Ethics Of CBR’s Abortion Imagery Acquisition

Recently we received an inquiry from a person regarding the ethics and morals of the process by which CBR has acquired its abortion imagery.  This topic is an important one and that is why we share this discussion below:

Dear Mr. Cunningham,

I am considering purchasing some of your signs for a public demonstration to protest abortion in Massachusetts.  However, before I do so I would like to ask you where your organization got the pictures of aborted babies that you are selling.  I was reading something on the internet that said that at least one of the pictures your organization is using was obtained by paying a photographer to be present while an abortion was being done, with the understanding that he would not try to stop the abortion even though he was in a position to do so, so that he could take the pictures.  This concerns me because we in the prolife movement can never justify the killing of even one child, even if this could potentially save the lives of many more children.  I want to make sure that if I am purchasing any signs to use, that the pictures on the signs were not obtained by using morally objectionable means.  I know that there are prolife organizations that have obtained pictures of aborted babies because they found the bodies of the babies in the trash, which would be a morally acceptable way of obtaining them.  Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

I wanted to thank you for the work that you are doing to fight abortion.  I think that showing people pictures of aborted babies is one of the best and fastest ways we can help to change people’s minds and hearts about abortion, and showing the pictures in a public place makes it possible to reach a large number of people quickly.  This is why I want to have a public protest against abortion where I live in Massachusetts, which desperately needs this message because it is such a liberal and pro-abortion state.  I would also like to thank you and your organization for your work in protesting the scandal of Obama being honored at the Notre Dame graduation.

I look forward to hearing from you,


Jane Doe

On May 20, 2009, at 11:40 PM, Gregg Cunningham wrote:

Dear Ms. Doe,

Thank you for writing. First of all, we sell our signs for exactly what it costs us to make them so since we make no profit on any sale, we have no personal interest in the outcome of any potential buyer’s purchase decision. We care only about saving babies.

Secondly, it is NOT true that we have ever filmed or photographed any abortion which we had any power to even delay, much less to stop.  That allegation is a lie which was first told several years ago by the prominent leader of a well-known national pro-life organization.  We ultimately had to threaten her with a lawsuit and after a meeting with her advisory board, the board decided to remove the allegation from their website, over the objection of the pro-life leader who persisted in this allegation.  But because with the internet, a lie is forever, this untruth lives on as people repeat it, now as a rumor.  I would greatly appreciate it if you would tell me who is repeating this current libel so our lawyers can contact them with a letter demanding its removal.

Common sense would suggest that any attempt by any photographer to interfere with the performance of any abortion would result in security detaining the photographer until the police arrived to arrest and remove him.  The abortion would then be completed.  No abortion we have ever filmed or photographed could have been meaningfully delayed much less stopped.

We once used imagery of babies retrieved from trash receptacles but we no longer do so because nearly all that imagery depicted later term babies whose abortions are not typical.  Because 90% of all abortions are first trimester procedures, those are the abortions we most need to document and the bodies of those babies were never disposed of in Dumpsters.  In fact, virtually no abortionist now uses outside trash receptacles for tissue disposal.

We have used multiple photographers to document hundreds of abortions in many different abortion clinics and every one of these projects was conducted pursuant to strict ethical protocols.  The most important requirement to which we adhere is that our presence never contribute directly or indirectly to the death of any savable baby.  These standards have been reviewed and approved by ethicists including Fr. Frank Pavone, president of the highly respected organization, Priests for Life.
Gregg Cunningham
The Center For Bio-Ethical Reform

Posted in Abortion Images, Prolife Activism

how much longer will we remain silent?

I will use my life to save theirs…