For some reason Williams feel it necessary like pro-abortion advocates to mention that showing images of abortion is in some way related to the US as if that's something inherently negative or even relevant. Yes, Abort67 may be supported by The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform an American organisation, but that's of little relevance when its realised that the practice of displaying graphic images was something that has its roots here in the UK and was in fact an export to the US rather than the other way round. Even if this were not the case, images and arguments have neither gender or nationality and should be allowed to speak for themselves regardless of who does or doesn't practice using them. It was in fact William Wilberforce who first commissioned images of human slavery to demonstrate to the public the horrific reality of slavery to those who were either ignorant or apathetic to the plight of African slaves.
Wilberforce realised that it's extremely difficult to argue with an image, these images made it difficult for people to ignore the obvious evil of slavery and made it increasingly difficult to justify. That's not to say that people still didn't try to justify slavery much like people still do today in the case of abortion for economic purposes, as if the value of a human life is trumped by financial circumstances. This is the strength of abortion images, they encroach on the area of support and appeal to our most basic intuitions and conscience leaving room for only irrationality or blind obedience to a radical pro-choice ideology.
Williams then argues that showing abortion images is counter-productive for the UK pro-life lobby and thus we should be in 'total opposition' to such tactics. He thinks that even if it does indeed stop some abortions it will ultimately cause offence and harden hearts, I can only imagine that this sort of thing was also said by well meaning Christians in response to Wilberforce's use of images of slavery. Of course images may offend, but more importantly they make it impossible for abortion to remain hidden, socially acceptable and out of the public's eye and instead make it something that must be addressed head on rather than swept under the cultural carpet. This of course is not to say that this is the only thing pro-life advocates should be doing but its certainly one important and vital cog in the whole operation, even if it makes some people uncomfortable.
Certainly not everyone is going to be ecstatic at seeing an abortion image, but I speak for myself and a number of others I personally know where the use of images has been instrumental in changing their politically correct views into philosophical and scientifically defensible ones.
Williams then states that because displaying abortion images may result in false accusations and lies that we should avoid using them so the pro-life lobby doesn't get charactered in the same way. Again going back to the use of images of slavery, it could be argued that slavery eventually would have been outlawed had images not been employed, of course this may have been the case, but it happened much quicker and effectively by using them! The truth is that when images are displayed near abortion clinics, they are silent protests, trained women are there to council women if they want to talk, there is no shouting or intimidation, just displays of what abortion does to the unborn. If pro-aborts wish to distort what happens that is up to them but we shouldn't stop doing something that has proven to be effective because we wish to avoid mud sticking to our cause.
There seems to be no perfect way of practising pro-life advocacy in the UK which is why I think its important that we use a variety of different approaches, some of which different people will be more comfortable with than others. Similarly this applies when preaching the gospel, some like Alpha, others street preaching and door-knocking. Each has individual strengths and weaknesses but I would never tell someone not to preach the gospel because I disagreed with their particular approach assuming that it was done with the right heart. It may be true that some may be further hardened by seeing an abortion image but likewise it may change other peoples minds who otherwise wouldn't have known the reality of abortion by other means. The article from the Vitae Foundation is an interesting piece even if it is based on anecdotal observations but as I've stated such methods must be used in partnership with other methods and are not in themselves stand alone approaches. To think otherwise is both simplistic and unrealistic.
|Sometimes a picture says more than words ever can.|