Tag Archives: Monica Miller

Are some photos of abortion victims too gory?

Aborted baby's handMonica Miller, PhD, Director of Citizens for a Pro-life Society, has sparked conversation recently within pro-life activist circles, asking us to reevaluate which photos of abortion victims we display in their necessary role of helping end legalized abortion.

Miller is one of the few pro-lifers who has actually retrieved aborted babies from the trash and photographed their remains.

Many of Miller’s thoughts on this subject are taken from her September 2013 New Oxford Review article, available for $1.50 or by going CPL’s homepage. This post highlights some of Miller’s points with the goal to prompt discussion and new thinking on this important topic.

Be sure to take the poll at the end of this post.

1)  “Graphic Images” or “Abortion Victim Photos”? (Actual Pictures of Abortion Victims)

You may or may not have noticed that I’ve taken this first recommendation of Miller’s to heart. I now always use the term “abortion victim photos” or “photos of abortion victims.” I’ve abandoned “graphic abortion photos.”

Per Miller:

No longer should pictures of aborted babies be referred to as “graphic images.” The movement should drop that term entirely.  These images should be called “abortion victim photos” (AVPs for short) because that is what they are really all about and, moreover, not all photos of abortion victims, while disturbing, are necessarily graphic in nature.

The term “abortion victim photos” is terminology that also advocates for the subject of the photos – as these are abortion victims – and not merely graphic images – words that give the instant impression that the subject matter is simply gruesome or repulsive which is not the point of the photos. Using the term AVPs aids the cause for the unborn, as the subjects of the photos are victims of injustice and the language we use should be aimed at helping others make that connection.

2) Life is Short – Use Better Abortion Photos

Per Miller:

While every photo of an abortion victim may be a true depiction of the abortion procedure and what happened to the unborn child, this does not mean that every photo is equal in terms of its effectiveness in raising awareness of the injustice of abortion.  Pro-lifers need to begin to think more critically about the kinds of abortion victim photos they choose to display.  Pro-lifers often tend to think that the bloodier photos are the more effective photos. This is not necessarily true.

Whatever photos are selected, the subject of the photo, namely the abortion victim, should be easily recognized, the humanity of the unborn baby the central and immediate focus.

Thus, photos in which the blood and guts, visceral matter overwhelms, even submerges the abortion victim should be set aside in favor of photos in which the abused victim is easily recognized with whom the viewer can immediately identify – as opposed to emphasis on gruesome factors that are more likely to repel the viewer.

We really want the viewer to see the abortion victim and not just a “graphic image” of an abortion.  It should be realized that all that blood featured in some abortion victim photos is not the blood of the baby – it is the blood of the mother that attends the abortion procedure.  Even for this reason the visceral material in the photo should be secondary to the actual abortion victim.

The three photos below are examples of AVPs in which the subject of the photo is overwhelmed by, immersed in blood matter and uterine tissue.

abortion photo 1
abortion photo 2
abortion photo 3

While the next four photos are graphic, the aborted baby is clearly the focus of the image.  Blood and other matter are secondary to the subject.

abortion photo 4
abortion photo 5
abortion photo 6
abortion photo 7

3) Not All Abortion Victim Photos are Graphic Images

Per Miller:

This is a distinction that is not in any way sufficiently appreciated especially by those in the Pro-Life Movement who oppose the use of AVPs – and who certainly reject their public display. We need to begin to appreciate that AVPs represent a spectrum from very graphic to much less graphic images. Given that such a distinction exists, those who oppose their use have very little foundation upon which to do so.

Some images certainly and rightly demonstrate the violence of abortion in all its graphic horror – the shattered remnants of bodies torn apart.   Other images however, while still obviously depicting abortion victims, are truly less graphic in nature.

Thus, perhaps we can begin to move these arguments along that 1) AVPs, whether graphic or less so, are necessary to the success of the pro-life cause, and 2) Choosing less graphic images is an option, and 3) The use of AVPs is central to the pro-life cause and thus those who use AVPs are not the fringe element of the Movement but mainstream pro-lifers.

The photos below, while disturbing, are not overtly graphic – indeed, some may not be graphic at all.

abortion photo 8
abortion photo 9
abortion photo 10
abortion photo 12

4)  Responses to the most common objections to displaying AVPs

Per Miller:

a)  Children will see the AVPs

The crisis of legalized abortion that has claimed the lives of 56 million innocent human beings requires that the truth be publicly exposed. The magnitude of the injustice overrides the possibility that children will see the pictures. It simply makes no sense to forego the public exposure of a national slaughter that has sent tens of millions of children to their deaths for the sake of sparing children who might see the photos and be affected by them.   There is absolutely no proof that children who see such images suffer any lasting negative effects.

b)  Women who have had abortions will be disturbed by the AVPs

The primary victims of abortion are the millions of unborn children who perish under the law in a violent death, in a nation that at least tolerates, and at worst advocates, such killing. Again the enormity of the injustice requires that the public be awakened to the slaughter.

Furthermore, there simply is no one-size-fits-all response of post-abortive women to such images.  In addition, we should consider how AVPs actually prevent women from getting abortions in the first place thus sparing them a life of grief and regret.

c)  AVPs dishonor the abortion victims

For a pro-lifer to photograph an abortion victim and expose the injustice done to him is the highest possible respect, short of a humane burial, that can be shown to that aborted child. When a graphic image is displayed it is that child who speaks. The abortion photo is the definitive way that unwanted, discarded unborn children can prove that they lived, that their lives matter, that their all-too-brief lives can impact this world and change it.

The photos of abortion victims are the only tangible guarantee they have that their lives and even their murders were not in vain. Concentration camp survivor Elie Wiesel stated: “To forget murder victims is to kill them twice.”   The photos of abortion victims and their display ensure that this will not be done to them.


Pro-life news brief 1-25-13

by JivinJ, host of the blog, JivinJehoshaphat

  • The Pope has tweeted support for the March for Life.
  • Gerard Bradley discusses the paradox of Personhood and how the Supreme Court’s refusal to address the most foundational question could resurface:

    Roe’s shaky edifice is built on a studied and stubborn refusal to address the foundational question about who the law is for. This reticence is all the more remarkable because none of the seven justices in Roe’s majority seems to have believed that the unborn really are persons. They reckoned nonetheless that the constitutional law they produced could not be grounded in any answer — theirs, yours, mine — to that philosophical question. Their reticence was supposed to credential the Court’s judgment as somehow uniquely objective and thus supremely authoritative.


  • Michael New reviews Dr. Monica Miller’s book, Abandoned:

    Overall, the best service this book provides is to give the reader a window on the pro-life movement from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. During this time, clinic blockades played a prominent role in the right-to-life movement. This was for a couple of reasons.

    First, the Roe v. Wade decision occurred as the Vietnam War was concluding. Many thought that the same civil-disobedience tactics used by opponents of the Vietnam War would be useful in stopping abortion. Second, those who engaged in clinic blockades thought that these tactics were strategically shrewd. When arrested, pro-lifers invoked a “necessity” defense — stating that their conduct was justified as necessary to prevent public or private injury. They hoped a necessity defense would allow attorneys to present evidence documenting the humanity of the unborn — and ultimately lead to a reversal of Roe v. Wade.

  • Despite the claims of some abortion advocates, Daniel Williams notes how the pro-life movement formed in many states before Roe:

    In the spring of 1971, pro-lifers defeated abortion legalization bills in all twenty-five of the state legislatures that considered them. The next year, their record was almost as successful: Only one state liberalized its abortion law, and it did so only under court order. Pro-lifers were equally successful at the ballot box.

    When Michigan and North Dakota introduced voter initiatives to legalize abortion in 1972, pro-lifers defeated both measures by wide margins. By the end of 1972, pro-lifers thought that they were probably within only one year of repealing New York’s permissive abortion law, and the director of Planned Parenthood’s Western Region division worried that pro-lifers would soon make abortion illegal in California too. “In the West we view ’73 as a difficult year for abortion,” he confided to a colleague in the summer of 1972.

March for Life founder passes away

Last night came sad news that the 88-year-old founder of the March for Life, Nellie Gray, had passed away.

AmericanCatholic.org has a more detailed bio, but in brief, from Wikipedia:

Nellie J. Gray (1924-2012) was an American pro-life activist, who founded the annual March for Life in 1974, following the Supreme Court ruling, Roe v Wade, which decriminalized abortion the previous year.

A native of Texas and a Roman Catholic convert, Gray enlisted June 27, 1944 at Camp Bennett, Texas, and served as a corporal in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. She later earned a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s in economics.

She was an employee of the federal government for almost three decades, at the Departments of State and Labor. After attending Georgetown University Law School, she became a practicing lawyer. After Roe v Wade, she retired from her professional life and became a pro-life activist, beginning with the March for Life.

That first March saw 20,000 attend. Participation has grown every year to several hundred thousand, many to most young. And Nellie has attended every one.

Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, wrote in an email:

A pro-life giant has died today.  With Nellie Gray’s passing I am prompted to think about the self-less warriors who when they were in their 40s or 50’s jumped into the cause of life when Roe v. Wade was handed down and dedicated their remaining years – decades of dedication – to ending the slaughter of the unborn.

Nellie is in those ranks of the first leaders who showed the rest of us the way.

I last saw Nellie in Washington, D.C., in July, looking as spry as ever. Her death comes as a shock.

Nellie was an important figure in our movement. We can thank her for helping inspire two generations to pro-life youth, for launching an annual touchstone for our movement, and for providing a yearly reminder to the world of the devastating Roe v. Wade decision. Nellie will be missed.

[Photo of Nellie at the 2010 March for Life via Renata Photography]

Breaking: Planned Parenthood throws in $1 million towel on Michigan mega-abortion clinic

UPDATE 6:45p: More from the Oakland Press:

Planned Parenthood has scrapped plans to open a clinic in Auburn Hills, settled a related lawsuit and put the building up for sale.

Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan CEO Lori Lamerand said the organization met its goal of having a presence in Oakland County in April when it opened a different health center in Ferndale….

Lamerand, who signed the amendment, said in an emailed statement that it was not a good use of donors’ resources to spend money on “frivolous litigation” rather than focus on meeting the health care needs of people in Oakland County….

The building on Opdyke is listed on the website of Jones Lang LaSalle, a firm that specializes in real estate services and investment management. The asking price is more than $1.1 million, but the building also could be leased, with the annual rent listed as negotiable.

9:45a: Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan has given up on its underhanded attempt to open a 17,050 square foot mega-abortion clinic in Auburn Hills, Michigan, a huge pro-life victory.

Moreover, Planned Parenthood is now out at least $1 million and stuck with a boondoggle.


In November 2010 Planned Parenthood paid $733,151 cash for the unfinished shell and then tried to wiggle around a deed restriction by misrepresenting its planned use for the structure to adjacent hotel owners, who held the power over the restriction.

Planned Parenthood then preemptively sued the hotel owners after the couple became aware of PP’s duplicity and announced they planned to put up a fight.

As the legal wrangling ensued, the State of Michigan cancelled$200,000 grant it had earmarked to Planned Parenthood to help finish the structure, after the money wasn’t spent by the end of 2011.

Meanwhile, Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, led by Dr. Monica Miller, organized several protests at the site.

In January 2012 Planned Parenthood won Round 1 in court, but the hotel owners, aided by pro-life attorney Jim Carey, appealed.

But on May 18, 2012, Planned Parenthood unexpectedly dropped its lawsuit and agreed to an airtight deed restriction that bans “clinics providing abortion procedures” from using the building.

The new deed restriction was just made public yesterday, the same day Planned Parenthood offered the property up for lease.

Citizens for a Pro-Life Society speculates the reason Planned Parenthood gave up the fight:

Perhaps to avoid a lengthy appeals court process, PPMSM agreed to a newly-drawn covenant deed restriction…. Entering into such an agreement now frees the pro-abortion group to sell or at least lease out the disputed property – which appears to be exactly what has happened.

Planned Parenthood is now out the $733,151 it paid for the building, the $200,00 grant it lost, and at least $100,000 in legal fees, as speculated by pro-life real estate agent Dave Theisen of Real Estate for Life. It was Theisen who originally discovered the deed restriction.

Congratulations to Michigan pro-lifers for their hard work, which paid off in a major victory against Planned Parenthood and the saving of many lives.

[Photo via Anna Truckey]

A suffering

I have a hard time explaining, even to myself, the near constant angst I feel due to abortion.

I try to remember what a normal life was like, before I was gripped by the mass slaughter of little babies. I try to imagine living a normal life again.

But these days I think normal people living normal lives are weird. These days I think I’m the normal one and they’re not.

If I go on vacation long enough, I begin to remember what normal was like. But I can’t stay there. Abortion has changed me.

I don’t dwell on any of this too much. Clearly it’s complicated. But I read something profound today on this very topic, an affirmation. It was in my friend Monica Miller’s upcoming book, Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars. Monica gave me permission to share this excerpt with you, my pro-life friends who can identify with what I’ve been talking about. I hope it helps you. It helped me:

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Operation Sacred Soil

New organization will help block pro-choice speakers from Catholic facilities and functions

pro-choiceYou may not have noticed, but since May 17, 2009, no Catholic organization has dared invite President Barack Obama to speak.

This is because none want to be a Notre Dame II, the university that paid a high price in battered PR and withheld donations for inviting the outspoken abortion proponent to give its commencement address that year.

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New footage: pro-abort and gay militants protest in the gutter at Scheidler tribute

Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society has just posted footage from inside the pro-abort and gay protest of the pro-life tribute on April 2 to Joe Scheidler on April 2. The 1st 6 minutes are of their side and the last 3 of ours. You’ll see quite a difference. Warning: vulgarity, including the worst word of them all, the c-word…

YouTube Preview Image

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Secret burial service held for 34 late-term aborted babies

In August, police made the gruesome discovery of 35 late-term aborted babies in a freezer at abortionist Steven Brigham’s (pictured right, speaking with one of his attorneys) Elkton, MD, mill.

According to Cecil Whig reporter Jacob Owens, with whom I spoke this morning, one of the babies was claimed by a Canadian family.

That left 34. Rev. Joe Piekarski of Immaculate Conception Church in Elkton applied to the MD Board of Medical Examiners to receive those babies.

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