Tuesday, December 31, 2013

An Open Letter to My Friend, Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, Regarding the Use of Graphic Images

Why this picture? Because why not?
Dear Troy,

Two weeks ago before filming our January episode of LifeTalk, a particular gauntlet was thrown down. In case you've forgotten, let me refresh your memory: Mark Crutcher said we might have time to discuss the use of graphic images on the show, at which point he looked over at me (seeing as I was the only person in the room against their use) and in true Mark Crutcher fashion smirked because he knew he'd basically just fed me to the wolves. You then replied by asking if I was indeed against their use, and when I responded "yes" you said, and I quote, "I'm going to make you cry like a little baby and beg everyone here for forgiveness for thinking that way."

While it was said in jest (mostly) I won't lie, I was rather intimidated. Which is why I then went on to completely bomb during our taping since the entire time rather than focusing on our round table topics I was preparing my points, oh, and picturing you, sir, crying like a little baby. And it was awesome. However, we ran out of time and it'll be two more months until we have the chance to discuss this on LifeTalk so I've decided to challenge you to an online debate.

Because, after all, everyone knows all the world's problems will be solved on the internet.

Here's how this will work- I'll go first, and then if you choose to accept this challenge I will post your reply unedited in this same blog post (get one of your grandkids to explain what that means if you don't understand).

If you choose not to reply, I can only assume it's because you've become so overwhelmed by tears you're unable to functionally operate a keyboard since your complete wrongness on this issue has crushed your spirit and you can no longer hold your head up to see what you are typing.

Okay, so enough yammering. Here is why I do not believe in using giant pictures of aborted babies outside of abortion clinics:

More than being anti-graphic images, I am pro what works and I do not believe these are the most effective weapons pro-lifers have in their arsenal. (note to NSA: that was just a metaphor.)

If you talk to the people who are out on the sidewalks, having multiple saves a week, you will find that one of the most powerful resources they have are mobile sonogram units. I don't know why, but when these women going in for abortions see "Malachi" or the other precious babies whose mothers chose abortion, they are not seeing what you and I are seeing. However, when they see sonograms of their own living, thriving babies inside their wombs they change their minds. And they're doing this at an insanely awesome rate.

In order to understand why that's the case, we must understand where these (often young) women are coming from, and I do. I've been sixteen and pregnant, and terrified out of my mind. You're running on pure emotion and a burst of hormones when facing a crisis pregnancy, and honestly you need real answers. Real resources. Real help. You need to know it is possible for you to have your child without your whole life being flip upside down. And if the sidewalk counselors standing out there offering those very resources cannot get that message across in the seconds they have while that woman is pulling into the parking lot and walking into the clinic, then odds are that young woman will feel like abortion is her only option.

Which brings me to my next point: You cannot fight fear with fear. What emotions women feel when seeing these images will likely shape her next steps. If they induce feelings of disgust and anger, she will contrast that with how she feels inside the clinic. I know most of the individuals who use graphic signs on the sidewalks are out there to let the women know exactly what they're doing and face the truth of abortion before they make a choice that cannot be undone. Unfortunately, what it comes across as to a majority of these women is condemnation. They have already been warned about the "mean and nasty pro-lifers" when they made their appointment on the phone, and so when they see you, they turn away. You've successfully made the most dangerous place in the world seem like a safe haven as they rush in the doors of that abortion clinic. 

To truly understand this, please, please, please talk to as many post abortive women as you can. The ones who are now pro-life are such a vital wealth of knowledge to us. They have spent countless hours thinking about the biggest mistake they've ever made; wondering what would've caused them to change their mind... knowing what didn't. I've talked to so many who have said they would not walk up to someone holding a sign in a million years. And I've also talked to others who desperately wished someone would've been out there offering them an alternative.

Now, this next part is going to sound harsh and I've really debated whether not to even include this in my argument but I truly believe some of the people out there with their bullhorns and grim reaper costumes need to hear it. I have been called a coward many times for not supporting the use of graphic images, as if this were all about placating the masses or winning popularity contests with pro-choicers. But to put it bluntly, I think many of the people (not all, but some) who are holding up these 8ft. signs of aborted babies are using them as a cop out, whether they know it or not. I'm not saying they aren't good people, but when you basically have a giant sign in front of you shielding you from the very women in crisis you're trying to help, I have to wonder if you care more about actually saving them and their children, or simply checking the "did pro-life work today" box. In my experience, it is much harder to engage an abortion minded woman in a life or death conversation (knowing she might still choose abortion) which will leave you tossing and turning at night wondering what you could've said differently, than it is to hold a sign up for a few hours on a sidewalk and deflect a few one finger salutes. That method is outdated and I firmly believe it costing us lives. Don't get me wrong, I admire the passion and willingness to be out there when so many others refuse to speak up for the unborn but it's time everyone steps it up a notch. Do you want to save babies or not? Do you want to help scared, confused women avoid one of the worst mistakes they'll ever make? If so, then it's time to work smarter. I'm sick of hearing, "Well, we saved 10 babies last year with graphic signs." What if you could've saves a thousand? It's time we join together and find out what works best, and what doesn't work at all and is driving women into these clinics.

Sidewalk counselors will tell you it is exponentially harder to get a woman to come over to the fence or sidewalk if there is someone standing nearby with a large graphic sign. And these same counselors employ smaller graphics themselves in their handouts, but when they are vulgarly displayed by someone pacing back and forth it completely obliterates that tool. See, sidewalk counselors realize one key thing that we all need to understand: The conversation that goes along with these images is VITAL. A precious child gave it's life for that image and we need to respect the power it holds.

When someone sees one of these pictures and it is not put into context, and it's not part of a discussion where a foundation of trust has already been laid, the viewer is left to figure out your motives all on their own. I can tell you, nine times out of ten, they assume you're only doing it out of judgement & condemnation. That is why people flip you off as they drive by... not because they hate "seeing the truth," but because they think you're a self-righteous a-hole.

Now Troy, I know that you yourself were converted by a graphic image in your twenties, so I look forward to your rebuttal. Also, please note I'm only discussing the use of graphic images outside of the abortion clinics here, not on college campuses or on trucks driving around town. Although you can bet I have pretty strong opinions about those too. ;)

P.S. Let me know if you need me to ship you some Kleenex. 

Your friend (who loves you enough to tell you when she thinks you're super wrong),


Troy's Response...
Updated 3:20pm 1/17/14

Dear Destiny,

I am going to accept your offer to ship me a box of Kleenex. I keep a box on my desk, and I regularly take them with me for outreaches at abortion clinics, colleges, and virtually every place we display the pictures of the victims of abortion. I use the Kleenex to wipe away the tears I shed for the millions of helpless children who have been violently murdered by a society that views abortion as a political topic to be callously debated at the polls.

I understand very well why you don't like the images, Destiny; because I don't like them either.  These victims’ photographs are heartbreaking. In fact, if anyone could view the photographic evidence of abortion and not feel emotionally pressed then I would suggest taking their pulse, because they obviously lack a heart.

So, please, send me a case of Kleenex. I need them. I need them because I’ve personally held the tiny remains of babies recovered from the trash cans of abortion mills. My heart is broken for those precious babies. I have also read the autopsy results and seen the autopsy photographs of mothers who died on the abortion table. More heartache and tears.

And I know that you know this.  You undoubtedly know that abortion is not an abstract idea without real consequences. It is more deadly than Fukushima; it has been more effective in genocide than Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini combined. You could add in the deaths of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Afghanistan and the Iraq war and still not get close to the 55 million corpses created by the Abortion Cartel.

And that Abortion Cartel – the bad guys in this fight – never had to flee the righteous indignation that once engulfed this country over slavery and the Axis powers.  Instead, these hired assassins just set up their death chambers on Main Street, USA, and started basking in the power of the White House, the political elite, and the mass media. The Abortion Cartel is defended by every enforcement agency with an acronym – FBI, ATF, NSA, SWAT, IRS…. And you and I?  Well, we fund the human carnage, as the United States Treasury (aka, your tax dollars) dumps truckloads of money into the coffers of the death dealers.

While the murder mills churn out dead children like a coal plant spits out carbon-dioxide, spineless politicians place abortion on the same level as a tax cut, building a school, or some other throwaway item to be debated in the next election cycle (if we are lucky enough for them to mention it at all).

Oh, and what about the people of faith and good conscience? You know, the ones who darken the halls of our local churches, synagogues, and houses of God? Yeah, those guys can't be troubled with "divisive issues.”  They don't have the stomach to talk about, let alone do anything about, the human carnage taking place just a few blocks from their houses of worship. They are too busy being nice, and liked, and not making waves. (I believe there is a special place in hell for those sorts of hypocrites.)  And, to make it worse, some of these so-called men and women of god actually "sanction," "bless," and "endorse" the inhuman act of tearing babies heads from their torsos. One such church, Presbyterian Church (USA), has a General Assembly that voted to "endorse" the grotesque act of partial birth abortion. Time and words will not permit me to tell of the apostasy of denominations like ELCA, United Methodists, and Episcopal “churches.” (The parable of the Good Samaritan hits directly on this point. How many leaders pass on the other side of the road as victims cry out for help?)

To recap, the majority of the people in the United States view abortion as just one issue of many. For them, abortion is just an abstract and theoretical idea with minimal consequences. Unfortunately, many pro-lifers have adopted a similar faulty concept – that somehow abortion ought to be fought but not defeated, that abortion, although bad, is not a ghoulish evil of unspeakable proportions.

Abortion is not an "issue.” It’s a baby that once had a beautiful beating heart, but was then hacked to death and tossed into our landfills – or sold to a death-starved medical research company to be used for Island of Dr. Moreau-like experiments.

My point, Destiny, is while the babies’ bodies stack up like cord wood and the enemies of the children surround us at every turn, how can we, as true advocates of these babies, fail to use every tool we have at our disposal to end the slaughter? We need all hands on deck, and every able-bodied person using all their gifts and abilities to fight this war to its conclusion.

Viewing the results of abortion is upsetting; it will make you nauseous. The images are so disturbing, in fact, that the purveyors of death who can debate "choice," or even the abstract idea, are immediately defeated every single time the objective images of the children physically paying for their "choice" are displayed.

Consequently, the death merchants and their minions go to extreme measures to silence their tiny voices that speak from the grave. I have been falsely arrested, sued and even had my Truth Trucks illegally impounded for displaying victim imagery.

Just this week, I was in Los Angles testifying at a trial over why we use such graphic pictures. A few years ago, the lighting crew of Jimmy Kimmel's show was doing an outside taping while we were on Hollywood Boulevard. The crew and the police decided they did not want to see the truth of abortion, so they turned their powerful spotlights on our youth group. Our kids suffered burns and one of our members was falsely arrested. But, this week the advocates of death were forced to re-see the truth and paid a dear price as they paid a huge sum of money to settle the case.  The sweetest point, however, wasn’t the win.  It was when the defendants openly wept for the babies and prayed with us, even after they lost the lawsuit. For them, the pictures took abortion from a political pawn to an objective horror and our defeated opponents vowed to cease their apathetic path.

You see, Destiny, the abortion victim images have the unique power to change hearts and minds with just a glance.  The reason polls reflect that pro-life sentiment is increasing is largely due to the widespread use of the imagery. My personal experience has been that thousands upon thousands of people have converted to our side simply by viewing these images. I have spent the better part of the last 20 years displaying and advocating for the use of such photography. Like Able, whose blood called to God from the ground, the abortion victims have something to say from the grave.

Using pictures of postnatal children, or cute sonogram pictures, simply do not have the same impact on people. Even the proaborts agree that a live baby is good. Equally true: a dead baby is bad.  However, with every photo of that dead child the hypocrisy of the death supporters is immediately exposed and crushed.

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Well, these pictures are worth more than the countless words on countless reams of pro-life literature that have been written in the last 40 years. There is simply no better way to communicate the objective truth that abortion is a vile evil.

So, Destiny, don't join hands with those who advocate for death by silencing the cries of the victims. Let the victims speak, so that we can end the killing. Don't give in to the lie of being "nice" or not wanting to "hurt feelings." And, if you or anyone else is upset by the photos, then go ahead and grab some Kleenex and weep.  But then, stand up and renew your strength, and fight this battle to win it.  

My response: 
Updated 4:48pm 1/19/14

Brought to you by Kleenex.
...really wish we would've worked out a product placement deal with them.

Troy, I know you’re a very busy man and when you’re not getting arrested for something badass, you’re flying somewhere badass. So thanks for taking the time to engage in this debate.

That said, I want to make two things very clear right off the bat:

1.) This will be my last rebuttal. Blog posts are only meant to go on so long, and as I said, I know you have more important things to do with your time than argue with me on the internets. (…and oh yeah, I kinda have some childrens to be raise’n myself.)

2.) I adore you, Troy. You’re an amazing leader and embody everything that makes a dude rad: Charismatic, Charming, and fightin’ for the bebes. Nothing you do comes from a place of selfishness or malcontent. Your heart’s in the right place, and there is no bad blood between us.

That said, I’ve been dreading your rebuttal for weeks now, because before I begin any argument I flesh out all of my own weaknesses. “What are the best points they could be made against my argument”, “how will I respond to x, y, & z?” And so I was all ready for something addressing the issue of graphic images outside of abortion clinics, but instead you addressed their use in general and it kinda threw me off. I felt like it was somewhat emotional and rather abstract. And while I appreciate the lesson in graphic signs 101, I don't know that it actually addressed any of my true concerns. 

If I were you, I would’ve started with the reason why you, personally, support graphic signs. I hinted to your conversion story in my original post and I think that plays a key role.

I don’t have the audacity to claim I know the full story but I believe it went something like this- You were in your mid-twenties and someone showed you an image of an aborted child. Immediately the blinders came off and you saw abortion for what it truly was and from that day on you committed to putting an end to it.

That is noble. I commend the person who showed you that image. They’ve made an impact on the movement far more than they will probably even know. And so you rightly assume if it worked on you, why would it not work on others in the exact same way?

I think our own personal experiences (mine included) are what make this debate so emotional. I say that because you are not alone. Over the past few weeks I have been bombarded with (mostly) men and women who’ve disagreed with my initial post on this blog and claimed to have similar experiences. It’s as though they feel personally attacked, and like I’m saying I wish they never would’ve seen the light, or that I don’t think those babies they saved through this method are valuable.

That is absolutely not true.

I say, “Heck Yeah! That is awesome!” everytime I hear of anything working because I spend a pretty huge chunk of my time trying to open people’s eyes to the reality of abortion so I’m totally pumped whenever (and however) it happens. I merely want us to be as efficient as possible in our efforts.

These signs are basically the napalm of our movement. For all the good they do I feel they do just as much bad.

(I know a lot of you just tried to punch your computer. I’m very sorry. Please go get some ice for your fist then come back and try to hear what I’m actually saying. We accuse the people who blow past graphic signs without any consideration of being callous and closed minded, so we must be better than that ourselves. Truly attempt to hear what I’m saying. It is not a personal attack, as I know we are all on the same side. I just want you to consider a different perspective.)

I want what works. Bottom line. I want us to work smarter and not harder. While graphic images certainly have worked in the past, I think it’s time to take an honest account of the affect they are having now. We don’t have the luxury of using techniques that we “think” might…. probably…. sort of work… sometimes. That’s certainly not what Planned Parenthood is doing. They are researching what works and readapting constantly. We must be saving more women and children from abortion than we did last month, last year, and last decade. We have to be growing and reassessing just like our opposition.

Now Troy, since you opened the door to us discussing their use in general, and not just at the clinics, I will address that as well.

What was necessary in ’73 when we had subpar sonogram equipment and little access to fetal development information might have been these images. But now, I firmly believe they are turning more hearts against us than for us.

How do I know that? Because I know the men and women who drive by you and flip the bird or scream obscenities out their windows. I know the women who said they blew past such demonstrations at the clinic or snuck in a different way to avoid them all together. I study these women and because so many are friends of mine they allow me to pick their brains about exactly what those signs made them think and feel.

Last week I posed this question on my facebook. I’m blessed to be a writer here in Dallas, so my professional network is made up of vastly different opinions, and most are highly intelligent and thoughtful people. They have considered their stance on this issue thoroughly and so I knew they would be able to articulate their thoughts rather well.

Right off the bat this was brought up by a few of the women.

I found that very interesting, as I had not ever correlated our graphic images with theirs.

Just for fun, think about what you would do if you saw someone holding that infamous black and white picture of the woman folded over bleeding out on the floor from a DIY at-home abortion. Would your heart immediately break for her? Would you go up and ask the sign holder to tell you more about the image? Or would your first thought be, “That’s what she gets.” Be honest. Not with me, but with yourself. Images that abrasive and intense are too much for our brains to handle. They scare us, and rather than feeling fear which we deem a weakness, we get angry.

We must realize, when pro-choicers are seeing our signs, they’re having the exact same experience just in reverse. That’s why we get “F*** YOU!”’s rather than broken hearts coming to us for honest dialogue.  

I went on to ask what she would do if she saw one of these signs while driving with her daughter. (I often try to imagine the discussions that go on in cars as the truth trucks drive by since there is no opportunity for dialogue). Here was her response, because she had actually experienced such a situation.

The whole thread is still up on my facebook page if you feel like reading through 150+ pretty interesting comments, but I would encourage you to have your own discussions with the pro-choice friends. It’s so incredibly eye opening, and will ultimately help us fight this battle better.

So when it comes to images being used away from the clinic I will just say this- there’s a huge difference between “looking” and “seeing.” As Oswald Chambers so wisely said, “Eyes that look are common; eyes that see are rare.” You have a responsibility when showing victims of abortion to make sure people actually see their humanity, otherwise, like I said, it’s merely napalm scourging the hearts of many, rather than igniting change.

Finally, I want to focus specifically on images being used at the clinic again, by mentioning one of the fastest growing demographics when it comes to abortion: Women who already have children.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Women who already know exactly what that tiny little 8-week, 10-week, 12-week fetus will become in just a few months, are still choosing to abort. Women who know they are terminating not only a child but also a sibling, are still choosing to abort. Women who were at one point delighted and fascinated by their “What’s new with your baby this week” e-mails throughout their previous pregnancy are still choosing to abort. That means there’s a cold hard fact we need to face: They aren’t aborting because they do not know that child is a human being… they are aborting because even though they do, they are that desperate.

If we truly want to end abortion--and save babies--we need to do what works best, and most consistently by going after the root cause of it- fear. With help and resources for these women in need they will be able to consider other options. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is speak gently in love when all we want to do is scream out for justice. I know that. But it’s not about us, is it? It’s about them, and what we can do to keep those women from making the biggest mistake of their lives, and their precious children safe from harm.

Again, I admire all that you do Troy (as well as all of my other amazing pro-life friends who disagree with me here). I only ask you to consider what I’m saying and really take it to heart.

If you have anything else to say, the last word is yours.  Just send it to me when you get around to it and I’ll post it immediately.

For Life,

Troy's Response:
posted 1/30/14

Men talking about graphic images.


  1. You need to know it is possible for you to have your child without your whole life being flip upside down. And if the sidewalk counselors standing out there offering those very resources cannot get that message across in the seconds they have while that woman is pulling into the parking lot and walking into the clinic, then odds are that young woman will feel like abortion is her only option.

    I did sidewalk counselling years ago and I totally agree with this statement. Pictures of aborted babies have their place but it is not anywhere near a clinic. A woman walking into a clinic is there to abort. We have seconds to engage them and make them feel like we care. Like we can truly help them. I also agree that they see these pictures as condemnation. There's a saying that you meet people where they are - a woman with an unwanted pregnancy is not thinking about the baby - she is thinking about herself and her life and how it has become totally undone.

    The most successful woman counsellor we had outside a clinic was a woman who had a miscarriage at 3 months and was able to tell women what she had experienced - that she saw her baby, formed, his heart beating and that he was a baby to her - not a blob of cells as was being claimed in the 1980s.

    Good post. Thank you.

  2. I don't even know where to start on this one. I'm literally speechless.
    First off, I love the work you women do on this blog, and I'd like to thank you for it.
    Second off, anyone who says to an ally, "I'm going to make you cry like a little baby and beg everyone here for forgiveness for thinking that way" needs to seriously reexamine his focus.
    Third off, I will maintain 'till my dying breath that it is people who are either too old to be part of the digital world, or too deliberately removed from the world to understand the power of technology who are still pro-graphic image. Those of us who understand the power of the internet know that the mysteries of fetal development are nothing more than a Google search away. Gone are the glory days of the 80s, when people could pretend that there was nothing more than a "clump of cells" quietly growing away in a woman's uterus. Now, as gruesome as it is to hear, at least pro-aborts have to be intellectually honest and try try to frame the debate into things like "a child's life begins when the mother says it does". Not only does that show how intellectually dishonest they are, it also reveals the depth of the pro-abort selfishness. No graphic images necessary!
    Fourth off, speaking as a Catholic, seeing images of actual human beings turned into objects is abhorrent to me. It doesn't matter if you're turning people into objects for the pornography industry or turning them into objects for the pro-life cause: you've still turned an actual human being into something to be visually consumed for your profit.
    Fifthly (and I don't care if that's not an actual word), your point about holding the graphic image up as a shield to separate you from "the other" is spot on, and one I've never considered before. When putting something so obviously repellant between you and the very person you're hoping to convert, how can you subliminally be hoping for anything OTHER than distance?

    I'm looking forward to the rebuttal, and thank you once again for the good work you ladies do.

  3. Oh my gosh I love this. Thank you, Destiny!

    I've been praying outside abortion clinics for some time now and am working on starting a sidewalk counseling program at my college. And to be honest it's somewhat terrifying because it is HARD to start these types of conversations. And to make it worse, we have old men waving these types of signs while - get this - yelling through a traffic cone (!) at the women as they go in.

    They yell about how much these women are sinning and how they will go to hell. They yell at the workers. And one time a husband/boyfriend was outside smoking and what did these men do? They verbally abused this man who was close to tears. I didn't feel like I could intervene but I regret that I didn't. If only someone had shown a little love to that man, and shown him that this was not his only option, perhaps him and his partner would have chosen otherwise.

    I cannot stand it when people stand and yell with these signs outside clinics. It breaks my heart. Is that really acting out of love? I don't think so. I think anyone who believes in the use of graphic signs outside clinics needs to talk with women like you because let's face it: unless you've been in that position you DON'T know exactly what the woman is going through. So you need to listen to women who have been there and use the methods that work.

    I'm a young woman and while I've never been in that position I can tell you for certain that a person yelling at me in such a way would not be an invitation to me to change my mind. Like you said, it makes the clinic feel safe. I'm looking forward to following this discussion and pray that peoples eyes will be opened.

  4. I am ready to read this! Also, I really love the sense of humor accompanying this debate. It takes the edge off.

  5. Cari summed up what I think pretty nicely. Great, great post. Keep up the awesome work.

  6. I don't call them graphic images anymore, they are photos of the victims of abortion. We must humanize these children and to downgrade them to merely graphic images just does not do that.

    These children must be seen. The world will not reject abortion until it SEES abortion for what it truly is.

    I have been to Auschwitz in Poland and seen the ovens where the jews were thrown. I have been to Corrie Ten Booms house in Harlem, Holland and stood inside the hiding place in the her wall where the jews would hide. I have been to Birkkenau in Poland and stood outside the gas chambers where the Jews were gassed. All of these were powerful things to see and experience but still incomplete without the pictures and movies of the ACTUAL people we refer to as the Jews and what the Nazi's did to them.

    We show the instruments used by the abortionists to kill the babies. We stand outside the buildings where the babies are butchered. We see the dumpsters and medical waste containers that the babies are thrown into. But none of that is complete without showing the humanity of the babies and what happens to them in the images of their bodies and what the abortionists did to them.

    The photos of the victims of abortion are meant to upset, nauseate, incite and motivate us. They are meant to offend to the point that we can no longer look the other way. They are disgusting, but not as disgusting as the fact that our society allows this holocaust to continue. If the photos of these victims of abortion upset you; good. I am sure these victims are pretty upset about being ripped limb from limb.

    There is a time and place to use these photos of the victims of abortion, but they must be used and we must end show the world what abortion ACTUALLY is.

    1. Bryan Kemper, I think you failed to notice that what Destiny is talking about here is using the photos of the victims of abortion outside the abortion clinics, and how that is NOT helpful in the urgent situation that is taking place there on that very street. Yes, I agree that our society needs to know what is happening to millions of babies each year; it is horrific, and the babies whose lives and deaths are memorialized in those photos are speaking through their photos, and their voices need to be heard. As the article above points out, graphic images such as those are included in many of the pamphlets handed out to those women who come over to speak with the counselors, and I feel that this is where they are most effective. Getting the abortion-minded woman over to the counselor is imperative, and the presence of a giant sign featuring a dead baby is hindering that. You say that the photos as meant to "upset, nauseate, incite and motivate us." Who is "us"? The pregnant woman going into Planned Parenthood? The last thing I want to do is incite her. I want to show her compassion and let her know there is another way. Her baby is not going to benefit from her being upset outside the clinic and feeling welcome inside it. We need it to be the other way around.

  7. Thank you for starting this discussion, Destiny. I've gone back and forth about this issue. I've heard may argument for an against. My biggest argument against was always, "what if that's a photo of my own child?" I deeply regret my ignorance and don't think I would have ever done such a thing if I would have known better, known the truth. That child on that poster is soneone's child, someone's sister, brother, grandchild, etc. I don't think it's acceptable to use the photo of a mutilated murder victim, especially without the consent of the family, to make a point. It's objectifying. Others are correct. And then the flip side... No one was at the clinic the day I went to to have my abortion. No praying nuns, bull-horn toting grim reapers, sign-carrying shouters. I have always wondered. I will always wonder, would it have mattered? At that age I had never seen a graphic abortion sign. The who/what of abortion had truly not been contemplated by me or my then partner. Would it have made a difference to him? So I thank you again for opening up this debate with folks within the movement that I so deeply respect. (Mr. KEMPER that includes you as well.)

    1. Also sorry about my poor typing... Phone smh

  8. The baby I saved... yea, I didn't do it by throwing pictures of aborted babies at the young mom... I spent months with her and the father educating and supporting them. There is a time and place to show the pictures of the babies who have died from abortion, but for the WONDERFULLY written comments above, the sidewalk in front of the clinic is SOOOOOOO not the place. Destiny... if you need any back-up (which I HIGHLY doubt), let me know... and yes, lets end abortion together in 2014 with education and TRUE support of abortion-minded mothers and fathers and post-abortive mothers and fathers...

  9. I agree with your points, but I do think the graphic pictures are helpful for men to see that no, this isn't a woman's choice. It's a murdered baby, and it's despicable. I posted an article on facebook a while ago that included pictures as well as descriptions of the abortion process. The response from pro-abortion men was astounding. Several even messaged me to tell me how that article had changed their minds. One even said, "I'm just not okay with that." Politically, that's huge.

  10. I see both your points. It's important to acknowledge the humanity of the victims of abortion. I agree it's important to use these images in the right time and place. But NEVER outside an abortion clinic.

    Because guess what, Troy? Women are sometimes the victims too. Statistics show that a huge number of women are coerced into having abortions. And you did not address that. You failed to address the the MOST IMPORTANT people who would actually be seeing these images. Do you think they need to be shown these images in that moment? Have you ever been there yourself or asked a woman to give you insight as to what she most needs in that moment?

    So much of they time they know full well what they're doing. My gosh, people aren't stupid. The need to be shown an alternative. In that desperate moment of walking in, I've only ever seen women turned away by people who use these types of images. Does she see it and think "By golly, there's someone who will help me!"? Probably not. So your claim that "thousands" have been converted in an instant? I've never seen that. Do you have proof? I'd be interested to see it. And I want to hear their stories. Funny how you never read those . . .

    Your position, while in a way shows the humanity of the unborn, does not show compassion to women heading into clinics. Or to post-abortive women. While I truly appreciate men taking a stand for life, your position is food for those who claim we "shame" women and only care about the baby. This is not loving. This does not show those who are against us that we care about the woman AND the child. Troy, you focus almost completely on the child. Moms matter too.

    And that is why it saddens and disappoints me to see such a pro-life leader take this uncompassionate approach. Troy, while I highly doubt comments will change your mind, PLEASE consider the fact that moms are part of the equation too. And if they are not reached, there ain't nothing we can do about ending abortion.

  11. Go Destiny! As a woman who ALMOST had an abortion, I have to agree with you. It was the sonogram that saved my baby, and fear that almost took her.

  12. Destiny, great job. I rarely have the time to sit and read something this long but this was worth it. I have some additional points to add to your argument.
    First, besides the practical question of "What works best?" the moral question needs to be addressed focusing on the object of the act itself. Is it moral to display these images publicly to an indiscriminate audience who is has not been forewarned? I am not saying it is not moral but that we need to consider the object of the act itself, not just its consequences.

    Back to the practical concerns - here are some other problems with displaying such images in ANY public setting:

    § It further distances pro-choice people from being pro-life because it adds to the stereotype that pro-lifers are weird, extremist, strange, creepy, etc.

    § Instead of building “common ground” it immediately causes division and tension, not only with pro-aborts, but among pro-lifers. Yes, we should be uncomfortable with abortion but not uncomfortable being pro-life or with pro-lifers.

    § This carries with it the effect of inoculating people from being pro-life. For many, the only taste of the pro-life movement is a bad one; one they would rather not taste again.

    § It prevents some who are at heart pro-life from speaking and getting involved in the pro-life movement. I.e. we are not inviting people in, attracting members but scaring them away and perhaps making them feel embarrassed to be on the same side.

    § If someone’s mind is not changed on abortion, by using these images we desensitizing people to these images and the images becoming banal. In other words, the images should be an essential part of the whole package but not front cover. This has the effect of desensitizing us even more to abortion, thus producing the opposite effect of what those who use the pictures are trying to do.

    § My own experience as a teacher is that the pictures should be used but only after the audience has come to trust you and all of the other “pro-choice” arguments have been broken down. By analogy, if it were a book designed to persuade people to choose life and to oppose abortion, the pictures would be a necessary part of the book but never the front cover.

  13. - “I understand very well why you don't like the images, Destiny; because I don't like them either. These victims’ photographs are heartbreaking. In fact, if anyone could view the photographic evidence of abortion and not feel emotionally pressed then I would suggest taking their pulse, because they obviously lack a heart.”

    No Troy. That is not why Destiny doesn’t “like” the use of these images. She never said it was because she can’t stomach looking at this, or they are too distressing for her to see. This is a false representation of her point – which is that these photos are not productive in the context of clinic, they do not sway women from having abortions – and rather condescending.

    - “So, Destiny, don't join hands with those who advocate for death by silencing the cries of the victims. Let the victims speak, so that we can end the killing. Don't give in to the lie of being "nice" or not wanting to "hurt feelings." And, if you or anyone else is upset by the photos, then go ahead and grab some Kleenex and weep. But then, stand up and renew your strength, and fight this battle to win it.”

    Again. So condescending. As though Destiny, who runs a blog speaking out against abortion, would silence the cries of the unborn. As though she is worried about being nice or hurting feelings.

    Besides your condescending straw men arguments, the rest of your piece is an appeal to emotion. You are right that abortion is heinous, horrific, inhumane, atrocious. And. This does not, on its own, justify much of anything.

    Restraint requires courage, and strength. It is not a sign of weakness or acquiescence when people lay down their lives quietly and humbly and in gentle love.

    So. The question remains: Is restraint of our righteous indignation required to best serve those who walk into and work at abortion clinics?

    It’s not – do we have to feel bad about images… or avoid things that bother us… or water down our message to get along… or anything else that you’ve misrepresented the question to be.

    It’s, do graphic images help save babies outside of clinics. Or do they make that work harder. And you haven't answer this.

  14. Destiny, you've changed my mind (with the help of the comments made by Cari, aSingleDropInTheOcean, Gavin, About Me, and Shauna)! I've been using graphic images outside our local abortion clinic for a few years. I've always had some ambivalence about doing so; however, the clinic is situated in such a way that it's almost impossible to lawfully have any interaction with the women (and men) going into the clinic, so I've been using the photos of aborted babies as a last-ditch effort to get the women (and men) to realize the atrocity of what they are about to do.

    After reading your very well-articulated blog posts (and seeing what I perceive to be weaknesses in Troy's and Bryan's points, as much as I respect those two men and appreciate all they do!), I'm starting to rethink my strategy. I think that I've been going about things less effectively (perhaps a LOT less effectively!) than I could be.

    Thank you so much for opening my eyes and educating me. I do still think that there is a time and a place for graphic images, but now I don't think that in front of the abortion clinic when girls are arriving for their abortion is such a time and place.

    I think I'd be better off to make a big sign with a caring, hopeful message of some kind on it. Feel free to suggest what that message might be! (And would it be good, do you think, to include the picture of a cute baby, or would that detract from the effectiveness of the message???)

  15. Thanks Destiny, Shauna & anyone else who contributed to this very important conversation!
    It was interesting how Troy didn't respond to Destiny's context - the question of using aborted victim's pictures AT THE ABORTION CLINIC. I thought that was the only context/place the "graphic pictures - why or why not" question was on the table for discussing. As a sidewalk counselor, it's very true - if you're holding a sign, it's really going to be difficult to get a conversation going. I think you've proved your point though, for sure. :)

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