16 September 2009

Seems to be a theme today…

Right Wing Watch today reports on this lovely press release on the Christian News Wire site.  Randall Terry comes up with another bizarre protest tactic:

On Thursday, 9/17 and Friday 9/18, Various Pro-Life Groups Will Stage Protests at High Schools From Noon to 1:00 P.M., Showing Pictures of Aborted and Healthy Babies — the Same Pictures Jim Pouillon Was Showing When He Was Gunned Down

[…]“We will not be intimidated into silence. We will continue to show images of aborted babies at high schools, no matter what the cost.


“President Obama condemned Jim Pouillon’s murder – which is good – but he said nothing about protecting pro-lifers. At least by going to Sidwell Friends School, we know we will have police protection. ” Randall Terry, Director, Operation Rescue Insurrecta Nex.

Protests will be held on Thursday from Noon to 1:00 in DC and Baltimore, and the following Schools….

Sidwell Friends School is, of course, where the Obama girls attend school.  Why the other schools were picked I do not know.

This upcoming event offends my sensibilities.  To protest at schools seems really slimy, and I’ve thought for three decades now that showing pictures of supposedly aborted fetuses is over the top sensationalism.  My thoughts spin off in a few directions.

First:  I would certainly not approve of anti-war protesters showing off pictures of mangled soldiers at protests, in front of a school or otherwise.  Pro-choice activists don’t hold up pictures of women who died of botched, illegal abortions (and those pictures, too, can be gruesome).  It’s a sensibility not restricted to the abortion issue.  I haven’t liked seeing pictures of prisoners undergoing torture either at rallies to pressure an investigation of US torture of prisoners.  I support anti-war efforts in general, and also ending torture of prisoners (or anyone), so my perspective isn’t skewed by being unsupportive of the folks who would be sporting such signs.  My objection is to the… well, objectification.

Second: the posters featuring the bodies of supposedly aborted fetuses (and I obviously have my doubts) depict older, more developed bodies, suggested that these are late-term abortions.  What a violation of the privacy of families who’ve no doubt undergone a great deal of trauma in electing to abort in the face of dire medical consequences.  That’s why women have late term abortions, and damned few women (fortunately) are faced with that choice.  The posters play to the most reactionary of our senses.

Third: The martyr attitude plays off the “see, we’re targets of violence from you lefty heathens!” muttering that’s been going on since Pouillon’s murder.  After numerous targets on abortion providers which have resulted in several murders, maimings, and wholesale destruction of legal health clinics, I don’t think this particular killing merits martyr status.  We don’t even know what the shooter’s stance on abortion was, just that he didn’t like Pouillon’s signage.  It’s not a pattern.  I have great sorrow over the killing of this protester – no one should be killed for speaking their mind, no matter how offensively – but I don’t see the martyr connections.

Fourth: High school students?  Really?  Come on, it’s just a bald-faced, jerky thing to do, a slimy sensationalistic tactic to draw the eye and work off of fear and gross-out gut reactions from teenagers.

Randall Terry, this is low, even for you.