Shock value is a poor argument

If you?ve driven around town during the past few days, you may have been the lucky witness to a distasteful display of free speech.

The Reproductive Choice Campaign was cruising the roads of Tampa, flaunting large pictures of aborted fetuses and the oversized word ?CHOICE? on vans.

As a journalist, I am naturally an advocate of free speech without limitations. As a woman, I believe in my right to choose what I do with my body.

Although I am in favor of no limits on the First Amendment, when mass audiences, especially children, are subjected to certain advertising, there should be a line of vulgarity that people should ethically not cross.

But in this case, people did not have a choice to look at the vans.

If these trucks were illustrated with appropriate words or pictures, the opposing viewpoint could be respected more. But the question of validity is dampened when a moral line is ignored.

The pictures the group chose to adorn their trucks with are distasteful for an audience of all ages. Some of the children who will be subjected to these images can?t comprehend or don?t yet know where babies come from. How are they supposed to understand a complicated issue such as abortion?

I have seen children cower and cry when seeing a frightful part of a Disney movie. Now they may be forced to witness a horrific sight of what is an adult issue. Bravo, Reproductive Choice Campaign, for making little kids cry.

Furthermore, the tactics being employed to get the message across will only be effective through shock value. If the point is to persuade others to believe abortion is the wrong option, the only people who would even feasibly have a sudden change of mind about the issue would be those who are uneducated or capable of being easily misled. Because it seems everyone has already taken a firm stance on the issue, a gruesome picture won?t be able to sway many opinions. It simply shows bad taste.

If the photos were pictured in perhaps a pamphlet of information about the issue where the organization was discussing their points of view, this wouldn?t be an issue. A picture of this nature should be accompanied with an explanation or at least a method of being able to learn about the matter. And not only would it be the choice of the individual to read the material, but actual information, not fear or disgust, would be transferred. People are educated through learning, not shock.

There is nothing this group is doing to help people prevent being in a situation where abortion is even an option. If pro-life organizations were to spend their time and effort on educating people about preventing an unwanted pregnancy, people could work together to prevent the situation from occurring in the first place.

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. But the way you choose to display it adds to your validity.

Lindsay Foster is a junior majoring in mass communications and The Oracle features