Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Which illustrations of truth are OK, and why?

Cigarettes to carry grim warnings - Los Angeles Times

The government (FDA) is mandating new warning material on cigarettes:

"The labels will feature either drawings or photos illustrating graphically the dangers associated with smoking and will be accompanied by text stating that smoking is addictive or that it kills. The pictures feature such things as a diseased lung, a corpse and a man smoking a cigarette through a tracheotomy tube."

I'm no fan of smoking. It shortened my dad's life and I never even dabbled in the habit. I was emphatic in teaching my son to stay away from smoking (he's a non-smoker, thank God).

Politically, smokers are on the "outs" as a group and we can pass pretty much any law, tax or fee we want on them.

Which has me wondering: why so much resistance to ultrasound and to risk warnings when it comes to otherwise legal abortion?

There was a campaign awhile back (maybe it is still going around - I don't know) of people driving around in trucks displaying pictures pictures of abortion's result. Most people - and people with different positions on the practice of abortion - were horrified and reacted negatively.

So why is it OK for the government to put somebody's diseased lung on an over the counter consumer item?


The Underground Pewster said...

I think Vincent Van Gogh's illustration would be the best pick for the cigarette cartons.

If 75% of Ameican voters agree that smoking kills, lawmakers will pass laws to try to dissuade people from smoking.

It will take such a majority opinion to effectively combat abortion by legislation.

TLF+ said...

Good point about the political majority needed, Pewster.

The Catch 22 is, of course, that disallowing discussion and evidence on abortion's impact in turn impacts political perspective.

Some research shows slow movement in a pro-life direction, but on the whole the political majority is, "That's too hard to talk about so just leave it as is."

Jill said...

You raise some good questions, Fr. Tim. Why is it okay to show what the inside of a smoker's lungs look like but not a developing pre-born child? It's certainly not that the baby didn't give his or her consent to be photographed!