Streetside Anti-Abortion posters - what are their goals?

I used to be in this movement. They’re just showing support for the cause like good activists.

Well, I could understand if you found the protests distasteful.

But you said the protest was so offensive you were almost moved to physical violence. That’s what I’m asking. Is showing pictures of aborted fetuses what made you so angry? Or what? What was it about this particular abortion protest that inspired you with violent fantasies? And you can’t compare abortion protesters to Nazis without comparing abortion protesters to Nazis. Or the Klan, or whatever. Is the anti-abortion movement morally comparable to the Klan or the Nazis, or are they just people you disagree with strongly? And if they’re just nutty people you disagree with strongly–like, say, people who advocate a return to the gold standard or some such–then bringing up the Nazis was counterproductive.

I despise gory-photograph protesters because they’re poisoning public space–just like the squeegee man, the aggressive pan-handler, and the idiot driving down the street with his boom box at full blast.

If a parent can’t take her 5-year-old downtown without walking past giant mutilated fetuses, she won’t take her 5-year-old downtown. She’ll opt for an indoor suburban shopping mall or a sanitized private amusement park instead–and another communitarian experience will be lost.

If that’s your goal, keep waving gory placards. But don’t be surprised when it doesn’t produce the generation of engaged, civic-minded activists that you’ll need to bring about social change.

Thanks, Captain Truism, but his point should be fairly obvious - free speech, even speech that some or many people find offensive, must be protected.

I can understand them picketing an abortion clinic or a government office, but I don’t really get the random street picketing. In my town on a particular day of the week there is one road that has pro-war picketers on one side and anti-war picketers on the other. How they decided to randomly picket this road, and on a particular day each week, and which side of the street each one got is beyond me. But it’s somewhat amusing in it’s absurdity, like witnessing a flash mob or something.

And you’re obviously trying to backpedal. In your original statement, you said nothing about size. Rather, you claimed that they resembled the tentacles of a jellyfish moreso than human limbs. Obviously, that’s a different claim altogether.

But for the sake of argument, let’s grant your distinction. It’s still a huge stretch to say that they bear ANY resemblance to tentacles. Heck, they’re jointed, and even at an early stage, one can already see the little fingers and toes. I suppose that if you squint hard enough, you can declare that they look like tentacles, but that’s merely a testimony to one’s ability to talk one’s self into a position.

And heck, let’s go a step further. Let’s suppose that they DO look like tentacles. What does this say about the status the unborn? Absolutely nothing. As I pointed out, tadpoles look nothing like frogs, yet they are clearly the same type of organism, albeit at different stages of development. Similarly, caterpillars look nothing like butterflies, yet they are the same type of organism nonetheless. Heck, the so-called Elephant Man did not look like a typical human, yet that’s exactly what he was – a human being, not an animal.

Foreigner question: does Planned Parenthood supply contraceptives too?

(I’m thinking the local equivalent is “Family Planning” which supplies the pill and other contraceptives to many women – possibly condoms to guys too – dunno).

Assuming they do, wouldn’t picketing PP risk resulting in more people engaging in unprotected sex, leading to, well, more abortions? (genuinely puzzled)

Yes to your question. And yes to your observation.

Planned Parenthood is equivalent to your local “Family Planning”, and also provides some pediatric services at selected locations. Free condoms and reduced cost family planning aids* are generally also part of their services, though each location makes their own decisions as to how many services they provide.

Some pro-life protesters in the US have decided that all forms of contraception are evil, and that abstinence is the only “appropriate” option for those who do not desire to have children.** Some don’t go further than not liking abortion and do not equate other contraception forms with murder. Some are somewhere in between, and some haven’t really thought about what they’d consider to be against their pro-life ideas, but are still pro-life. (Some pro-choice people also have those who haven’t really thought much about where the line gets drawn and why they believe what they believe, but this is true of almost every belief.) The most extreme variety of the pro-life movement feel that it’s okay to deny the most basic family planning services because the overall organization does not have a problem with abortion and would be happier if PP went out of business.

[sub]*This may or may not include most prescription forms of contraceptives, condoms, various types of surgical sterilization, prenatal care, postnatal care, and abortions. Not all locations provide the same amount or type of services, but just about all of them will hand out condoms and perform pap smears.
**Some of the people that hold the view that contraception is evil don’t understand that some people are not destined to have children beyond a “I have a horribly disfiguring and painful deformity and do not wish to pass it on.” Even then, there are some sketchy types that would still encourage childbearing to one and all, regardless of ability to care for said child or the nature of being responsible with what we add to the gene pool. [/sub]

Not only do they provide birth control, but they also provide other basic gynecologic care for women, including PAP smears, and they help women who are trying to conceive. They do this for less money than many doctors, which can help if you don’t have medical insurance. Thus you run into another set of ironies when you have anti-abortion protesters outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. The woman walking past them to go into the clinic may be going in for infertility treatments or for follow up care after miscarrying a child she and her husband wanted. Such women don’t care for being accused of murdering their babies.

By the way, Guinastasia, I’ve actually seen protesters outside the Planned Parenthood clinic downtown, although I don’t think I’ve seen more than two at a time. I didn’t note how far away they were from the clinic door, but they weren’t obstructing traffic. They also turn up at what I think of as “Speaker’s Corner”, the corner of Fifth and Smithfield, which usually has someone on it shouting at the top of lungs – the topic and the face vary.

I do wonder, though, if these people realize how many people they turn against what they’re supporting. Years ago, when Operation Rescue was prominent, even though I was quite prudish, one of the reasons I didn’t want to become a pro-lifer was because of how mean and cruel their tactics seemed. I thought abortion was immoral (I still do), but I disliked their tactics.

Abortion protestors want to see all abortions stopped. They feel that pregnancy is only a 9 month “inconvenience” for a woman, and feel that any mother shouold be able to give her newborn up for adoption and never look back. They see nothing positive about abortion and nothing negative about adoption, if you rule out gay adoption, which most of them don’t support.

I always ask these people if they are “anti-abortion.” It usually takes me three or four tries to get them to say “anti-abortion,” instead of responding “I’m pro-life.” I also ask “Would you rather see a woman abort or arrange for a gay adoption.” That shuts them right up.

False dilemmas have a way of doing that.

False dilemna or not, it proves that the anti-abortion crowd is only in favor of adoption over abortion if the only the “right” people can legally adopt–straight, married, and usually Christian. It reveals some more of their prejudices against the “wrong” people.

ETA: BTW, the anti-abortion crowd pickets Planned Parenthood claiming that “most of Planned Parenthood’s budget goes towards providing abortions.” No, most of their budget goes towards the staff salaries, and those people provide many medical services, including abortion.

I would like some honesty about where the photos of the aborted foetuses are obtained from.

Because my guess is, not legally, and almost certainly not with the consent of the woman concerned, which makes it seriously unethical to display the photos in the first place.

If you had made the extremely difficult and personal decision to terminate a much wanted pregnancy in the 2nd trimester because of a fatal birth defect, would you really agree to have photos of the foetus taken and displayed in public under the slogan “Abortion is Murder”? I doubt it.

If you’re going to display the photos, be honest:

They were taken secretly, without the consent of the patient or the doctor concerned.

We don’t know who took them, or exactly how real they are e.g. did someone further dismember a foetus to make a gorier photo? Was that foetus really aborted, or actually miscarried?

Any photo of a foetus over 12 weeks doesn’t accurately represent >90% of abortions currently performed in the USA or Europe.

The photos could come from any period of time since the invention of the camera, and any country on earth.

The abortions in the photos could have been done on any grounds, including to save the life of the woman concerned.

Thanks for the answers. I’ve never seen (or even heard of) protesters outside Family Planning offices; another little cultural gap between here and the US.

Ask me in general terms and I’ll tell you I’m pro-life. Ask me point-blank if I’mn anti-abortion, and I’ll tell you I am, because it’s true. Ask me that other silly question you put out there and I’ll tell you it’s better for a child to live than to die, and adoption is better than murder.

As for the rest of the wide generalizations you posted, I don’t know anything about giving a baby up for adoption and never looking back and I don’t know anyone who thinks that way. I know better. Somewhere out there is a little girl who would be my granddaughter if she hadn’t been given to parents who could take care of her. Maybe you need to narrow that brush just a bit.

I was in Chicago on the day in question and when I walked out of the Art Institute I was greeted by these people. That’s the Art Institute by the way, I want to emphasize the fact that here are no abortion clinics, family planning clinics or anything of the like in the area. My first thought was my kids are going to see this (they did). My second thought was Mrs. Murdoch was going to yell at these people (she did yell at them for exposing her kids to this - the guy just mumbled something unintelligible in reply). My third thought was hey, I’m opposed to the war in Iraq, but I don’t go around waving giant pictures of disemboweled kids in front of children to prove my point. I wonder how many of those protesters support the war in Iraq? I also wondered how those images came to be. They are very late term abortions. Were the mom’s lives in danger? I also wondered about how most people opposed to legal abortion would react to this protest. Not positively I would think. These people are on the same level of Fred Phelps and his gang of lunatics in my book.

I wonder if anyone has ever noticed a face of Jesus or the Virgin Mary in one of those photos.

Might cause some head-scratchin’…

You’re very lucky that your biological granddaughter got adopted. It’s very often not the case in the US.In 2006, 510,000 children were in foster care, and in that same year, 51,000 of them were adopted; that’s only ten percent of the children in foster care finding what are assumed to be permanent homes. That’s pretty sad, and only takes into account the children placed into foster care, not the private adoptions that were made; it is, however, sad to note that there were still 459,000 children living in foster care after that year. Add to those kids in foster care all the other unwanted children that end up aborted each year, and I have to wonder how we’re going to sustain a system that doesn’t end up collapsing under its own weight or reintroducing a shoddy orphanage system that does little more than corral stray children until they’re of the age of majority.

I still don’t think that heartache at the idea of potential children not getting a chance at a “forever home” justifies these sorts of displays in public, especially in areas where children are likely to be exposed to it.

Really? Damn. I never saw them, thank god. Fortunately, they can’t gather in a big group, at least.

I’m at work now, and I don’t have time to search for it, but there was an article recently, about women who protest one day, go into the very same clinic, have an abortion, and are right back out there the next day. (I believe it also mentioned that some of them were young girls, goaded into it by their parents.)