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Graphic images to oppose smoking... and abortion

By Scott Tibbs, September 1, 2011

This month, graphic warnings about the serious health consequences of smoking will go on cigarette packs. The FDA is following the lead of the United Kingdom, which implemented similar measures three years ago.

It was nearly ten years ago that the Center for BioEthical Reform brought the Genocide Awareness Project to Indiana University in partnership with IU Students for Life. Like the anti-smoking warnings, GAP uses graphic photographs of the results of abortion to shock people out of their apathy and to warn what abortion does.

I find it interesting that many of the same people who support the anti-smoking pictures vehemently oppose pictures of aborted babies. On Twitter, SnarkyIndiana replied to me linking to CBR's web site by saying the pictures "don't belong in any realistic policy debate" and that they "belong at an abortion doctor hate rally." So do the graphic pictures of health problems caused by smoking belong at a tobacco farmer hate rally?

The fact that we have graphic and revolting pictures of smoking-induced health problems on cigarette packs shows that the graphic pictures work. The saying that "a picture is worth a thousand words" may be a cliché, but it is true. We can read thousands of words arguing about the humanity of the fetus, but a picture of an aborted baby drives the point home and erases arguments that it is just an "unviable tissue mass." It is easy to deny arguments presented as text, but it is much more difficult to deny the reality of abortion presented in the form of a photograph.

But there is a significant difference between smoking and abortion. For the most part, smoking harms the smoker. Abortion is designed to harm an innocent party. Smoking may be deadly over decades, but cigarettes are not designed to kill. Abortion, meanwhile, has the sole purpose of murdering another human being. And yet, the Obama administration is leading new efforts to warn against smoking while advancing a radically pro-abortion agenda.

The pictures of aborted babies are offensive and revolting, as are the new cigarette warning pictures. But that is exactly what they are supposed to be.