January 30, 2010
Truth in advertising needed in the abortion debate
The mainstream media is quite good at using its powers of influence to push agendas. The image-heavy (and content-lite) MSM can create news and affect public opinion simply by the images that are shown, and how those images are presented.
For example, when green stories are being covered, and the MSM wishes to push a particular point of view (eg., that industry is bad and global warming is about to destroy planet earth), then it will use countless shots of chimneys billowing smoke (although often these pics in fact show harmless steam being poured into the skies), and melting icebergs with cute polar bears looking for a place to stand on.
Emotions can be manipulated by creative use of imagery, and our mental faculties can be bypassed altogether. The MSM can skip the facts of the story while manipulating out heart strings by the images it uses. This happens all the time in the MSM.
Consider another example. If the MSM thinks we should stop whaling or hunting baby seals (which may in fact be worthwhile aims – but I leave the pros and cons for another time), then it show pictures of bloodied whales being dragged up onto cold, hard steel ships, or is shows wide-eyed baby seals which have been clubbed to death in a sea of red blood.
Of course who wouldn’t respond to such visceral imagery and such powerful shots? Most people would be ready to join Greenpeace or take part in a protest march after seeing such graphic images. So the media has tremendous power to influence the public debate, corralling public opinion in various directions.
Of course if the MSM can push along social agendas by its use of imagery, it can do the same by not using certain images. I refer here to the most obvious example of this: abortion. When was the last time you saw a graphic image of the “product of abortion” in the MSM?
Have you ever seen pictures of aborted babies in full colour in the MSM? Have you ever seen the burnt-out remains of a baby after a saline poisoning abortion? Have you ever seen the dismembered bodies of unborn babies after being cut up in a Dilation and Curettage abortion?
I suspect that you haven’t. And there is a very good reason for this. The MSM is overwhelmingly left of centre, including on the abortion issue. Because most people in the MSM are pro-abortion, then of course they don’t want the dirty little secrets of the abortion industry to get out.
They want to help perpetuate the myth that abortion simply removes a clump of cells or a bit of tissue, not a real live baby. That is why they refuse to show abortion aftermath images. They don’t want to give the game away. They want to keep pushing their pro-death agenda and keep the masses in the dark
While the MSM is managing this grand con job, by censoring out images it does not want you and me to see, things are not as easy in the abortion mills themselves. It seems that numerous abortion workers have been getting out of the business, exactly because they can see this is no clump of tissue they are dealing with.
Because of new techniques, as well as ultrasound technology, the reality of what is being killed in the abortion mills is taking a toll on workers there, and more and more workers are leaving this blood-stained work. An intriguing article on all this recently appeared entitled “Mugged by Ultrasound”.
David Daleiden and Jon Shields inform us about how these changes are causing so many abortion workers to become pro-life. They begin their important article in this fashion:
Abortion rights activists have long preferred to hold themselves at some remove from the practice they promote; rather than naming it, they speak of ‘choice’ and ‘reproductive freedom.’ But those who perform abortions have no such luxury. Instead, advances in ultrasound imaging and abortion procedures have forced providers ever closer to the nub of their work. Especially in abortions performed far enough along in gestation that the fetus is recognizably a tiny baby, this intimacy exacts an emotional toll, stirring sentiments for which doctors, nurses, and aides are sometimes unprepared. Most apparently have managed to reconcile their belief in the right to abortion with their revulsion at dying and dead fetuses, but a noteworthy number have found the conflict unbearable and have defected to the pro-life cause.
They show how studies are revealing that abortion workers are having real problems performing their “duties”. Consider for example the Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) method of abortion. D&E abortions are used later in pregnancy, in which under general anaesthesia, the baby is torn to pieces with a forceps, and removed from the womb. Larger babies must have their heads crushed. The pieces are then reassembled.
One early study, by abortionists Warren Hern and Billie Corrigan, found that although all of their staff members ‘approved of second trimester abortion in principle,’ there ‘were few positive comments about D&E itself.’ Reactions included ‘shock, dismay, amazement, disgust, fear, and sadness.’ A more ambitious study published the following year, in the September 1979 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, confirmed Hern and Corrigan's findings. It found ‘strong emotional reactions during or following the procedures and occasional disquieting dreams’.
The authors include personal stories as well. For example: “In 1990 Judith Fetrow, an aide at a Planned Parenthood clinic, found that disposing of fetal bodies as medical waste was more than she could bear. Soon after she left her position, Fetrow described her experiences: ‘No one at Planned Parenthood wanted this job. . . . I had to look at the tiny hands and feet. There were times when I wanted to cry.’ Finally persuaded to quit by a pro-life protester outside her clinic, Fetrow is now involved in the American Life League….
Other converts were driven into the pro-life movement by advances in ultrasound technology. The most recent example is Abby Johnson, the former director of Dallas-area Planned Parenthood. After watching, via ultrasound, an embryo ‘crumple’ as it was suctioned out of its mother's womb, Johnson reported a ‘conversion in my heart.’ Likewise, Joan Appleton was the head nurse at a large abortion facility in Falls Church, Virginia, and a NOW activist. Appleton performed thousands of abortions with aplomb until a single ultrasound-assisted abortion rattled her. As Appleton remembers, ‘I was watching the screen. I saw the baby pull away. I saw the baby open his mouth. ... After the procedure I was shaking, literally’.
The authors conclude, “Pro-choice advocates like to point out that abortion has existed in all times and places. Yet that observation tends to obscure the radicalism of the present abortion regime in the United States. Until very recently, no one in the history of the world has had the routine job of killing well-developed fetuses quite so up close and personal. It is an experiment that was bound to stir pro-life sentiments even in the hearts of those staunchly devoted to abortion rights. Ultrasound and D&E bring workers closer to the beings they destroy. Hern and Corrigan concluded their study by noting that D&E leaves ‘no possibility of denying an act of destruction.’ As they wrote, ‘It is before one's eyes. The sensations of dismemberment run through the forceps like an electric current’.”
Exactly. Now if we can only get the MSM to offer some courage and honesty here, and run these stories – complete with all the horrible images – like they do the whaling stories, or the seal-hunting stories. Somehow, I don’t expect we will be seeing this very soon. But we must keep the pressure up until they do.
The Quadrant Book of Poetry: 2001 - 2010
edited by Les Murray