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Here They Come, Signs and All

One writer's reaction when everyone's favorite brand of pro-lifers--the ones armed with terribly gruesome signs--descend on Wilmette, IL.
Sitting in the office today collating papers when a woman walks in and says to my boss, "They got the signs out, all over."

"Huh?"

"You know, the signs, those abortion ones, with fetuses and such. They are all the way up and down Green Bay Road."

A tense moment as the three of us picture this. We all know what she means. Extreme pro-lifers with unpleasant abortion photos enlarged taller than me. Photos that get blurred out when the corporate television media covers such stories. Photos that inspire hate rather than tolerance, nausea instead of understanding.

"Apparently there are pro-choice people out there, too. They are screaming back and forth at each other."

Good for them. Right on.

And me without a video camera.

****

I don't understand why this is a good solution to this debate. I don't understand why people think it is a good idea to put these horrific photos out there for all to see--kids walk by there for cyring out loud. People who might have had to choose abortion in their lives walk by there. Abortion is not an easy choice for many people, and I would be willing to guess that women who have agonized over such a decision would not support such an antagonistically gruesome display. And yet these pro-lifers feel that putting all of this in the faces of everyone walking by is not just okay, but a valid means of persuading people that they are wrong. Apparently this display of hate is one which seems to be a good solution. I don't understand.

And then I can't figure out how this differs from any other protest. Would I question the motives of anti-capitalist anarchists or people protesting the gentrification of their neighboorhoods? Hell no. Not even if they were antagonistic. I'd probably even celebrate them getting a rise out of local residents.

But the fact remains that this issue, the abortion issue, is an unusual one. One which divides religions and families and towns and the country. One that often is the deciding factor for people voting on elected officials.

****


They descended on Wilmette today, and my first reaction was anger. But now there's only one thing I know for sure--this pain in my gut, this sadness, is real.

 
 

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