PJ Media

Aborted Fetus Photos: In the New York Times, No Less

The relentless, blanket coverage of abortionist George Tiller’s murder and relatively weak coverage of pro-life activist Jim Pouillon’s are examples of the media’s leftist bias.

Pro-life conservatives weren’t shocked, and we didn’t expect anything different. But we must give credit where it’s due. On Saturday, October 10, the New York Times published an uncharacteristically even-handed, A1, above-the-fold story about Pouillon and other pro-life “street activists.” The article featured pro-lifers influenced by Pouillon, including a one-time abortion supporter who once accosted him. Now a pro-life Christian, the man apologized to Pouillon.

Reporter Damien Cave’s snark-free article was accompanied by a post on the paper’s Photography, Video, and Visual Journalism blog, which included several pictures of aborted babies. Cave, who attended Pouillon’s memorial service, wrote:

The photographs are graphic and detailed, showing the fingers or toes of aborted fetuses whose entire frames are no bigger than a cell phone. Since the mid-1990s, they have appeared all over the country — carried as posters by protesters, handed out with pamphlets or, in some cases, mounted like billboards on the sides of trucks. … Like many others, I often wondered about the source of these images. Who took the pictures? Where did the fetuses come from?

Cave met a woman named Monica Migliorino Miller, who’d found the bloody remains of aborted fetuses and unshredded private medical records in a trash bin outside an abortion clinic. The discovery led to a state investigation, and Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality found that WomanCare improperly disposed medical waste. Miller began photographing the babies. “We felt it was very important to make a record of the reality of abortion,” she told the Times.

Miller also said she opposes photos of bloody and torn aborted babies, because she wants to show the “beauty and humanity in the unborn child. … There should be a sense of pity.” Operation Rescue/Operation Save America’s Flip Benham disagrees. “It’s a nice sentimental argument,” he told the Times. “What’s important is truth to us; that this is the truth.”

Are abortion images news? “Abortion is a hot topic and needs to be reported not from bias held by the individual or the media outlet but simply from the facts,” said Erik Whittington, director of Rock for Life, a group that encourages and participates in peaceful pro-life activism and sets up pro-life booths at concerts. “Photos are valuable tools that have been used to report on wars. So why not abortion?”

Lila Rose of Live Action, who posed as an underage teen impregnated by an adult “boyfriend” and recorded Planned Parenthood employees advising her to conceal statutory rape to obtain an abortion, said she saw her first abortion image at age nine.

“Nothing converts people more to the pro-life side than the raw facts about abortion: images of what abortion does to tiny children,” she said. “When we shy away from showing the victim of abortion, that lacerated and bloodied tiny child, we are facilitating the cover up of this great injustice. The New York Times showed some pictures and is on the right track. Media outlets must show abortion images and video to the public, because the public deserves to know.”

Abortion is abstract to some people, but the living being growing inside a woman is more than a mere clump of cells or glob of tissue. Regardless of which trimester a woman kills her unborn baby, the fact is she’s killing a human being. Photos starkly reveal the reality. Most abortions occur during the first trimester (up to 12 weeks of pregnancy). During the fifth week (or third week after conception), the baby’s brain, spinal cord, heart, and other organs begin to form. At week six, the baby’s heart is pumping blood. By week seven, the brain is rapidly developing. By the 12th week, the baby begins opening and closing his fingers, and his kidneys excrete urine into his bladder.

Several polls found that a majority of Americans don’t want federally funded abortions as part of so-called health care reform. Is this an indication of what people believe about the act itself? “The tide is turning regarding public sentiment on abortion and that is good news,” Whittington said, “but we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”

A lot of work, indeed. The latest version of health care reform passed the Senate Finance Committee by a vote of 14 to 9. The measure, headed to the Senate floor, would permit federal subsidies for abortion.

There’s a movement afoot among pro-life voters. Just as the people are pushing to amend state constitutions to define marriage as between a man and a woman, they’re urging legislators to pass personhood laws to declare that life begins at conception. Legally defining a fertilized egg as a person has many implications; so does snuffing out that life.

Perhaps published images of aborted babies and balanced stories from mainstream media will encourage women to reconsider their fatal decision and exercise their choice to protect unborn life.