Matt C. Abbott
TIME's sexual exploitation of a child
By Matt C. Abbott
May 14, 2012

There is controversy surrounding a very recent TIME magazine cover featuring a woman breastfeeding her 3-year-old (or 4-year-old, depending on the report) son. The photo — which I won't be showing in this column — is deliberately provocative. I asked three pro-life, pro-family women for their comments on the controversy.

Dawn Eden, author of My Peace I Give You, wrote:
    It is wrong for the mother to exploit her child in such a way. That boy will have to live for the rest of his life in the shadow of that cover. No child should be exploited for the sake of his parents' egotism. What is more, this is, for all intents and purposes, sexual exploitation of a child, in that the image of him sucking at the breast of his mother is being used to feed sexual fantasies.
Judith Reisman, author of Sexual Sabotage, wrote:
    Where is Mafia-busting U.S. Attorney Tom Dewey when we need him? TIME's incestuous child pornography cover followed on the heels of the infamous New York Court of Appeals decision giving the public the right to view child pornography (i.e. infant and child sexual exploitation photographed for sexual entertainment).

    As TIME flashes its cover to millions of non-consenting adults and children — everywhere we turn — we all view the sexual exploitation of a little boy by his mom and TIME. We all 'view' child pornography now.

    It was the New York Court of Appeals in 1981 that voted 5-2 to legalize child pornography. The court was clear: This included infants in 'actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, sado-masochistic abuse, or lewd exhibition of the genitals' (reversed unanimously a year later by the Supreme Court as supporting child sexual abuse).

    This is the same New York high court whose chief judge, Saul Wachtler (1985–1993), was convicted of stalking his lover and sending sexual materials to her teenage daughter. He was supported by the silence of his judicial colleagues. The court never issued a statement of condemnation for his abuse of authority, malfeasance in office, nor did they ever reexamine their rulings on sexual issues that may have been tainted by Wachtler's obvious hidden personal-sexual-criminal agenda.

    TIME marketing executives know that their cover is sexually stimulating to millions of viewers, especially those who are part of the breastfeeding pornography niche. When the CEO of TIME, the photographers, the mother and others are arrested for mass child pornography distribution, I'm ready to testify in court. I'll provide TIME's decades-long advertorial collusion with Playboy and other such magazines, falsely presented as news to similarly normalize early pornography.

    So, is there, somewhere still, a courageous U.S. attorney like Tom Dewey ready to clean up our modern pornography mafia? We sure need him!
Illinois pro-life and pro-family activist Arlene Sawicki wrote:
    I breast fed my three children for about three months and thought it was the most intimate, natural, healthy, beautiful and almost 'holy' experience a woman could have. The keyword here is 'intimate' — it is a form of bonding between mother and child that should be done in the privacy of one's home or in public with precautions to preserve one's privacy and modesty.

    I agree with many who think the TIME magazine cover was in bad taste simply because it exploits the innocence of the child and portrays the nursing mother in a most unglamorous way. The article was about 'attachment parenting,' and any woman who has breastfed her baby understands that this can be a 24-hour commitment. There are no studies that conclude that women who breast feed for up to three years or more are rewarded by children who are more 'attached' to her.

    I have seen graphic early Church icons of the Virgin Mary as a nursing mother, and this devotion is still popular in many countries. In some primitive societies, mothers have been known to breast feed up to six years. The article was meant to stir up a conversation — one we have had since the beginning of human history.
© 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 also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other media outlets. In 2005 and 2006, he was among the first writers to expose former cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuse of power with and sexual harassment of seminarians. He can be reached at

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