Saturday, February 4, 2012

Warning: possible graphic images during Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is tomorrow, and if you're anything like me, you're only watching for the commercials.

Jill Stanek reports that anti-abortion activist Randall Terry has plans to air graphic images of abortion during the Super Bowl in certain markets.  (He is technically running for president, to exploit a loophole that requires networks to air campaign ads unedited.)  Due to the obvious potential for backlash, the markets for the advertisement have not been announced.

Unlike the Tim Tebow pro-life Super Bowl commercial, which was so bland and unoffensive as to be almost funny-- abortion advocates looked ridiculous for having made such a scene over it-- this is NOT going to be pretty.  The 30-second piece begins with the a voice saying "Warning: Graphic Images Follow."

Jill appears to be in favor of the ad, while comments on the blog are mixed.  I have to politely disagree with Jill; I think this is a terrible idea.  It will absolutely do more harm than good.  There may be a time and place for graphic images, but the Super Bowl is not it.  On top of the concern that young children and post-abortive women will be traumatized-- and no, the ad does not include a hotline for post-abortion counseling-- the ad is full of fire-and-brimstone religious rhetoric (e.g. if we don't criminalize abortion, "heaven will judge America.").

Seeing the ad will only make abortion supporters get angry and defensive.  If you are unlucky enough to be in one of Terry's chosen geographic markets, and are watching the Super Bowl with a mixed pro- and anti-abortion group, I recommend that you turn the TV off the moment you hear the warning.  You can explain to your pro-choice friends why you are doing it, and let that begin a kind, thoughtful conversation of the type that actually changes people's minds.


Anonymous said...

When being pro-life means you're pushing your fundamental views for the sole sake of you thinking you're right, you've become ineffective. Hence, the current pro-life movement.

Bill Samuel said...

The images chosen are more restrained than I would have anticipated. I have no quarrel with using them. I do agree that the rhetoric used is unfortunate.

I don't see starting a thoughtful conversation during the Super Bowl by turning the TV off.

E.M said...

I disagree. At some point we have to count the cost and decide how much we really want people to know what abortion is.

I'm not concerned about kids because parents should be watching to make sure their children are not seeing half-naked women objectified on prime time TV anyway.

As for the post-abortive moms, all I can say is pro-lifers have to make the tough call whether running the ad is worth potentially upsetting those who've aborted. I think yes for the opportunity that it presents to start constructive conversation. My one critique is that I wish there was a hotline for post-abortive women/men to call.

And, with all due respect, you have no clue what "fire and brimstone" preaching is of you equate that benign statement with it.

Marysia said...

Randall Terry is a morally bankrupt human being who does not deserve to be identified as some exemplar of "respect for life." This was written before the recent death of his adopted son Jamiel (out and proudly gay *and* prolife)--but it still applies:

And all the fuss and resources spent on disgusting and traumatizing people--I can't help but think, what could be accomplished with pouring all those resources into security deposits for pregnant women or free prenatal care or something *constructive* instead!

Yes, graphic images have their role in this and many other causes. But people should have a real choice about whether or not to view them. I'm not one for hiding from the reality of anything, but I remember how sickened and abruptly so when one of those "Truth Trucks" appeared on day when I was waiting for the train. I had flashbacks about it for weeks.

I felt like someone was beating me over the head and in the stomach with "The Truth" I supposedly was too selfish and uncaring to acknowledge! as a friend of mine used to say, "When the truth is used as aweapon, it becomes a lie."

Marauder said...

So did these actually end up airing or not?