Monday, April 29, 2013

Picturing abortion

A familiar tactic of prolifers is to carry graphic signs of aborted babies. This is controversial. Some people find that offensive. Of course, there’s a sense in which this is intentionally offensive.

I’d simply point out that animal rights activists do the same thing. Organizations like PETA have lurid videos showing animal cruelty. They do this to stir up public opposition to industrial meat, animal experimentation, &c.

So one question is whether showing pictures of cruelty to animals is acceptable, but showing pictures of cruelty to babies is unacceptable.


  1. I have thought about this for a while and the only conclusion I can come to is that people inherently know the value of a human baby and this is further proof of mankind suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.

  2. It depends more on whether the message is true rather than the means by which the message is conveyed. The means may be inappropriate. For example, it's often good to know if someone is male or female, but it's generally inappropriate to communicate it by displaying one's genitalia.

    In the case of abortion, the message is that it is wrong to kill unborn human beings. The shock value of displaying images of aborted babies were 1) made possible by those who are most offended by the images and 2) in line with the urgency of the message.

    In the case of animal cruelty, I don't know of anyone who is particularly offended by the images. Rather, the images are used to manipulate people's emotions to 1) sway public opinion and 2) garner donations to PETA or other animal-rights organizations. It's true that people abuse or exploit animals and I think we should treat animals humanely as those who are entrusted by God to care for them. However, they aren't human and don't have the same rights as humans. If public opinion is swayed to elevate animals above humans, then the message becomes false at that point and the propaganda has gone too far.