Graphic Abortion Pictures = Pornography?

smithads2Yesterday, League Director Joe Scheidler wrote about the attention surrounding a series of ads featuring graphic images of aborted babies currently being run by Washington, DC congressional candidate Missy Smith.

One of the most bizarre reactions to Smith’s ads has come from CBS’s BNET.com reporter Jim Edwards, who said they constitute “a type of pornography that’s about 1,000 times more unnecessary than anything that ever appeared in [Larry Flynt’s magazine] Hustler.”

That’s quite a statement, especially considering Hustler‘s longstanding reputation for its willingness to push the envelope by showing increasingly offensive and degrading forms of the bane that is pornography.

But hyperbole aside, this labeling merits a closer look: Are graphic abortion pictures, as Edwards says, not only comparable to pornography, but actually worse?

I’m tempted to answer by merely saying: “No. Next question?”

But Edwards is not alone in his belief that graphic abortion images are pornography — indeed, we not infrequently hear remarks to this effect from irate passersby during our “Face the Truth” Tours — so the self-evidently radical difference between the two is apparently not so self-evident to everyone.

Graphic Abortion Pictures vs. Pornography: What’s the Difference?

The difference between graphic abortion pictures and pornography can be seen in their respective reasons for existence.

The clear and obvious purpose of pornography is to elicit sexual arousal in the viewer. In so doing, pornographic images distort the reality about the human body, and about God’s plan for human sexuality.

Pornography takes the truth and twists it into a lie — namely, that sex is primarily about individual gratification — and as a result, its psychological, emotional, and moral damage is devastating.

Graphic abortion pictures, however, have precisely the opposite effect. Showing images of aborted babies presents the truth of what abortion really is, and the reason for displaying them is to elicit sympathy for unborn children and awaken consciences about the gravely evil nature of abortion.

One Similarity

This having been said, I would concede that there is one similarity between graphic abortion pictures and pornography. Both depict victims and, what’s more, victims whose humanity and God-given dignity are all too often overlooked.

It’s obvious that babies killed by abortion are victims. So too, women in pornography are victims — whether they realize it or not — of gross objectification, misogyny, and twisted sexual desire. It’s a wonder, then, that so many advocates of legal abortion, who claim to be all about “women’s rights”, can’t bring themselves to condemn it.

That in itself is a topic I’ll explore further in an upcoming post.

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