Suddenly a forest of anti-abortion posters have popped up on the BART (the Bay Area’s rail transit system). Although the website doesn’t identify itself, the physical posters have small print saying that the sponsors are the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, who have mounted this as a nationwide campaign.
First of all, both of us respect moral and ethical positions against abortions. Abortion is a decision that most women enter into with doubts, reservations, and serious consideration. The fabled “women who use abortion as birth control” are rare indeed and to the extent that they do exist, honestly, would you want one of them as your mother?
We do object to people legislating other people’s moral and ethical choices in this area. By basing their arguments on Roe v. Wade, these smarmy and manipulative posters are clearly saying that they want legislative change in this area. And the organization claims to want people to make decisions on facts rather than emotions!
The posters’ list of circumstances under which abortion is permitted is a disorganized laundry list of everything from first-trimester fetal heartbeat to the very end of the third trimester. In fact, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, as cited on Second Look’s site, 88% of abortions take place in the first trimester and only 1.4% happen after 21 weeks.
We say the people who designed, printed, and distributed this poster are sinning by omission, because they aren’t acknowledging either how rare the most upsetting items on the poster are, or the declining rate of abortions in the United States. They are claiming to want “a second look” when they actually want to gross us out in just the same way that protesters with pictures of bloody fetuses want to gross us out.
And, of course, they want to deny a woman’s right to choose. They can call it “second look” all year without disguising what they’re really trying to say.