‘Choice’ Writ Large

The Genocide Awareness Project

The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform
On a couple of sunny fall days last September, in the very week hundreds of pseudo-courageous ‘occupiers’ were gearing up to protest a mishmash of ill-defined quasi-injustices having something to do with banking, a small cadre of genuinely courageous young people placed their convictions and reputations on the line to expose a real injustice having to do with life and death. The Students Choosing Life (SCL) of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) hosted the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP). By the end of the week, according to Larissa R. Hofstra, president of SCL, “the entire campus was talking about abortion,”

That was the intention. GAP is the college campus outreach of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR), a California based ministry dedicated to establishing “prenatal justice and the right to life for the unborn.” CBR pursues that mission primarily through displays of arresting photos showing the grim reality of abortion – blood, body parts, and all. According to its website, “CBR operates on the principle that abortion represents an evil so inexpressible that words fail us when attempting to describe its horror. Until abortion is seen, it will never be understood.”

Principles of Successful Reform
CBR was founded in 1990 by Gregg Cunningham. A decorated Vietnam War veteran and a former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and political appointee of Ronald Reagan, Gregg was at that time a Special Attorney with the U.S. Federal Courts in Los Angeles. He had been active in the pro-life movement, both as a legislator and as a volunteer, but he had begun to sense a need for another strategy. As he studied social reform movements of the past, he discerned common principles that successful reformers had put into practice and that he believed could be more effectively put to work for the pro-life cause.

Specifically, public attention had to be focused on “the humanity of the victim and the inhumanity of the injustice.” Furthermore, given the human propensity to avoid all things difficult, these two realities had to be presented in a way that would be impossible to ignore. Dr. Martin Luther King, for example, had forced the nation to look at racism in the South through staged activities such as lunch counter sit-ins and freedom bus rides. The subsequent media coverage of white-on-black violence shamed decent Americans who had been either unaware of, or content to remain comfortably ignorant about, race-based segregation. The publicity became a catalyst for an eventual sea change in attitudes toward legislated civil rights protection for blacks.

If segregated lunch counters were unacceptable to decent Americans, how much more intolerable would be the wholesale bloodshed of abortion, once it was brought out into the open? Gregg knew that many people would not look favorably upon abortion imagery in public, but he wasn’t concerned with what they thought about him. He cared what they thought about abortion. So he resigned from his post as U.S. Attorney and started the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform with himself, an idea, and a notepad.

Alternative Forms of Mass Media
The first order of business was the acquisition of high-quality pictures, both the marvelous prenatal imagery of babies in the womb and the damnable pictures of babies killed by abortion. But Gregg and his colaborers faced one hurdle that the civil rights activists didn’t – an unsympathetic, if not hostile, media. To draw public attention to the humanity of the victims and the inhumanity of abortion, they would have to take the pictures to the public themselves. Toward that end, CBR constructed a variety of portable, photo-mural exhibits.

  • GAP, launched in 1998, sets large pictures of historically recognized forms of genocide, such as lynchings and Nazi death camps, beside pictures of the unrecognized genocide of abortion.
  • The Reproductive Choice Campaign (RCC), also called the Highway and Byway Project, superimposes the abortion euphemism ‘CHOICE’ over supersized images showing the bloody remains of the tiny victims of ‘CHOICE.’ It began with billboards, signs, and billboard trucks in 2001. A year later, planes towing 50’x100’ aerial signs were added.
  • The Obama Awareness Campaign (OAC) juxtaposes pictures of Barack Obama and some of his otherwise laudable quotations with pictures of the grotesque products of his relentless abortion policy. It was officially launched in May, 2009, when CBR trucks and planes swarmed South Bend, IN, home to the University of Notre Dame, where the president delivered the 2009 commencement address and received an honorary law degree.
  • The Corporate Accountability Project (CAP) began in May 2011 when letters were mailed to fifty companies that sponsor Planned Parenthood. The letters informed company executives about the work of the abortion giant and notified them that unless they redirected their “philanthropic” giving, they risked becoming the object of a picket. “If businesses support abortion, they get us, and they don’t want us,” said Fletcher Armstrong of CBR. The stately St. Regis Monarch Beach Hotel in Dana Point, CA, became CAP’s inaugural target in August, 2011.
  • The School Choice Project attempts to educate high schoolers about abortion through volunteers who distribute literature as trucks circle campus near dismissal time.

CBR also conducts a Church Outreach, called the Matthew 28:20 Project, and publishes educational literature and conducts seminars to establish the humanity of the unborn and the inhumanity of abortion. Today CBR possesses the largest storehouse of broadcast quality video and high quality print photos of abortion in the world and shares it freely with any individual or organization observing its one requirement – to explicitly condemn all abortion-related violence as CBR does.

Precipitating the Crisis: A Necessary Mercy
CBR does not engage in civil disobedience. All projects are scrupulously legal. Staffers and volunteers do, however, get a wide variety of reactions, as the photos are so disturbing, coming to terms with them is extremely difficult. But this is a necessary mercy, as Gregg explains. “Difficult change seldom occurs in the absence of a crisis which compels that change. Abortion photos, displayed strategically, create such a crisis for many viewers. That crisis can be moral, spiritual, political, or commercial. Abortions photos are disruptive and without disrupting business as usual, abortion will remain forever off the nation’s agenda, hidden under a rug of ignorance and indifference.”

CBR aims to throw off that rug – not to inflict pain, but to effect change. “It is human nature to evade responsibility for ending dysfunctional behavior until a crisis makes that responsibility unavoidable. But many people resort to every imaginable stratagem for defusing the crisis instead of facing the problem from which the crisis derives. This flaw in human nature is killing today’s children.”

Stopping the Killing
Stopping the killing is the goal. “Who’s really suffering and being harmed, and who we should really be praying for and thinking about is these children,” said Don Cooper, who left his job as an electrical engineer in 2004 to become CBR’s Operations Manager. “At CBR, we’re being used by God, we hope, [to make the public] more aware of the children that are dying, that we could be saving.”

It was effective at UTC. “These pictures are changing the way I look at this,” a professor said after visiting the GAP exhibit.

“It’s crazy,” a female student said. “This should never be.”

Exactly. This should never be.

Related Links:

A Severe Mercy: Connecting with Your Conscience

Andrew Breitbart spoke with far-too-rare humility about his ideological conversions. When he graduated from college and had to start working for a living, he began to reevaluate every idea he’d absorbed. As he explained,

“In college, if you pay attention, they turn you into a nihilist. I resented it once I discovered what it was. It was cultural Marxism. … Once I discovered that, I wanted to learn everything about the world that they didn’t teach me in college. And the more I studied, the more I realized that I was conservative. It was very empowering because it was like realizing that water is wet. Life is conservative. Liberalism is pie-in-the-sky.”

With both courage and humility (those two go together, by the way) Andrew chose to reevaluate the groupthink he’d been steeped in and, when it conflicted with his conscience, he went with his conscience and defied the group. For that he was exiled as an ideological defector, and he wore the verbal excoriation as a badge of honor.

Last month, he spoke to a group of pro-life students about his change of heart regarding abortion:

“Certainly, in Hollywood I lived in a pro-abortion culture … I had never heard the pro-life point of view. The media portrayed the pro-life point of view as crazy people. So, that’s all I knew. … But I never thought about the issue at all. At all. But it was something that mattered more than anything in that part of town that I grew up in, liberal Hollywood. The first thing you needed to say is, “I’m pro-choice.” It was a keycard to get you in everywhere and I believe to the core of my being that it’s a keycard to get you success in Hollywood. Go along to get along. I don’t think I would have seen the light if there weren’t brave people like you who stood up to that, especially young people …”

As I started to have my political awakening I was able to connect with my conscience, literally, and say, wait one second. … It is not to be debated. This is the most important issue. If you’re not pro-life, if you’re like what I was, behind a barrier, you have to, through conversations and the media, break that barrier down and just let people think about it. Because the second you actually think about it, because I never did (it was my default position), is that this is untenable, this doesn’t make sense. You guys are the vessel for that message. Stand strong. You inspire me.”

Young people inspire me too. They are well aware that millions of their peers, in some cases their very siblings, do not walk this earth alongside them because of this thing called abortion. Watch these three middle-schoolers get to the heart of the abortion issue in sixteen seconds.

They get it.

(1) Is a fetus a human?
(2) Is it right to kill it?

The entirety of the abortion debate hangs on those two questions. The reason the pro-life position is the right side of this issue and will ultimately win is because people already know in their consciences – if they will connect with them – the answer to both questions. They just need to, ‘Wait a second,’ and then … stop and think about it.

Causing us to stop and think about it is what the good people at the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) are all about. CBR takes criticism for showing graphic, bloody imagery, but this is a merciful act (though I’ll grant you it’s a severe mercy). It offers otherwise complacent go-along-to-get-along groupthinkers the opportunity to connect what they are seeing (Is this a human?) with their consciences (Is this right?).

Listen to Julie explain what happened when she stopped and thought about it:

If you still find room in your ideology for abortion, I invite you to click here to watch a video of an abortion, in the interest of being fully informed on the medical procedure that you espouse. Unless you are a barbarian, you will have trouble watching and maintaining a composed conscience.

If you can’t bring yourself to look at the images because of an abortion in your past, I encourage you – I plead with you – to click here for post-abortion healing help.

Then I invite you to join the cause in the human rights issue of our day.

Cognitive Disconnect Awareness Project

by Terrell Clemmons

The Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) is a traveling photo-mural exhibit, a project of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR), which compares the contemporary genocide of abortion to historically recognized forms of genocide. It visits university campuses around the country to show as many students as possible what abortion does to unborn children and to challenge them to think about abortion in a broader historical context.

Engaging students is the primary goal, but professors get in on the action too. Recently, CBR staff member Seth Drayer engaged in an illuminating conversation with Dr. Susan Dwyer, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Maryland. In the span of ten minutes, while students watched and listened, Seth and the professor of philosophy discuss such questions as,

  • What does it mean to be human?
  • What is the value of a human life?
  • Where does that value come from?

It quickly becomes apparent that the professor’s philosophy is wholly lacking in grounding. She appears to have no problem calling a Southern style lynching or the Nazi Holocaust “wrong.” However it is with difficulty that she also acknowledges there’s at least something wrong with abortion too. But she can’t answer the question, Why? “I don’t know the answer to that question,” she says. “I haven’t got a clue,” although she does go on to say that we need to think more deeply about these kinds of questions.

Watch Seth as he respectfully and compassionately engages with her. And behold moral relativism – the reigning moral paradigm in contemporary American academia – exposed for the empty philosophy of meaning that it is.

I warn you, the images are disturbing. If there’s an abortion in your past, whether you’re the father or mother of an aborted child or you’ve participated in one in some indirect way, visit The Elliot Institute for comprehensive post-abortion healing resources. But listen to this discussion, without looking at the pictures if necessary. Listen, wrestle with it, and think more deeply until you can give a reason grounded in reality for what’s wrong with this picture.