Our Pro-Life Statue Blessed Mother Teresa of C...

In Washington, DC, a candidate for public office has run graphic ads on television showing images of aborted fetuses. Although I understand, as someone who believes abortion to be one of the most morally reprehensible and evil practices of the contemporary era, the frustration of pro-lifers, I do not believe that graphic ads are a good way to present the pro-life message.

One difficulty is that while some people may be persuaded by such images to believe that the fetus is a human person, this approach may harden others against the pro-life cause. The other major difficulty is that when pro-lifers appeal to emotional images, this is no better than pro-abortionists showing images of clothes hangers or of a woman’s physical damage from illegal pre-Roe v. Wade abortions. Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander–the pro-abortionists will fight emotion with emotion.

People with a conscience who will listen to reason may be persuaded by a rational pro-life case, along with pro-lifers being engaged with service to women in difficulty pregnancies through crisis pregnancy centers. This approach has worked well thus far; there are 200,000 fewer abortions in the U. S. each year than at the height of the post Roe v. Wade era, abortionists are looked down on by other physicians, and for the first time in many years, more people describe themselves as “pro-life” rather than so-called “pro-choice.” As long as pro-lifers continue to appeal to both empirical and good rational arguments, they will have an impact in reducing the moral outrage of abortion. But graphic images will only inflame emotions, bring out more aggressiveness in an already overly-hostile press, and may, ironically, result in more abortions in the long run. Pro-lifers, for the most part, have taken the high road thus far. They should continue to do so, and with God’s help, more unborn children will be saved every year.

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