I was enjoying a pleasant Autumn walk home from the pub after watching my beloved Arsenal put the final touches on a convincing Premier League victory. The sun was shining, it was unseasonably warm, the leaves were half-way between Summer-green and Fall-color, and my afternoon was going to consist of enjoying the company of my wonderful wife and daughter. It really was a moment of nirvana. Then, shockingly, I was forced to look at the ghastly image of an aborted fetus. You may have seen it, the one where the head and legs are disconnected from the torso. Lots of blood. It was on one of those placards being held by an Anti-Choice activist.
My instinct was to berate the arsehole for exploiting the very being that he claimed to be protecting. However, I decided to respect a citizen's right to protest and stood at a distance far enough away to clearly dissociate myself from the Anti-Choice cause. It was an uncomfortable wait for the light to turn green. It got more uncomfortable when the subject arsehole asked me if I wanted a pamphlet.
I decided at this point he had opened himself up to hearing my own protest, not to his cause, but rather the medium he had chosen to promulgate his cause. Using an image of an aborted fetus to gain followers is blatantly disrespectful to that fetus and a complete contradiction to the Anti-Choice movement. If you seriously view that fetus as a life why do you feel it respectful to take a photo of it, blow it up to 3'x4', and stand on a busy street corner flashing it in strangers' faces?
Listen, I recognize that people can have different opinions regarding the exact point where life begins. It is a highly emotional and personal debate with ostensibly no "right" answer. My personal view of life's genesis is obviously far different than this protester's but I respect that he feels life begins when a tadpole meets an egg. In terms of abortion, there are several scenarios where I don't feel it should be legal however there are many instances where I feel it should be available as a choice for women. But that debate is not what this blog post is about.
I will end with two scenarios that I hope will make my point or at least generate some meaningful debate. I apologize for the harsh mental imagery they may cause but feel my generic descriptions, involving fictional people, will make an important point. So here goes:
As an obvious Pro-Choice advocate I decide to head down to the local corner with an explicit 3'x4' image of a 16-year-old girl involved in sexual intercourse with a 45-year-old man. The sign reads: "This girl is being raped by her father. He has AIDS."
As a pro-euthanasia advocate I start a web page to promote the cause. The background image is of a 95-year-old woman connected to various machines; some performing respiratory functions while others ensure she is nourished. She is wearing a diaper however it appears to have failed to contain her last bowel movement adequately. The sign reads: "Is this dignity?"
Do my causes really matter?