Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Whose life are we talking about?

After conducting an image search for “reproductive rights,” I was heartbreakingly jolted by the accompanying photograph (ATTENTION: VERY GRAPHIC IMAGE). The caption reports that she died of complications from an illegal abortion.

The content of this image is only part of what caught my attention. Due to the graphic nature of the photo, it seems only logical to draw similarities between this picture and the all-too-common “dead baby” images utilized by the anti-choice movement. I have to wonder: Are anti-choice supporters hiding these disturbing images from the public? I am also curious as to why these images haven’t been popularized within the pro-choice movement. Perhaps it isn’t their style.

Isn’t the pragmatism within the abortion wars predicated upon a concern for life? The woman depicted in the picture once had a life. Why is it that this picture is so removed from the depictions of aborted fetuses and the value of life? I can only speculate on the potential response to a pro-choice marketing campaign that utilized images of dead women to promote their mission. Yet, maybe the argument here has nothing to do with life; maybe it has to do with the powerful imagery of a photograph.

1 comment:

  1. For more information on the woman in this picture, rent "Leona's Sister Gerri." Available on Netflix.

    Jane Gillooly's intense documentary humanizes an iconic photograph that became the centerpiece for the fight for abortion rights. Before her body was found on a motel floor after a botched illegal abortion -- an image captured and reprinted hundreds of times -- Gerri Santoro was a beloved mother and a sister. She was also a woman struggling to leave an abusive marriage. Here, she's remembered in all her complexity, rather than as simply a victim.

    Genre:Historical Documentaries, Social & Cultural Documentaries