the equation, mutes the life of the unborn child. That’s something we accuse the anti-life movement of doing all the time. That child deserves to continue his or her life and does not deserve murder. Yes his or her murder will impact his or her’s mother and father for the rest of their lives, but we cannot focus on one or the other to the exclusion of the child his or herself. Because if we do…we re-murder that child again and again.