Monday, December 23, 2013

Do Graphic Abortion Pictures Destroy The Innocence Of Children?

Yesterday I exposed the true nature of abortion at two parishes in St. John’s, NL. Outside St. Teresa’s Church a young father approached me to share his angst about his children being forced to look at my graphic picture of a 10 week old aborted baby. He took a very respectful attitude when he approached me, stating that he believed I was a person of some moral conviction for making my statement. However, he was disturbed because he said that his 5 and 6 year old children did not need to see that picture. “You’re taking innocence away from my two little children.” He then stated that he agreed with what I was doing but completely disagreed with my picture. I asked him if he had talked with his children about abortion to which he replied: “My son is 5 my daughter is 6, they think the world is a pretty simple place right now…you’re not helping, you’re not helping.” I replied. “The children will be fine, sir.” Clearly annoyed, he retorted, “I know my children will be fine, but that’s (referring to the picture) not fine for my children (to see)…you’re not giving my children a choice.” At this point the man left frustrated.

In retrospect I think I did a very poor job of consoling this father. My scripted answer to the charge that the pictures hurt children is to say something like:

“I’m sorry, ma’am, that children end up being exposed to this picture. I’m sorry that I have to take the approach I do. It is not my intention to target children with this message. In fact, it is out of concern for children that I am here.”

Clearly I should have stuck to my script but I suppose the charge of destroying the innocence of children caught me a little off guard.

When occasion permits I also like to assure parents that my prayers are with them, specifically asking that God would give them wisdom in debriefing their children after such an encounter. Personally, I cannot imagine that God would lead me by His Spirit to expose the horrors of abortion as I do using graphic images without at the same time offering a means, by His grace, to help parents safely interpret such an engagement to theirchildren.

At a recent pro-life conference in St. John’s a local psychotherapist presented her thoughts on many aspects of abortion impact on women and many aspects of our society, including the effects of graphic abortion imagery on children. She summarized her own comments succinctly on the latter aspect by indicating that children are much more resilient to these types of images than we think, perhaps much more resilient than adults.

On a related point, perhaps the most frequent question arising from people’s lips immediately after the shock of viewing my sign is,

“Why are you here, outside a Catholic parish, on Sunday morning, with your signs? You are preaching to the choir.”

I’ve pondered the best short answer to that question. Really, it comes down to this response, “Because you (we) are the only ones who can put an end to the killing.” The target audience is everything in this battle.

Should I instead stand outside the abortuary with my signs and expect the mothers, the abortionist, the abortuary staff, and the general public passing by to rise up with me and put together a serious plan to end legalized abortion? Or should I—like so many good souls in the pro-life movement—go regularly to the abortuary and make a token protest to assuage my outrage in front of those who are more or less directly involved with the killing? How many who do so really expect changes to happen or for anyone to take serious action to end abortion as a result of their visit?

I truly believe that if any one group is ever to be responsible for smothering legal abortion it will be Catholics. They have the power and authority in their hands, by means of their Bishops, the Successors of the Apostles, the guardians of Truth and the Moral Law.

I have addressed the controversy surrounding the use of graphic abortion imagery (more recently called “abortion victim photography") in a fairly comprehensive posting on this blog. The links provided in that posting lead to some of the best insights currently available. A recent online article is also well done. More discussion is certainly demanded given the inflammatory nature of reactions in the public square. This posting hopes to make a contribution in that regard.

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