Do Gruesome Fetus Pictures Work?
Operation Rescue draws flac for their use of gruesome aborted baby pictures. What do those pictures accomplish besides grossing people out? Today I'll look at some reports posted by Operation Rescue West about the impact of the large gruesome aborted-baby posters that they use.
They save lives:
San Bernardino - An abortion-minded mom drove into the parking lot of an abortion clinic but would not get out of the car. Finally a sidewalk counselor approached her to talk. The woman said she had decided not to kill her child the moment she saw the signs the other pro-lifers were carrying.
Orange County -- Operation Rescue West displayed the large aborted baby photos in front of a high school. Soon a 17 year-old girl came out and talked of how a woman had the right to choose and how it was her body. The rescuers kept pointing to the picture of the baby and the baby's right to live. The girl became more and more angry as she talked to the prolifers. Finally, she conceded "You're right!" Then she confessed, "I am pregnant and I was getting an abortion tomorrow but now I can't do it and it is all your fault."
San Diego - A rescuer stood with his sign at an abortion clinic all morning long with no success. Later a woman drove up in an old car with a baby safely strapped in a car seat on the passenger side. She said that she had been there months earlier to kill the child now in the car but had seen the picture of the aborted baby and drove off. She thanked the rescuer.
San Bernardino - A grandmother came back to the abortion clinic where her daughter came to have an abortion a year earlier. She handed the rescuers there a picture of her daughter and her new grandbaby. She was turned around by the signs and didn't tell anyone of her plans until after she had the baby.
Chapman FPA - A crying woman bounded from her car, sobbing as she said, "You saved my baby's life! These pictures saved my baby's life! Thank you for being here." Then she proudly displayed her little boy in the back seat of her car. She told the pro-lifers that they were present at the abortion clinic months earlier when she came for an abortion.
La Mesa - "Your signs did some good today," a young woman said as she drove out the parking lot of the abortion clinic. "I am not going to have an abortion because of those signs."
They encourage thought, debate, and discussion:
Santa Monica - Operation Rescue held an education class on the sidewalk as school let out. Hundreds of students pored out of school to debate the rescuers. Soon lines began to form, pro-life students on one side and pro-abortion students on the other. Rescuers watched as the peaceful yet boisterous debate continued for nearly an hour and a half.
Southern California - Two pro-lifers dedicated a year be at busy intersections and public area with the pictures. Soon newspapers, TV, and radio programs debated the issue of abortion and why the people were out on street corners.
They provide a reality check:
Lynchburg, VA - A pastor came to Operation Rescue West's event on the downtown sidewalk. He only came to observe because he had heard so many negative comments about OR. He said he wanted to see them first hand. After viewing from afar for an hour he joined OR in holding the large aborted baby signs. A year later he called to say "I have been a pastor for 15 years and have never preached on the street or stood against any social problem. But now I go every week to the abortion clinics and save lives and souls -- and we have more members."
Denver - A 30ish woman was stuck in traffic as her eyes, full of tears, gazed at the pictures. She mouthed the words, "That is a baby." As the cars moved by she rolled her window down and said, "I never knew abortion did that. God bless you for being here!"
Omaha - A postman drove by the picketers three times before getting out to stare more closely at the child in the gory photo. He said, "I used to be pro-choice but now that I see this I am against abortion."
Portland - A police officer assigned to watch the Operation Rescue West crowd came over to the leader of the group. He asked several questions about the pictures and the age of the babies. He came back three more times before he exclaimed, "That is a baby! Abortion is absolutely wrong, I am glad you are here."
Santa Barbara - Teenagers on skateboards skated by Operation Rescue West on the tiny downtown street corner. After passing they stopped to debate the pro-lifers. They were all pro-abortion at first but left with newly held pro-life convictions saying it was the signs that turned them around.
They break down the walls that stand in the way of healing:
Lincoln, Nebraska - An 82-year-old woman hoppled down the street with a cane. She came to view the pictures the rescuers were holding on a public sidewalk. She stared at the photos for a while then began to weep. She said, "I killed my child sixty years ago. Abortion is murder." Rescuers consoled her with the forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
Century City - A man screeched his car to a halt at the sight of the pictures being held by Operation Rescue volunteers. He ran toward the signs and began to attack one of them. He absolutely destroyed the 5-foot picture. He then began to weep and confess that he had been culpable in an abortion; killing his own child. He repented and prayed with rescuers.
San Clemente - A woman jumped from her car to assault a sign-carrying pro-lifer. A policeman arrested her. The next day she called the person she assaulted, weeping and begging for forgiveness for the assault and for the abortion she had many years previous. The rescuer on the other end of the line prayed with her to believe in Jesus and for Him to forgive her.
Even within the prolife movement, there is a lot of disagreement about the proper use of the gruesome fetus pictures. Evidence is that they can be effective -- as these examples show -- at sparking debate, breaking past denial, and even preventing abortions. But where and when are they the most effective method?
Karen Black, a post-abortion counselor who came into the rescue movement, says that experience shows that the gruesome photos are most effective in the following settings:
Black recommends, though, that such pictures not be used in conjunction with attempts to reach women as they approach abortion facilities. The signs might be effective at intersections near the facility, where women must drive past to get to the facility. However, at the facility itself they tend to set up a barrier to communication.
Gruesome fetus pictures can be effective, but must be used with care.
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