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Pro-life protester wins settlement.
May 8, 2002 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Pro-life protester wins settlement. Background: As Ann Norton, 57, and friend Diane Roberts picketed an abortion clinic, a passerby who disapproved of Norton's sign tore it from its backing, leading Roberts to telephone police. One officer was dispatched to the clinic to file a report, but several days later, the center said, Norton and Roberts were informed by police they were being charged with a violation of state law for displaying the graphic sign. Michigan statutes prohibit the public display of pictures of murder.
posted by aaronshaf (21 comments total)

 
Any chance that the "abortion isn't murder in the US, so the law doesn't apply" defense will be used?
posted by jonnyp at 12:03 PM on May 8, 2002


hmm. Michigan will have to ban this album as well then.
posted by boltman at 12:55 PM on May 8, 2002


so thats why tipper came to michigan.
posted by clavdivs at 12:56 PM on May 8, 2002


I have always thought that the use of graphic images is, by itself, a rather weak argument against abortion. Disgust shouldn't be the deciding factor, since many of us would probably find most medical procedures disgusting to some extent. You can certainly find abortion wrong, even reprehensible, on moral grounds if you so choose, but then that should be at the heart of your argument -- not color photographs of aborted fetuses which are basically just shock tactics.
posted by UnReality at 1:34 PM on May 8, 2002


I don't think so, jonnyp. The central issue here (IMO) is not whether or not abortion is murder, but whether Michigan's prohibition on the public display of pictures of murder is unconstitutional or not. If it is (as I believe it is), then the question of whether pictures of aborted fetuses fall afoul of the law is irrelevant.

UnReality: If everyone made decisions on rational grounds, then yes, the shock tactics of pictures of abortions would be unwarranted. But if that were the case, political debate in general would have a far different tone than what it has in reality.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:42 PM on May 8, 2002


is it a shock tactic, or is the brutal, graphic truth too honest for you? is it easier to justify murder when you don't have to see the concequences? is it easier to be selfish and irresponsible when you guilt is neatly tucked away?

it is very shocking -- murder, that is.
posted by brock at 1:42 PM on May 8, 2002


brock: actually it is a shock tactic. i get disgusted by medical shows on the discovery channel nearly everytime i watch one. so unless i am unkowningly afraid of the "brutal, graphic truth" of a c section or liposuction, i don't buy your argument. if it is something you disagree with morally i can accept that, but don't try to claim that as the reason people are disgusted by those photos.
posted by m@L at 2:08 PM on May 8, 2002


Actually murder is not particularly shocking. Someone is murdered in my town every day. I have seen hundreds and thousands of murders on TV. I have committed thousands of simulated acts of murder using my PlayStation. Murder is how my government enforces its will on the world. What's the big deal?
posted by donkeymon at 2:20 PM on May 8, 2002


Is it easier to criticize others for taking responsibility for their reproductive choices than it is to go out and adopt unwanted children? Or work for child welfare? Or abused children?
posted by Red58 at 2:25 PM on May 8, 2002


Have you ever watched a live birth, brock?
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 3:11 PM on May 8, 2002


Is it easier to criticize others for [not] taking responsibility for their reproductive choices than it is to go out and adopt unwanted children?

Bah. Personal altruism, while commendable, doesn't solve the larger problem. Give a man a fish, and all that.

Is it easier to talk about the horrors of child labor than it is to adopt ten Chinese children? Is it easier to talk about global warming than it is to give up fossil fuels entirely? Is it easier to criticize the war on terror (or the actions of Israel) than it is to travel to Afghanistan and shield the innocent children with your body? And so on.
posted by gd779 at 3:19 PM on May 8, 2002


"The central issue here (IMO) is not whether or not abortion is murder, but whether Michigan's prohibition on the public display of pictures of murder is unconstitutional or not."

I think a point overlooked here is that, whether or not images of murder are legal, if an image of an aborted fetus is a display of murder, then what does that say about the law's definition of abortion?

if abortion=murder, then doesn't that bring pro-abortion laws into question? you can't murder something that is not alive.
posted by o2b at 4:04 PM on May 8, 2002


you can't murder something that is not alive.
Hence, one of the central points of this whole argument. As far as i see, it really boils down to a) is the child alive and b) is anit-arbotion laws unconsintional (which, imho, is a moot point if point a is found to be true).
posted by jmd82 at 9:36 PM on May 8, 2002


Well gd779, that is where we differ on opinion. I take care of my reproduction, you take care of yours. How I choose to do it is my choice.

My point is, it's meaningless to criticize others for not following YOUR morals. But we'd all be more impressed with your sincerity - and have more hope of having unwanted children actually cared for - if you did something other than sit back and criticize.

More birth control? Cultural acceptance and encouragement to use it? Easier to get?

In my experience, being anti abortion isn't actually about the "poor murdered babies." It's about wanting to make the bad, bad women pay the price for having sex. If you really cared about unwanted pregrenancies you'd help prevent the pregnancy, not argue about whether RU-486 or an IUD is really an abortion or not.
posted by Red58 at 5:33 AM on May 9, 2002


you can't murder something that is not alive.

"murder" is a specific word which does not include by current definitions lots of killings of things which are alive - e.g., animals, criminals, soldiers at war, etc. The limits of "murder" are always in question, and defendents of all of these will step up to try to extend the category of murder to them.
posted by mdn at 7:15 AM on May 9, 2002


My point is, it's meaningless to criticize others for not following YOUR morals.

No, No, No, No, NO! I see this fallacy almost constantly, and it drives me insane every time.

Whatever you view as the "source" or foundation of morality and ethics, to criticize someone else for not following your view of morality is perfectly valid. Indeed, it's the whole point of developing a moral system in the first place! (It is true that some of the more esoteric views of morality hold, on the surface, only to personal morality - that is, they attempt to provide guidance without condemnation of others. But that is only on the surface. Almost all of them have certain "rules" which everyone must follow, however abstract those rules are.)

To say that morality exists is to say that there are certain things that everyone should do (or refrain from doing), and to criticize someone for doing or not doing those things is *the whole point of the exercise*.

Look, if you're right, then our entire system of criminal justice is fatally flawed. Our criminal justice system is based on the idea that it is just to inflict a certain amount of punishment upon people who commit certain moral wrongs. Is it meaningless for the state (that's us) to criticize rapists for being rapists?!? What is that but the state imposing its view of morality upon a citizen?

I'm not interested in arguing abortion with you. You clearly have your views on the subject, and that's fine. But you're letting those views lead you into making an absurd argument.
posted by gd779 at 7:38 AM on May 9, 2002


Guess we both have differing views on who's being absurd too.
posted by Red58 at 8:28 AM on May 9, 2002


here's an article that links states' abortion rights to spending on children. States with the strongest antiabortion laws generally are among the states that spend less on needy children and are less likely to criminalize the battering or killing of fetuses in pregnant women by a third party, according to a provocative new study.

i've always said that i would have more respect for anti-abortion activists if they seemed to give a damn about living children in need.
posted by witchstone at 8:29 AM on May 9, 2002


Witchstone, that link isn't working. I'd like to see the article. Can you provide more information?
posted by Red58 at 9:25 AM on May 9, 2002


that's weird, it's working for me, but here it is typed out:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-10/09/086l-100999-idx.html
posted by witchstone at 10:56 AM on May 9, 2002


it's working now. Thanks!
posted by Red58 at 12:15 PM on May 9, 2002


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