Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
May 21, 2001
Alta. Pro-life opts for graphic photos
Pictures of aborted babies needed to drive home message, says director
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Like their American counterparts, Alberta pro-lifers may soon start displaying huge pictures of aborted babies to bring home the message that abortion is evil.
Patty Nixon, executive director of Alberta Pro-life, said it is just a matter of time before the Alberta pro-life movement starts displaying gigantic pictures of fetuses on university campuses and colleges across Alberta.
"We'll begin doing it as soon as we can," Nixon said May 14. But she said the organization will not jump into the project until it has done its homework.
"You don't want to jump into a project like that just haphazardly," she said. "You want it to be well thought-out and understand the consequences involved in carrying out this type of project."
The move to graphic images was suggested by American pro-life activist Gregg Cunningham, who spoke at the organization's annual meeting May 5.
Cunningham, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, did a study of several successful reform movements in North America and around the world and found out that all of them had used graphic images to dramatize their cause.
"Again and again successful social reform movements have used shocking pictures as a vehicle through which they have dramatized (their cause)," he said. "It's very difficult to misunderstand a picture or to forget a shocking picture once having seen one."
The activist said the pro-life movement has to show graphically what abortion does to a baby, to the point of making people "sick to their stomachs."
"That's how social reform works," he said. "If you can't force-feed facts into people's heads, social reform is an illusory goal."
Cunningham and his group go to university campuses with huge, six-foot tall pictures of aborted babies that they display next to big pictures of victims of traditional forms of genocide such as the Holocaust.
"I think he is quite right (about the use of graphic pictures)," said Nixon. "I think it's the first time at least here in Alberta that we have heard such a compelling argument for their use.
"He has done a significant amount of research into the civil rights movement and other social reform movements and his arguments are quite solid."
Alberta Pro-Life, an umbrella group for several pro-life groups in Alberta, plans to take "a very close look at the use of the pictures," Nixon said, adding that the genocide awareness project would likely be the first display to be brought to university campuses in Alberta.
That project has already been discussed by the University Campus Pro-Life group.
"So it is just a matter of the timing when to bring (the graphic displays) to make sure that the students are trained to know how to deal with what's going to happen," she said.
The photos would come from Cunningham's Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, an organization that sells the photography at cost.
The graphic displays have worked so well in the U.S. that now Cunningham and his group plan to mount the pictures on trucks to show them during rush hour on the Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles.
They plan to hire off-duty police officers to drive the trucks. The drivers would wear a uniform similar to police to dissuade troublemakers.
Alberta Pro-Life owns three large semi-trailer vans that can be used to display some of the pictures, Nixon said. But since the movement doesn't own any trucks to move the vans around, the exhibits would have to be stationary.
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