<i>Silent Scream</i>: Deception and Persuasion http://www.shss.montclair.edu/english/furr/sscream.html

Silent Scream: Deception and Persuasion

by Grover Furr

Originally published in The Montclarion, student newspaper of Montclair State College (now University), Thursday, March 14, 1985, p.12.

The anti-abortion film "Silent Scream" was shown at MSC last week. Endorsed by President Reagan, it is being shown nationwide to push the anti-abortion cause. It is a shocking, effective film.

It is also a lie. Even doctors from the National Right to Life Committee admit a fetus can feel no pain. The film was taken in slow motion just before the abortion scene to produce a tranquil effect, then speeded up. This makes it look like the fetus is thrashing around "in pain." The audience is not told about the manipulation of film speed.

By any standard, deception plus persuasion equals propaganda. What kind of movement depends upon lies to win support?

The anti-abortion movement states that a fetus is a human being. But this assumption cannot be proven. So the anti- abortionists rely upon dogmatism, asserting that the humanity of the fetus must be accepted because some authority says it must be! It is a totalitarian movement because it tries to force everyone to accept this dogma. Its desire to legislate its dogma for everyone, and its mass base, make it a political movement.

It is a violent movement, too. Its leaders claim that only the "fringes" bomb abortion clinics and threaten abortion supporters. But this is dishonest. In fat, the law- abiding, "non-violent" movement is the front for the violent movement. already the movement's leaders admit they "understand" the terrorists.

Irrational, dogmatic, authoritarian, totalitarian, violent, deceptive, propagandistic: the "pro-life" movement adds up to fascism. Abortion is the main domestic issue around which today's American fascist forces are organizing, just as anti-communism is the main international issue. It is significant that the Ku Klux Klan and domestic Nazis, while pushing racism, also vigorously support the anti- abortion movement.

The Catholic Church is the major force behind the anti- abortion movement. Historically elitist, it has always sided with the rich in every country. Dogmatic, opposed to reason and evidence, arrogantly claiming sole knowledge of the truth, the authoritarian church is dictatorial and anti- democratic in politics and structure alike.

But many Protestant churches, both "mainstream" and fundamentalist, black as well as predominantly white, are equally authoritarian and active in the movement. One of the movement's leading non-religious figures, Phyllis Schlafly, heads the openly racist Eagle Forum. Politically, the movement's main representatives are "conservatives" like President Reagan.

Because people who think for themselves are a danger to any elitists, they are dogmatic. When the majority think for themselves, they do not simply follow the "leaders" the elite has set up for them. Instead, they act in their own interests. This leads to challenges to the elite's domination, producing rebellion and revolution.

All these forces are anti-Communist, but not out of opposition to atrocities committed by those who falsely call themselves "communist," like the Soviets and their supporters. The anti-abortion forces hate communism because it stands for equality, for getting rid of elites. They'd be anti-Communist if all communists were sinless innocents! In fact, the anti-abortion movement greatly resembles the equally dogmatic and authoritarian "communist" movement they hate so much.

A hidden political agenda like this one requires lying propaganda like "Silent Scream." For the anti-abortion leaders really represent a small minority. In any society, the rich can remain in control only by indoctrination.

People must be taught to ask, "What does Our Leader say?" (for "leader", insert Pope, Reverend, President, Celebrity, or whomever). Only then can millions of working people be led to act against their own interests.

The "pro-life" movement ought to be called "the pro-death movement." Like more familiar fascists, these "pro-life" leaders oppose increased welfare, health, education, and other benefits, the lack of which kills millions of children each year.

The "traditional values" to which these fascists are loyal are dictatorship, ignorance, poverty, and terror.

Mistakenly thinking they are being "moral," thousands support this movement, while thousands more sympathize. They confuse their "good intentions" with the dark aims of the movement's leaders. Surely it is the job of colleges to uphold the morality of rationality; to teach the lessons of history; and to combat the development of movements such as this one.


Certain information in this editorial about the film "Silent Scream" was taken from the March 11 [1985] New York Times editorial entitled "A False Scream," p. A18. The Times`s editorial gives further information about this misleading film.

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