Published on October 4, 2013 by Christian Concern:
Two of the most prominent figures in the abortion debate went head to head last night in London over the issue of whether it is right to use graphic abortion imagery outside UK abortion clinics.
Ann Furedi, CEO of the UK’s largest private abortion provider, BPAS, and Gregg Cunningham, Executive Director of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR), took part in a two hour debate. Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked Online, chaired the debate.
The motion debated was: “This House believes that it is morally wrong for groups to approach women and display abortion imagery outside facilities which provide abortion services.”
Ms Furedi acknowledged that the pictures are “disturbing” and called the displays outside abortion clinics “inhumane” and “reprehensible”, believing them to be morally wrong.
Furedi also likened the pictures to pornography, saying that they take things “out of context”.
Taking issue with the displays being called “protests”, Mr Cunningham said that when a person holds up a picture of an abortion, “abortion protests itself”.
In response to the claim that the pictures are “pornographic”, Cunningham said that whereas pornography dehumanises, abortion imagery underlines the humanity of the unborn.
The “value” of the unborn child was also discussed, with Furedi saying that it is relative depending on whether the woman wants to continue with her pregnancy or not.
The debate ended with a vote. 23 attendees thought that it was morally wrong to show pictures of abortion outside clinics and 117 thought that it was not.
The issue of displaying graphic pictures of aborted babies outside abortion clinics has become an important point of discussion in recent years.
Such images have been regularly displayed outside a BPAS clinic in Brighton over the past two years by CBR-UK / Abort 67, a group allied to the Center Bio-Ethical Reform.
In 2012, two leaders of the group, Andy Stephenson and Kathryn Attwood, were arrested and charged under Section 5(b) of the Public Order Act, for displaying graphic abortion images outside the clinic.
However, in September 2012, the pair were acquitted in Brighton Magistrate’s Court.
District Judge Nicholson explicitly rejected police and Crown Prosecutors’ arguments that Mr. Stephenson should have displayed pictures which were less graphic, or pictures which were smaller, or that his pictures should have been made available only upon request.
He also ruled that the police acted improperly when they confiscated abortion photo signs without authority to do so.
Christian Concern helped organise the debate. Andrea Minichiello Williams, the organisation’s CEO, said:
“This was an important debate to have. These pictures show the reality of abortion and this reality is disturbing. It’s a reality that needs to be exposed.
“The audience vote shows that many people agree. It’s not morally wrong to display pictures of abortion to those who will be directly affected by it.”
This is a great development Diana! Now they will attempt to intimidate you and manipulate you and make the issue your defiance of their rules instead of their insistence on covering-up the truth about abortion. I suggest that your default argument should be some variation of this:
If a child fell into the Biola swimming pool, and you started to jump in to save her, but you were stopped by an administrator who warned you that pool regulations prohibit any entry into the water dressed in other than approved swimming attire, the administrator would arguably have the legal authority to declare you a trespasser and threaten to withhold your diploma, suspend you, expel you, or even arrest if you jumped into the water in street clothes. But would he have the spiritual authority to order you to refrain from saving the child’s life? Would it glorify God for you to comply and thereby allow the child to die?
If the administrator ordered you to refrain from doing something which you knew would save a child’s life and you complied because you decided that bureaucratic rules were more important than human lives, would you not both be judged by God for the most Pharisaic sort of legalism?
The difference between my hypothetical and reality is that children aren’t falling into Biola’s figurative swimming pool: They are being thrown in, and you can save some of them. They may think that upsetting passersby is worse than getting lint in the pool filters but, allowing savable babies to die is infinitely worse than either.
What is the worst thing Biola can do to you for breaking this rule? Would it be more injurious to you than the guilt you would feel at allowing savable children to perish? What is the worst consequence Biola will suffer if you refuse to comply with this regulation? Passersby being upset? Can’t those passersby easily avert their gaze? Is that too heavy a burden to impose if doing so saves even one life?
What consequence will Biola suffer if they punish you for showing the truth? A ruinous public relations train wreck. We will film your arrest if they go that route and post it all over the internet. If they don’t punish you, however, the cover-up will end and serious abortion education will suddenly become possible.
If you remain strong you will set an inspiring example of self-sacrifice which would embolden students at Christian colleges all across the country. You can be gracious and gentle but respectfully refuse to be intimidated into accepting Biola’s long-running abortion cover-up.
Tell them you are willing to post warning signs as we do at all public universities at which we display these abortion photos. Tell them you are willing to make toll-free phone numbers available for people who need to talk to a pregnancy resource or post-abortion counselor. But tell them you won’t display the signs where few passersby travel and you won’t turn the signs away from pedestrian traffic. Again, people who don’t want to look are free to avert their gaze, but you are going to expose the deeds of darkness (Ephesians 5:11). We will get you the best lawyers if necessary and I assure we will stand with you all the way.