Sky Banner of Aborted Baby to Fly Over GOP, Democratic Conventions
A pro-life group known for showing graphic images of abortion victims has first provided to The Stream the images it will fly at the GOP and Democratic party conventions later this month.
The banners will be 50 feet by 100 feet, and show what Created Equal says is a 15-week old aborted baby. One will fly at the Republican convention from July 13 to July 21, and another when Democrats hold their convention in the last week of July.
According to Created Equal National Director Mark Harrington, his group’s goal is to use the Republican National Convention to pressure congressional Republicans into defunding Planned Parenthood.
“The GOP voted for defunding Planned Parenthood before they voted against it,” Harrington told The Stream. “When push came to shove, they voted to [fund] Planned Parenthood in the last budget deal. Also, the presumptive nominee has been unclear, often saying, ‘Planned Parenthood does good things.’”
The Republican Party’s likely nominee, Donald Trump, has supported partially funding Planned Parenthood. He also supports abortion’s legality in some circumstances.
“The platform serves as the mission statement for the RNC and sets the standard for the party,” continued Harrington. He says his group wants all federal dollars “currently given to Planned Parenthood … redirected to 13,000 federally licensed health clinics, which provide true comprehensive women’s health care. These clinics provide a greater variety of services and choices to women than Planned Parenthood, and are not under federal investigation.”
Where the Parties Stand
After undercover investigative videos showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing possibly illegal profiteering off of possibly illegal abortions, Republicans in Congress pushed to defund America’s largest abortion company. However, Democratic opposition led to a government spending bill that fully funded Planned Parenthood. Republicans did get a defunding bill separately through Congress earlier this year, though it was vetoed by President Obama.
The GOP’s 2016 platform is still being negotiated. The 2012 platform included support for a human life amendment to the U.S. Constitution and opposition to the public funding of abortion. Harrington wants the RNC platform to formally enshrine shifting Planned Parenthood’s funding to federally qualified health centers into the platform.
The Democratic Party, which has long backed abortion and looks likely to do so again under presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, backed taxpayer-funded abortion until the day of birth in its 2012 platform. Harrington said his group’s goal at the Democratic Convention in late July is to highlight how “the DNC is the ‘party of Gosnell,’ a reference to the late-term abortionist who was convicted of murdering born babies by snipping their spines.
“They support late-term abortion and infanticide. The recent Supreme Court decision virtually stripped all meaningful regulations from abortion and has now opened the door more Gosnell-like ‘House of Horrors’ to take place.”
Are Abortion Victim Images Effective?
Harrington’s tactics are controversial even among pro-life advocates. Many of Created Equal’s allies believe graphic images of abortion victims are counterproductive for most settings.
In an e-mail, Harrington said the shocking nature of the images is exactly why his group uses them. “We seek to expose the injustice of abortion to the light of human conscience and air of national opinion because our society has advanced the lie that the preborn are not human. Words alone are inadequate to describe the brutal deaths preborn babies experience every day.”
A society enmeshed in injustice does not willingly or easily admit its own wrongdoing. People rarely acknowledge their own complicity in, or complacency toward injustice. Even fewer will seek out evidence thereof. Those who need to see the truth (images of abortion) will not go out of their way to view it in large enough numbers to forge a consensus against it. It is incumbent, therefore, upon us to go out of our way to bring it to them via non-consensual methods.
Paraphrasing Dr. Martin Luther King’s famed “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” Harrington said that “when tension occurs, it is not actually the images themselves which create that tension.”
That letter, written 63 years ago, defended King and other public advocates of racial equality against accusations that they were causing tension and stress.
“Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension,” wrote King, who was imprisoned for eight days. “We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with.”
According to Harrington, “The tension present at Dr. King’s demonstrations was a result of racism, not the tactic of nonviolent disobedience. Likewise, the tension present at Created Equal’s activities is a result of the ageism that lies under the surface. When we bring this grisly truth out into the open, the tension that has long been ignored is finally revealed.”
And what does he say to those who note the images could cause harm to children and distress to post-abortive mothers? “First, while anger is sometimes a response to our images, it is in no way the only reaction we see,” he said. “Some are shocked into silence, others express horror that these images are real and others are struck by deep sadness. Many confess that they had ‘no idea abortion looked like that.’”
In addition to its flown banners, Created Equal’s presence will be felt at on-the-ground events near the conventions. The hashtags #OperationDNC and #OperationRNC are being used during the respective party conventions.
One street activist who uses graphic images of abortion victims told The Stream voiced her support for Harrington’s tactics. “In a culture where the victims’ narratives have been drowned out by their opponents, this tactic insures that victims of abortion are given the voice that was unjustly stolen from them,” said Lauren Handy. “Is it shocking? Disturbing? Obviously. Nobody wants to see a picture of a dead baby.”