Every once in a while the downtown Chicago streets I walk between my office and the train station will be lined with anti-abortion activists. Yesterday evening was such a day. Every 20 or so feet for a couple of blocks, they will be standing near the curb, besides approximately 3’x4’ photos of mangled aborted fetuses.
What do you think their intentions are? Do they think this approach will convert people, or do they simply wish to get in peoples’ faces? Because it seems the main thing they accomplish is pissing people off.
I suppose some of them really think that by showing the results of an abortion, they will convince people that abortion is so horrible and gruesome it should never be considered. The problem is, this approach doesn’t work, and I don’t think many of the sign holders really believe that.
I think most of them are out there because they experience a visceral joy when fucking with others - telling them they are murderers, or complicit in murder, showing horrifying pictures, and yelling back at people who are understandably upset. They must get some powerful gratification by what they do.
Just to clarify - these folks aren’t protesting anywhere near an abortion clinic or other family planning/planned parenthood facilities. Yesterday they were lined up along Madison Ave in downtown Chicago, a block either side of Wacker from Franklin to the river.
Well, I’m guessing there aren’t too many abortions performed in the Civic Opera House or the Merc (tho I’m not exactly holding my breath waiting for the Lyric Opera’s Lulu this fall!)
I saw them too, and the main result in my case was that they pissed me off. I’m an adult who believes in freedom of speech and can make up her own mind on abortion, thankyouverymuch. But there was a guy walking in front of me to the train, trying to figure out how to shield his 2-year-old daughter from the pictures.
I’d like to think they picked a major downtown street at rush hour, on the theory that most of the people who would see the (quite grotesque) photos would be adults. Well, most, but not all. And the rest of my thoughts are best suited for a forum other than GQ.
They seem to come out a couple of times a year - sometimes in the morning, and sometimes in the evening. My daughter says they periodically appear at her college campus. She says her impression is that they seem to piss off both supporters of choice and most religious folk she knows who oppose abortion - because of their tactics.
The first time I remember seeing them was back around 1990, along Randolph in front of the State of Illinois building. I remember how angry it made me - I wanted to start beating on them and kick their signs into the street. It was quite surprising to find such strong emotions boiling up so quickly as I was simply walking down the street. And caused by nothing more than a piece of paper.
But then the way I intellectually dealt with it was to remind myself that the fact that their posters could get me that worked up, reaffirmed how valuable free speech is. If you truly advocate free speech, at some point or another you are going to end up finding yourself supporting some pretty ugly characters - whether it be these bozos or the Nazis marching in Skokie. And the way to respond to speech you dislike is not with violence or prohibitions, but with your own speech.
I guess I could engage them or take their literature to see who they are and who sponsors them. I imagine they are somewhat of a fringe group. Unfortunately for the majority of christians and - I suppose - many opponents of abortion rights, their ultimate poster depicting Jesus caused me to think unpleasant thoughts about christians in general, instead of simply disliking these jerks.
I thought about taking their literature and ripping it up so they would have less to distribute to other people. I wouldn’t have thought so if it weren’t for one of the protesters telling people that they were limited to one pamphlet each.
Yeah, I also imagine they are somewhat of a fringe group. Although I am pro-choice, I can respect the opinion of those who are not, and I won’t get in their face unless they are getting in my face. But I imagine I am not alone in being disgusted by such tactics, and I imagine most mainstream Christian groups realize how many people are alienated by that approach.
They do turn up in odd places. A few times a year, there would be a protestor with a picture of an aborted fetus on an intersection by a bridge over a river about 5 miles from downtown. There weren’t any abortion providers or even a Planned Parenthood around there as far as I knew.
There was also a nun protesting abortion on the corner outside my Episcopal church one Sunday. We’re across the street from a Catholic Church. I have no idea why she decided to protest there. The last time I checked, even liberal Episcopal Churches aren’t that big on abortion.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most anti-abortionists are just like any other type of protestor. There’s nothing necessarily sinister or evil about them, and they’re honest with their position.
Nazis were responsible for indiscriminately killing unwanted human beings who could not defend themselves. I wonder how people would feel in 1942 if they saw public images of concentration camps. Would they shield their children and curse the messenger?
But times have changed. Today parents will take their children to a museum to see traveling sideshows of dismembered people (including fetuses). Perhaps the pro-life folks should charge admission and use the money to fund adoption.
The goal is to counteract the frequent statements that refer to the fetus in terms like “blob of cells” and “protoplasm” and “uterine contents”. The idea is to get people to see what’s actually there, rather than the euphemisms. It might not change too many people’s minds, but it might get one somebody thinking.
I’ve seen them outside of Planned Parenthood sites in downtown Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. I believe that their goal is to make it embarrassing for someone to enter the Planned Parenthood facility. I think that it works to some degree which makes me worry about the girls who are turned away by the protestors. Planned Parenthood, while not perfect, may be their only means of gynocological care.
As for the protestors who are no where near a Planned Parenthood building or some other facility of that sort, I believe that they are just trying to disgust people. I don’t think they worry about the possible responses from others on the street or the feelings some parents might have about their children seeing it. These people have tunnel vision.
Also, has anyone else ever seen an abortion protestor holding candles and pictures of the Virgin Mary?