There was some controversy at a Toronto abortion clinic yesterday, as a group called Show The Truth blitzed the street with a photo Burma shave-style protest. For the uninitiated, this means that dozens of people lined the street holding giant (4x6 foot), full colour photographs of aborted children at various stages of foetal development. Each placard was clearly (and accurately) labelled (e.g. 21 weeks, 4 weeks). Each photo was very graphic and clearly showed what pro-abortion types call the "products of conception" as they appear when removed from the mother during an abortion.
The typical reaction this group receives (they’ve even been called terrorists) is highly negative. These photos are very disturbing (pictures of murdered babies are about as offensive as you can get, after all) and no one is more disturbed than, naturally, pro-abortion advocates.
But I do not understand why. On what basis could anyone pose any rationale objection? If they object on the basis of offensive aesthetics, the reply is that our courts have consistently ruled that people living in a free and democratic society do not have the right to live free from offence, especially where peaceful demonstration is involved. On a more subjective level, I suppose the reply would simply be that, as abortion itself is offensive, it’s quite natural that photographic records of it would also be offensive.
What if they object on the basis of truth or factual accuracy? Well, they can’t; the photos are accurate, real and correctly labelled. They are, in every sense of the word, "true".
How about an objection on the basis that these photos may deter women from having an abortion, or make their decision more difficult? Well, that’s the whole point of the exercise, isn’t it? Surely pro-choicers are in favour of an informed consumer? A woman seeking an abortion, when confronted with new, factual information about the procedure, is placed in a superior position to a less-informed one, surely? A woman so informed may indeed choose not to have the procedure. Another may press on regardless. Surely the latter would be viewed as all the more virtuous by abortion advocates, and all the more hellish by the rest of us? But at least the decision, and the moral choices involved, were all the more informed for the new information? And the associated consequences more clearly chosen?
That is the troublesome nature of truth: it can be decried as very inconvenient, or even as offensive, but it can never be successfully attacked – on any front.
Res ipsa loquitur.