I recently bought a truck. A big one, like the ones you see delivering supplies to the supermarkets. And the other day, I got to ride on it for the first time.
What's important about it is not what's on the inside, but what's on the outside. The truck is actually a traveling billboard, and anyone looking at it sees the images of children who were aborted within the first 11 weeks of pregnancy.
The Center for Bioethical Reform (CBR), on whose Board of Directors I serve, has launched the "Reproductive Choice Campaign," which utilizes the highway system, a key means of transportation, as a vehicle of education (see www.abortionNO.org). I have worked with CBR and its director, Gregg Cunningham, for years, and this is one of the projects we are now launching around the nation. Four of these huge trucks have been traveling the highways of Los Angeles all summer and will soon appear in other states.
The project is based on solid research about the principles of social reform. If you analyze how the Civil Rights movement achieved its goals, or the movement to reform child labor laws, or any number of other movements, you will see that they visually dramatized the injustice they were fighting, and confronted the culture which was unwilling to see that injustice. Both CBR and Priests for Life are deepening the research into these principles, and will present that research to those who undoubtedly will express their opinions that the use of graphic images somehow turns people away from the pro-life cause. The question at issue here is not how we feel about the use of such images, or how others will feel about it. The question is whether the pro-life movement is somehow exempt from the principles by which social reform movements achieve their goals.
Reformers do not succeed by being popular. Those who use graphic images don't care what people think about them; they care about what people think about abortion. And if giving people a negative opinion of abortion means having them also reject the messenger, that's a small price to pay.
For some time, I've had graphic images on my website, www.priestsforlife.org. No single item on that site, which consists of thousands of pages, has won more converts to the pro-life cause. They write to me with gratitude for shaking them out of their denial. And even those who are angry will never be able to erase those images from their mind, nor ever feel the same about abortion again.
The truck project, moreover, makes full use of the First Amendment, a tool which we in the pro-life movement need to better understand and more fully utilize. The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the right of people to convey verbal and graphic messages despite the fact that they offend others, and despite the fact that children may be among the viewers. We are also making available the research on this angle of the project.
The truck I recently rode in was the first I ever bought. I assure you, it won't be the last.