So this week over at Aleteia, I’m talking about what it looks like when people, despite the Pope’s advice not to, become obsessed with abortion.
I don’t usually like writing about The Serious Stuff, because I don’t feel like that’s my charism. I’m more of the “witnessing to the culture about the fun parts of a domestic vocation” type thing, usually, but after reading this article over at the amazing New Wave Feminist site, I had to say something.
|Don’t you want to chub this baby?
Look at the fat rolls, y’all.
Predictably, with the hashtag “abortion” chumming the waters of Twitter, I had more response to that article than any other one I’ve written for the website. Most were very positive, though there was one person who clearly felt very strongly about the efficacy of graphic images in clinic protests.
The exchange of Tweets stayed very polite, and the person at the other end of the screen asked me to read an article written as an apologetics piece for the use of those sorts of pictures in pro-life vigils. Since the tone of the conversation had remained so respectful, I agreed, and clicked on the link.
Here’s the thing. If you’re writing a piece trying to garner support for your use of pictures of dismembered human beings, you probably shouldn’t plaster those very images all over your website. Because you know what? I’m not going to read what you have to say, because the images you’ve chosen to use are screaming at me so loudly I can’t hear anything else.
This goes for sharing pro-life news stories on social media outlets like Facebook. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve hidden from my feed because they post links to articles that come with a thumbnail of a dismembered baby. How is this pro-life? I wonder if the poster stopped to think what the emotional impact has on, say, a woman who has miscarried? I wonder if the poster stopped to think about families like ours, where the computer is in a central location, and my children can clearly see everything on my screen.
The thing is, there may have possibly been a place for the use of graphic images into the fight against abortion 15, 20 years ago. Before our digital media, intergoogleweb age, before the ubiquitous nature of ultrasound technology, it was easy for the abortion industry to convince their client base that “the procedure” was nothing more than the removal of a clump of cells.
But that’s not the case anymore. Now, with thousands of images of fetal development a Google search away, there is no question about what an abortion is, what it does, or to whom it’s being done.
|C’mon. Cute baby AND sweet old man?
Sign me up!
What we have now is a more complex set of deceits, centered around language like “fetus” or “embryo”, which seeks to dehumanize through Newspeak, and operates independently of images. Show an abortion supporter an image of an aborted fetus, and it won’t matter. They’ve seen it before, and it doesn’t convince them that the broken body in front of them had a right to life.
Don’t believe me? Take a deep breath and run a google “choose life” or “pro life” image search. You will find several memes mocking pro-life efforts, all using graphic images. The horror of the pictures have become the punchline of a twisted joke.
Instead of softening a heart, violent images like that, which are always displayed in an emotionally charged environment, only make people harder and more jaded.
Anyway, this whole post is really just a post script to my article, since the crazytown scene described in it is happily infrequent, yet the use of graphic images by people seeking to spread a pro-life message is sadly a common one. So yeah. Next time you go to share that lifesite news article or live action link, take a second to preview the thumbnail picture at very least.
Right. Tomorrow, back to our regularly scheduled “My Adorable Child Army Has Taken Over the Asylum”.