The Importance of Photos

“There is no form of words – even if describing the horror these pictures reveal – that could have elicited the kind of response felt when looking at them and the political shift that will follow. A photograph speaks to all of us regardless of culture or spoken language. There is a synchronicity between the nature of a still image and the way in which we remember events. There is something unique about the language of photography that contributes to the horror of these pictures. Memory itself is constructed through frozen moments in time and so a photograph slips serenely into our
minds and is retained. Moving images can never be this potent. We cannot retain and carry with us a video-clip in the same way. We cannot have a two-minute news report always available in the top drawer of our minds ready to be glanced at, at any moment.” – Award-winning British photographer and documentary filmmaker David Model


Photojournalists, and the media outlets who buy their work, have historically been the frontrunners in documenting and exposing acts of injustice. These champions of the oppressed, however, have done nothing but cover-up the atrocities that are daily visited upon unborn children right here in the U.S. If abortion images showed up in LIFE andTime and Newsweek the way that pictures of other forms of human suffering do, abortion would absolutely go away. If abortion was shown in the classroom and in the newspaper and on the television, the abortion industry would crumble. The nation wouldn’t stand for it. But as long as the photographic evidence is kept under wraps and out of the public eye, America is content to ignore abortion. It is high time the American conscience was pricked, and almost nothing pricks the conscience like the photographic evidence that abortion is an act of violence that kills a baby.


Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada must be very, very annoyed—media outlets have been calling her quite frequently of late to ask her opinion on our new projects, especially our “Face the Children” Project, which involves the mass distribution of postcards featuring abortion-supporting politicians next to abortion victims. In response to our postcard distribution in St. Catharines’, she posted on Facebook that, “Families and children in St. Catharines’ are being cruelly harassed in their homes by the extremist group Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.” I could point out that our postcards depict the reality of what she is dedicated to championing—the corpses of pre-born children “cruelly harassed” out of existence in the womb. But it is our pictures, apparently, that Joyce takes issue with.

“We’ve seen these sorts of images before,” she told the St. Catharines’ Standard, “and if the images are real, they are not images of the kind of abortions performed in this country.”

She then posted a picture on Facebook showing tiny fetal remains floating in some sort of dish, attempting to make the point that seriously, these humans are so tiny she doesn’t even know why anyone cares. If you zoom the camera out enough, you can barely see the corpse. Take that, human rights.

The image she refers to (if she has even seen it), is of a dismembered, decapitated, and disemboweled twenty week fetus. It’s extremely gruesome. And that’s exactly how abortions are performed in this country—in fact, when my colleague Stephanie Gray debated late-term abortionist Dr. Fraser Fellows of London, Ontario, and showed a video with this type of imagery, she asked him that precise question: “Would you say that the imagery that I had is an accurate reflection of what you see and what you do?” His response: “Absolutely.”

In fact, read the testimony of any abortion doctor describing a later abortion procedure. Here’s how one abortionist described it: “You introduce this instrument blindly and start pulling off limbs. You feel yourself grabbing and pulling hard, and I do mean hard. And out pops an arm…follow that by a leg. And then you tear out the intestines, the spine, heart and lungs. The difficult part of the procedure is the head, which is about the size of a plum. You know you did it right if you crush down and white material runs out the cervix—that was the baby’s head.”

Now that’s what Ms. Arthur calls a good day’s work. It also makes for an extremely brutal photograph. This is precisely why Ms. Arthur and her morally-impaired friends dislike abortion photographs so much.

I wonder, though, what Ms. Arthur and the others who question the validity of abortion pictures think an abortion actually looks like? We’ve all seen beautiful footage of children in the womb—from National Geographic’s fantastic documentaries to the stunning embryoscopy videos from the Endowment for Human Development. Now imagine the baby you’re envisioning torn up with forceps or a suction aspirator. It’s obviously not going to look pretty. Does Ms. Arthur perhaps think that “in this country” abortionists decapitate developing fetuses more gently? Or that Canadian pre-born children bleed less profusely?

Unfortunately not. And no amount of blathering from Ms. Arthur can disguise that fact.


Father Pavone of Priests for Life wrote in its July newsletter, “We will not solve the controversy over abortion in this country until more people see what it looks like.”


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