A caravan of box trucks displaying photos of aborted fetuses will hit the highways of southeastern Michigan this month, and similar could soon be flying high over Michigan Stadium.
The project, the Reproductive “Choice” Campaign, is being brought to Michigan by the Center for Bio-ethical Reform, the same organization that sponsored the Genocide Awareness Project last September”s exhibit on the Diag that displayed photos of fetal remains juxtaposed with photos of historic acts of genocide.
Trucks began driving in caravan-like groups on busy highways during peak driving hours this June in southern California and southern Florida.
Center for Bio-ethical Reform Director Gregg Cunningham said Michigan was chosen as the next location where the trucks will drive due to the large population in the southeast corner of the state combined with what he said is a lack of knowledge about abortion in Michigan.
“It”s a state where there is a lot of confusion about abortion. People don”t know much about what abortion does to a fetus,” Cunningham said.
Belle Taylor-McGhee, executive director of the California Abortions and Reproductive Rights Action League, said the material shown on highways and in other public forums is purely shown for shock value and does not accurately represent abortion.
“Their whole agenda seems to be one of distortion and shock. Once (the public) starts to look at literature it doesn”t mirror what they are promoting,” Taylor-McGhee said.
But Cunningham said having the display trucks on major highways will target a larger audience than previous non-mobile efforts, showing the real effects of abortion.
“Once you get these pictures into your head, you can”t get them out no matter how much you want them out. The Genocide Awareness Project has been successful, but every day on the freeways we reach 400,000 people. We have to put these pictures into people”s heads,” Cunningham said.
Students for Life President Andrew Shirvell, an LSA senior, said the images instill in people an unforgettable image of abortion.
“It actually shows it. These are the results of abortion. It just doesn”t become a political hot potato. Now it”s “Oh yes, that”s real. It”s the murder of real babies.” The visual aspect makes it real to people,” Shirvell said.
Cunningham said that although the response in the past three months is of “stunned disbelief from motorists” that these pictures are displayed in an unexpected medium, his organization believes their message is getting to the public.
“They”re absolutely shocked that they”re seeing it on the freeway. If they have a functioning conscious, they are more likely to disfavor abortion,” Cunningham said.
Taylor-McGhee said the center”s efforts are misguided by not including realistic approaches to reproductive issues such as talking about prevention of pregnancies.
“They don”t promote women”s access to contraceptives,” Taylor-McGhee said.
One concern of those involved with the trucks on the highway that display photos of aborted fetuses is the issue of the trucks being a driving hazard.
“Hardly a day passes that we don”t see near misses on the freeway, but we have yet to witness an accident,” Cunningham said.
Shirvell agreed that the trucks” presence could lead to distracted drivers.
“The only thing I have qualms about is that it can cause accidents,” Shirvell said.
Cunningham said there are few places where the Center for Bio-ethical Reform can display the photos of aborted fetuses and that the organization will use the few public forums to their great advantage. Cunningham said he is hoping to target “large outdoor assemblies of people” such as Michigan Stadium with photos towed by aircraft in the near future.
Shirvell said one difference between the trucks and the displays like last year”s Diag presentation is that the trucks cannot be ignored.
“It”s less of a control than the Genocide Awareness Project. People didn”t have to go see it if they didn”t want to, but that is the point of this project,” Shirvell said.
But Cunningham said that the motorist audience not being able to ignore the trucks is exactly what needs to happen.
“The highways are only one of the few public forums available to use,” Cunningham said. “We don”t want people to be able to be in public without seeing a dead baby. This is a tactic that you”re going to see more and more. The pictures are going to get uglier.”