Fit to Air? Or Unfair? Abortion Battle Targets East Tennessee

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Odds are, they'll be un-avoidable if you're outdoors, or riding down one of knoxville's major streets this weekend: huge billboards, in the air, and on wheels.

The latest strategy to win hearts and minds in the battle over abortion.

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd tells us why a group of abortion opponents has targeted Tennessee with a tactic that even sympathetic groups may find controversial.

East Tennessee is both conservative and the home to two abortion clinics.

It' likely will be a battleground for any constitutional amendment, or fight to ban abortions.

We warn you, the pictures could be disturbing. You may not want children to see them. Both sides say that's precisely the point.

The air war's begun.

A huge banner buzzing World's Fair Park early Friday afternoon, up close on the streets and their website, the pictures are far more graphic.

"There's a sense that this unborn child is just a blob of tissue during the first 90 days of pregnancy," says Gregg Cunningham, Director of the Center for Bioethical Reform. "We've discovered that people who see our photos are shocked to realize how fully formed this little tiny embryo or early features actually are. And they're disturbed to learn that abortion is an evil of far greater magnitude than they might have imagined."

"They're trying to scare women about having an abortion, but what they're showing is not what actually is going on," says Elizabeth Fraley, from Volunteer Women's Medical Center.

Knoxville's Volunteer Women's Medical Center has been performing abortions since the Supreme Court legalized them more than 32 years ago.

Director Elizabeth Fraley claims the pictures in question actually depict late-term abortions, which aren't legal in Tennessee.

But beyond that, "I'm not sure that families want their children to see that kind of thing," she says.

"Is it a greater evil to allow born children to be upset, or a greater evil to allow unborn children to be killed?" says Cunningham. "And any parent who says they care more about their child's feels than some other child's is not pro-life, and certainly cannot characterize themselves as pro-life."

Overhead, online, or on the road, the center for bio-ethical reform maintains it has to put these pictures, in our faces, to drive home that decisions carry life or death consequences.

They certainly have the right to do it. As to whether it's fair, I don't necessarily think so," says Fraley.

Trucks, bearing similar pictures, will be on Knoxville roads this weekend.

If you'd like to see, or learn more about how and why organizers are doing this, check out their website at

Does this simplify the debate? Or make it overly simplistic? Does it shed light? Or raise the temperature? This is your heads up, to decide, for yourself.