Removing Ignorance or Removing Pictures?

It is an ongoing effort at CBR to teach other pro-life activists the importance of educating people on who the first trimester baby is and what abortion does to her.

A tactical blunder often made by pro-life activists is to assume the truth that the pro-life activists have the burden to prove.  This is true when pro-life activists assume that the general public believes the first trimester baby is really a baby and not a blob of tissue.

Sometimes the claim is made that using graphic imagery will do more harm than good.  But rarely is this claim backed up with facts.  Do the pictures do more harm than good? Do most people believe that the first trimester baby is really a baby?

Read this email from CBR’s Executive Director Gregg Cunningham to a fellow pro-life activist to learn the answer these important questions:

Dear John (name changed for privacy), 

I often read your informative e-mail messages and I thank God for your great heart and deep commitment to the unborn.  But I must challenge your thinking on several key issues.


Survey after survey has shown for decades that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not believe that the first trimester embryo and early fetus are developmentally entitled to rights of personhood.  About ninety percent of abortions are performed in the first trimester.  The public has been indoctrinated to believe that the baby is a blob and they have internalized that message.  Nor do they believe that first trimester abortion is an evil of sufficient magnitude to justify criminalizing the act.  They think that, at worst, it is the lesser of two evils.  Nothing is going to change in this country regarding abortion until people are convinced that the first trimester baby really is a baby and that first trimester abortion is an indefensible act of violence.

Because there are no words which are adequate to convey the majesty of prenatal development or the horror of abortion, when you exclude the pictures, you are censoring that portion of the message which is indescribable.

Granting a few sidewalk counselors a veto over anybody’s display of aborted baby photos outside an abortion clinic is a guarantee that babies will die whose lives could otherwise have been saved.  The people approaching the mothers shouldn’t be holding the photos but the two efforts compliment and reinforce one another if the photos provide the background for the offer of written and spoken ministry.  Of course everyone can intuit, at some level, that something is being killed in an abortion.  But there are different levels of knowing.  People who have seen abortion “know” about it at a much deeper level than people who have merely read or heard about it.  Your argument isn’t with us, it is with the countless numbers of women who have told us that nothing less shocking than our photos would have sufficed to dissuade them from killing their babies.  Read the testimonies on our website at www.abortionNO.org .  I just got another one a few hours ago and passed it on to the message recipients who are listed on this reply.

And what “time and place” could be more appropriate for the display of aborted baby photos than where ignorant young women are about to kill babies which many of them would spare if they more fully understood what they were about to do?  Saying that showing an abortion vulnerable woman an aborted baby photo is “counter productive” only makes sense if the horror of abortion attracted pregnant women instead of repelling them.  Some might remain unmoved but NONE are more likely to elect abortion because they have seen it.  We have used these images for years and I speak authoritatively because I speak on the basis of an enormous body of experience.

Your assertion that if every pro-lifer would do any sort of pro-life outreach, no matter what, for twelve months, abortion would be stopped, may be the most puzzling statement of all.  Some of the things pro-lifers do just don’t work very well and if you had a million pro-lifers those things for a million years, you still wouldn’t stop abortion.  Pro-life projects are not a fungible good.  Some things are more effective than others and as leaders we have a responsibility to encourage what produces the best results and discourage what doesn’t.  But everything that the pro-life movement attempts to accomplish is more effective if the target audience has been shown the indisputable truth.

Amen to lots of different types of ministry working together to stop abortion but the word abortion has lost all its meaning to almost everyone and we won’t restore that meaning with more jaw-jaw.  Stop the cover up John.

Lord bless, 


Gregg Cunningham
The Center For Bio-Ethical Reform

See testimonies of how the pictures of abortion remove ignorance and save lives at:  https://www.abortionno.org/testimonies/

CBR’s ability to show the truth and save lives depends on donations from people like you.  Help us save more lives by making an online gift today.  Click here.

Posted in Prolife Activism, Social Reform