Anti-abortion ad

Today’s letters to the editor include some supporting the Tennessee Right to Life ad that runs from time to time in the Sunday Perspective section. It depicts — in the form of a comic strip — a so-called partial-birth abortion.
Whenever the advertisement appears, some readers complain that they find it sickening. The question of whether the News Sentinel should accept the ad was one of the first I was asked when I arrived more than four years ago. As editor, I don’t decide what ads to run or reject, but I said I thought we should accept it, not because of my personal views on abortion, but because of my strong belief in free speech.
The creators of the ad, and the letter writers, argue that it isn’t the depiction of partial-birth abortion that is sickening, it is the reality of the procedure. In other words, they believe it is right to publish something that is offensive in order to force readers to confront a difficult truth. That’s an argument that often comes up in news meetings when we are considering publishing facts or photos that will disturb some readers.
The ad typically appears around the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, on Mother’s Day and on other selected occasions. We run it in Perspective because that’s where we feature opinion content, and the ad would be even more jarring elsewhere in the paper.
Here are today’s letters.,1406,KNS_363_4491542,00.html

4 thoughts on “Anti-abortion ad

    AS YOU KNOW as a disabled person I have pretty much thought about alot of things….Now, I want to lay one of many questions that I have upon you……I was wondering since you publish the somewhat offense abortion add and that is why these people do it.
    Now will you give me the same courtesy if I do you a strip of a man being castrated. I have no doubt in my that I have the skills to do it with taste. I believe that can leave a new and LASTING impression upon some of the Abortion activists.
    Like I like to say,

  2. Unapologetic

    Your alleged belief in free speech really isn’t the point. The “comic strip” ad isn’t a free speech issue at all.
    Would you publish ads from the KKK? Would you publish “comic strips” that depict minorities as animals? If not, why not? Isn’t that a free speech issue?
    If a group wanted to make a point by running an ad with autopsy photos of teenagers who died driving drunk, would you sign off on it?
    If an anti-war group wants to publish photos of dead children in Iraq, would you say OK? How many photos have you published of flag-draped coffins of anonymous dead American soldiers being flown in under cover of darkness to hide the reality of war?
    In other posts in this blog regarding the Mohammad cartoons, you claimed to be sensitive to the feelings of religious people. Where’s that sensitivity now? It seems to me that your belief in free speech would more properly be called a freedom of speech for those who agree with fundamentalist, right-wing Christians. Everybody else can just get over it.
    Actually, these are issues you really don’t have to deal with because the groups I cite above aren’t as fanatical as the anti-abortionists and wouldn’t try to run disgusting ads. That should tell you something about yourself and those groups.

  3. Sid

    It has been my experience (both when i was an impressionable teen in S. Knox and now that i have an impressionable teen) that the Pro-Life contingency persuades by using fear and disgust. I abhor the tactics they use, especially the ad in question here.
    That being said, I can’t find fault with either Mr. McElroy or the News Sentinel for running this ad. I feel confident that if a Pro-Choice organization chose to place an ad in this publication, that it would be given just as much play as the other.
    Honestly, I never even look at the ads in the paper. I’ve become blind to them. Hopefully, the majority of the public have become as inured to them as I.

  4. Harry

    In reading a well written book, “The Rise of Christianity”, by Rodney Stark, which has no noticible spin that I was able to detect, I found out that abortion and unanticipated pregnancies were common place at the time of the Roman conquest and destruction of Jerusalem in the first century AD. Not only were surgical abortions common for those who could afford them, medicinal abortions were also available for the unfortunately pregnant woman who would obtain certain poisons which could cause premature birth of the fetus, as well as the occasional untimely death of the partaker of the potion as well. There were also a number of medicines that were for the purpose of preventing unwanted pregnancy.
    Also in the book, the author informs that an unwanted child carried to term and born into less than happy circumstances, was liable to face the peril of exposure, which meant that the newborn infant would be taken outdoors and left in the elements. Such infants became the property of whomever found them alive and took mercy on them. Otherwise, dogs or vermin would make short work of the body and no punishment would follow for the person guilty for the exposure.
    There are many other interesting facts brought out in this book about early Christians and barbarians who shared the same city streets as well as other practices common to that day and time. So, to think that Roe V Wade is a problem that left wing liberals have introduced into the daily group of wedge issues during this generation is to make an error of historical proportions.
    The book I have referred to is available for check out at the Blount County Library.

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