Commercials featuring graphic images of aborted fetuses will air during the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 in as many as 40 cities, if presidential campaigner and pro-life activist Randall Terry has his way. But some pro-life supporters question the wisdom of plastering TV screens with such graphic images.
Terry, who has already secured spots for the controversial ads in 11 states, is taking advantage of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) clause that requires political ads to be aired uncensored – Terry is challenging President Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination.
The ads will include discolored and dismembered fetuses juxtaposed with images of President Obama who, the narrator alleges in the ad, allows for the slaughter of thousands of lives each year. A disclaimer in large-type font alerts viewers that sensitive material is impending.
In a fundraising letter to supporters, Terry elucidated his reasons for the provocative ads.
"There has NEVER been an opportunity like this since Roe vs. Wade brought us child killing on demand," Terry said. "Because I am running for President, the law to run the political ads I see fit, protects me."
"We will reach TENS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS, and get enormous media coverage as well. And THAT, my friend, is what the babies deserve," he added.
Some major cities in which the ads will air include Minneapolis, St. Louis and Kansas City.
The commercials are intended to stir up controversy and increase debate about abortion issues, but not all pro-life activists are in favor of Terry’s ads.
Stephan Phelan, Director of Communications at pro-life group Human Life International, said the ads might make viewers uneasy.
“I'm not sure how people will react to this commercial,” Phelan told The Christian Post. “It seems likely that many will be horrified, and they should be. But they should be horrified by the truth, not by the fact that they are being inconvenienced by having to look at the images.”
Troy Newman, president of the pro-life group Operation Rescue, also questioned the wisdom of using explicit images. Newman once worked with Terry in Operation Rescue, but Terry has since left the organization.
“I'm never opposed to using the graphic images,” Newman told The Christian Post. “They do portray the violence that is used on unborn children. The larger question is 'What is the most effective way to show a pro-life position to the American public at large?' There's no study, no poll that will determine that this is the best way to do that.”
Phelan agrees that graphic images do stir up conversation and confront people with the reality of abortion, but added that it is also important to understand the context of the situation when discussing abortion.
“Showing graphic images does often change hearts and save lives, so it is beneficial to mothers and children moreso than it is to the pro-life movement,” Phelan said.
“That being said, context does matter,” Phelan continued. “Having these images at college campuses definitely arouses attention, humanizing the millions of victims of abortion just like the images of Auschwitz humanized the holocaust for so many, and doing so in an environment where abortion is widely supported.”
More information on Randall Terry’s campaign can be found on his website, which features graphic videos of aborted fetus prominently.