Matt C. Abbott
My letter in The New York Times; Images of death
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By Matt C. Abbott
September 14, 2015

I had a short and pithy – as is usually the case – letter to the editor in the Sept. 11 edition of The New York Times on the subject of the pope's annulment reforms. Click here to read it.

Incidentally, the first letter on the page was written by Daniel C. Maguire, the notorious pro-abortion "Catholic" theology professor at Marquette University.



(The following commentary originally appeared at the American Thinker Blog.)

Yes, images of death can, and do, have a profound impact on the collective conscience.

From Reuters:
    The family of two Syrian toddlers who drowned as they tried to reach Greece had not yet applied to enter Canada, the extended family said on Thursday, despite earlier reports that their refugee application had been rejected.

    A photograph of Aylan Kurdi's tiny body in a bright red T-shirt and dark shorts, face-down in the surf, appeared in newspapers around the world, prompting sympathy and outrage at the perceived inaction of developed nations in helping refugees.
We also think of the horrible photos of Holocaust victims, or the lynching of blacks at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan.

Which brings me to the longtime debate, even in pro-life circles, over the use of graphic abortion photos.

Some pro-lifers object to the practice, saying 1) such images repel people, and 2) children may see them and be traumatized. While I understand these arguments, I still believe, as do a number of other pro-lifers, that graphic abortion photos can be effective in certain situations.

That doesn't mean pro-lifers should go out of their way to show the images to children. It's the adults who need to be reminded that a modern-day genocide is occurring as we speak (and write).

More often than not, those who vociferously object to graphic abortion photos – meaning swearing at, yelling at, and even assaulting the pro-lifers who are displaying them – condone legalized baby-killing. The images prick their consciences. Perhaps they were/are in some way involved in the gruesome practice and refuse to repent.

Not to mention all the Democrats in Congress who failed to attend a showing of the Planned Parenthood exposť videos. (I'm shocked, I tell you ... shocked!)

As for children who happen to see the graphic images from time to time, Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, wrote:
    I too am concerned about little children who see graphic images. I am also concerned about the littler children those images depict. The key factor that will make the difference in how children react to seeing anything disturbing is the role of their parents, who are present in a loving and comforting way, answering their questions and calming their fears....

    It seems to me ... that if we find it difficult to explain images of abortion to our children, we will find it even more difficult to explain why we didn't do more to stop abortion itself.

    The bottom line is that if graphic images of abortion are too terrible to look at, then the abortions themselves are too terrible to tolerate. We need to expose the injustice, and then direct our displeasure toward those allow the injustice to continue, not toward those who speak against it.
© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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