(This post was originally written last Friday, but I've been afraid to post it.)
Yesterday I felt like I was assaulted.
I was driving to the grocery store, past the Planned Parenthood. I must never have driven this way before on a Thursday morning because I have never seen this before.
I rounded the bend and all of a sudden, totally unexpectedly, I saw a huge sign. I felt like it was almost thrust into my face. The man holding it seemed about average height so the billboard must have been almost 6 feet tall and approximately 4 feet wide.
Now here's where you should sign off if you don't want to feel assaulted too.
The picture he was holding was of a baby. Approximately of newborn age. The baby was covered in blood and attached to the baby's cheek were steel forceps. These forceps were pulling the baby forcibly so that her flesh was being removed from her cheekbones.
Superimposed over the top of the photo the sign read, "Choice. This is what you choose when you choose abortion."
I continued driving, slowly, and there were more protesters. Each with horribly graphic signs. But none as horrible as the first.
I was appalled. I was horrified. I could not believe how grotesque the photos were. I was sad. I was stunned that these individuals expected normal passersby to view these horrible depictions of abortion. I felt horrible for the women who were driving into this clinic about to have an abortion. Not only, of course, that they would be assaulted by the sames photos that I had seen, but more importantly because of what they were choosing to do that morning.
They were choosing abortion. Having never been in the position myself, I cannot even imagine how horrible of a choice that would be to make. To be in the position where you feel you have no alternative but to end your pregnancy. To end the life of the fetus growing inside you.
Thursday apparently is abortion clinic day at our Planned Parenthood. Eons ago (we've recently moved back to a city we lived in over 10 years ago), I did an internship at this same Planned Parenthood, though they were in a different location at the time. I even worked on "abortion clinic" days. At this clinic, they only perform abortions on women who are 7 to 12 weeks pregnant. If you are farther along than that in your pregnancy you must go to a larger city for the procedure.
So what also struck me about that huge photograph was it's inaccuracy. Not only have I done my homework---I know what fetal development looks like and the size and shape of a fetus at 12 weeks---but I have actually seen what clinicians prefer to call "the products of conception"---the POC.
And it looks nothing like that picture.
After an abortion, the clinicians need to view the POC to make sure that the doctor "got everything out." Also, they never, ever use forceps to remove the fetus. They use suction. It's kind of like sticking a vacuum up the vagina.
They do not pull the fetus out with forceps.
I hated seeing it back then. But thinking about it now is even worse, now that I have become a mother. It's horrible. It really is. I'm as pro-choice as they come and I still think it's horrible. You still have to admit that you are ending a life. A potential baby. Life in it's smallest and most beginning stages. Life.
But still, it looks nothing like that picture!
So, I'm wondering. Why is it okay to depict abortion in this way? Why is it okay to be so inaccurate in your description? Does the end justify the means? Why do the protesters believe it is okay to deceive the women going into this clinic? to pretend that they are killing full-term babies?
I'm just not okay with it. I'm not okay with any of it. And I don't know what to do about it.