Graphic image strategy used to decrease smoking not planned to be used to decrease abortions

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This month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed a new strategy to combat smoking by inundating smokers with graphic images depicting the repercussions of smoking on cigarette packaging.

With the focus on the importance of extending life through the distribution of disturbing images, some have wondered if this could provide an opening for such a policy in abortion clinics. While pro-lifers have long used gruesome images of abortions to make their case, many do not expect to see the government utilizing the same strategy to decrease the deaths of unborn children as they have initiated to reduce the number of smokers.

“Obviously talking about the health risks of smoking is a politically correct thing to do,” Thomas Peters, communications director for the American Principles Project, told The Daily Caller. “But talking about the widespread evidence that abortion harms vulnerable women and of course always harms the unborn human life isn’t politically correct so there is a bit of selection.”

There are an average of over 4,300 abortions each day in America (based on 2003 numbers).

But to Health and Human Services, smoking is a prime target.

“Every day, almost 4,000 youth try a cigarette for the first time and 1,000 youth become regular, daily smokers,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a released statement. “Today marks an important milestone in protecting our children and the health of the American public.”

Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, agreed that seeing the end result of one’s actions helps inform one’s present actions — but not just with cigarettes.

“Absolutely I think seeing what abortion really is and what it does to an unborn child can have a tremendous impact on a woman considering abortion and I would certainly like to see the day when women have that information so they are really making an informed decision,” Scheidler told TheDC. “Sometimes graphic images are needed to bring home reality, and I’d love to see that in the case of abortion too.”

But other pro-lifers contend that it is images of life’s beauty that ought to be stressed.

“In terms of pictures and images, something like that has been passed in about 21 states and that is the requirement that the mother, prior to an abortion, be offered the opportunity to view the ultra-sound,” Mary Spaulding Balch, National Right to Life’s director of state legislation, told TheDC. “What we are trying to do at that point is persuade the mother to choose life and the more positive image is the ultrasound image of the living baby.”

FDA spokesman Jeffrey Ventura told TheDC that the graphic picture policy would only apply to tobacco, nothing else.

“The 2009 tobacco legislation specified that cigarettes and cigarette advertising would require new labeling,” he wrote in an e-mail. “This law does not impact other Agency policy with regard to the labeling of other regulated products.”