The Left may be right that Planned Parenthood is not selling baby parts but merely collecting reimbursement for donation to research. They may be right but not when they say – let me see what the going rate is elsewhere and I’ll let you know if your offer is acceptable.
Planned Parenthood is violating the law when they alter the abortion method in order to preserve body parts. They are also illegal if they perform partial birth abortions or if they kill an aborted baby that survives the womb.
Here is what we need to do:
1) Remove all taxpayer support from Planned Parenthood. This is a private company. Let it survive on its own merit without taxpayer funding.
2) Make all abortions after 20 weeks illegal nationally
3) Prosecute any and all who are performing partial birth abortions which are already illegal or killing live babies that survive abortion.
4) Honor the religious freedom of those who do not want to be forced to contribute to a process that is against their religion.
This issue should not go away and should be part of the 2016 Presidential campaign. If it isn’t Republicans are wimps.
This week, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a second video purportedly showing a senior Planned Parenthood official talking about illegally selling fetal parts for profit. This has garnered the reactions you’d expect — those who support baby dismemberment defending Planned Parenthood, pro-lifers calling for defunding of Planned Parenthood, and at least one call for the resignation of Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards.
I’m not sure the second video shows Dr. Gatter attempting to make a profit off of organ and parts sales, and I think some pro-lifers have erred in taking seriously her reprehensible joke about wanting a Lamborghini thanks to fetal parts sales. But as the back-and-forth continues, and Republicans on Capitol Hill push for investigations and defunding, there are a few key points to this whole debate that have largely slid under the radar.
First, as CMP senior investigator David Daleiden told LifeSiteNews, the probability of Planned Parenthood using the illegal method of partial-birth abortion (PBA) to harvest parts has yet to be answered by the abortion giant:
Daleiden also pointed out that, despite Planned Parenthood’s claims of innocence, the organization is “refusing to produce Dr. Nucatola for the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s” investigation. “She admitted to using partial-birth abortions [PBA] — which [Planned Parenthood] has yet to address a week later — and indicated affiliates would be happy to ‘do a little better than break even’ on fetal tissue sales.”
“PBA and profiting off of baby parts are both highly illegal and it’s not surprising PPFA will say anything to try to get away from those charges,” said Daleiden.
Pro-lifers should remind the media and the American people that partial-birth abortion is a) illegal, and b) literally aborting a child as he or she is leaving the womb. This may be even more worthy of attention from Congress than the harvesting.
Second, and related, pro-lifers have rightly used the videos to once again make our point that abortion is heinous and that Planned Parenthood should lose federal funding. While we must take advantage of the opportunity to make our moral, cultural, and public policy cases about Planned Parenthood, it is important to not lose focus on the biggest issue: Making the case that human life begins at conception, and thus abortion is morally abhorrent.
As Alliance Defending Freedom’s Casey Mattox noted yesterday at a panel that I organized, stories are effective, which is part of why CMP’s videos are getting such enormous attention. But the real horror of the abortion industry is the rendering and tearing done to unborn children.
Third: It may end up being the case that a congressional investigation finds no illegal harvesting by Planned Parenthood. However, the methods of aborting unborn children when harvesting organs and other parts are certainly illegal. Again, from LifeSiteNews:
Regarding Gatter’s support for lying to women about how an abortion will be done, Daleiden cited 42 U.S.C. 289g-1, and said that “state laws governing consent to medical procedures would also apply.”
The part of the U.S. Code cited by Daleiden states that “no alteration of the timing, method, or procedures used to terminate the pregnancy was made solely for the purposes of obtaining the tissue.” Like the subject of the first CMP video, Gatter fully backed changing how an abortion is done “for the purposes of obtaining the tissue.”
Washington Post reporters Abby Ohlheiser and Sandhya Somashekhar have more, from prominent bioethicist Arthur Caplan (who supports assisted suicide and in 2005 criticized fetal pain bills for calling fetuses an “unborn child”):
A clinic that did choose to perform one procedure over another with the express purpose of increasing the likelihood of preserving an intact specimen would be committing a “classic violation” of a long-held, industry-wide standard for abortion providers in the United States, Arthur Caplan, director of New York University’s Division of Medical Ethics, said after reviewing the video.
“They have a standard informed consent form that says, ‘We’re going to do this procedure, and we’re not going to change anything about it,’” Caplan explained in a telephone interview. He added that “it’s ethically very dangerous” to change a procedure for the purpose of fetal tissue collection. “You’re starting to put the mom’s health secondary,” he said.
Caplan said that some of the video’s other claims fall into “a big gray zone,” including the Center for Medical Progress’s assertion that Planned Parenthood has broken the law by “selling” fetal tissues and organs for profit.
“They would like the charge to be ‘Planned Parenthood sells baby parts,’” Caplan said. “I’m not sure you get this from this tape.”
Despite those questions, Caplan said the videos still raise questions about Planned Parenthood’s overall approach to providing fetal tissue donations to research. “I think Planned Parenthood is bumping up against the boundary on these tapes,” he said. “I know [the tapes] are edited, but I think they have to rethink what they’re doing if they’re going to stay in this area.”
“Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you.” — Barack Obama, address to Planned Parenthood, April 26, 2013
Planned Parenthood’s reaction to the release of a secretly recorded conversation about the sale of fetal body parts was highly revealing. After protesting that it had done nothing illegal, it apologized for the “tone” of one of its senior directors.
Her remarks lacked compassion, admitted Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards. As if Dr. Deborah Nucatola’s cold and casual discussion over salad and wine of how the fetal body can be crushed with forceps in a way that leaves valuable organs intact for sale were some kind of personal idiosyncrasy. On the contrary, it’s precisely the kind of psychic numbing that occurs when dealing daily with industrial-scale destruction of the growing, thriving, recognizably human fetus.
This was again demonstrated by the release this week of a second video showing another official sporting that same tone, casual and even jocular, while haggling over the price of an embryonic liver. “If it’s still low, then we can bump it up,” she joked, “I want a Lamborghini.”
Abortion critics have long warned that the problem is not only the obvious — what abortion does to the fetus — but also what it does to us. It’s the same kind of desensitization that has occurred in the Netherlands with another mass exercise in life termination: assisted suicide. It began as a way to prevent the suffering of the terminally ill. It has now become so widespread and wanton that one-fifth of all Dutch assisted-suicide patients are euthanized without their explicit consent.
The Planned Parenthood revelations will have an effect. Perhaps not on government funding, given the Democratic party’s unwavering support and the president’s wishing it divine guidance. Planned Parenthood might escape legal jeopardy as well, given the loophole in the law banning the sale of fetal parts that permits compensation for expenses (shipping and handling, as it were).
But these revelations will have an effect on public perceptions. Just as ultrasound altered feelings about abortion by showing the image, the movement, the vibrant livingness of the developing infant in utero, so too, I suspect, will these Planned Parenthood revelations, by throwing open the door to the backroom of the clinic where that being is destroyed.
It’s an ugly scene. The issue is less the sale of body parts than how they are obtained. The nightmare for abortion advocates is a spreading consciousness of how exactly a healthy fetus is turned into a mass of marketable organs, how, in the words of a senior Planned Parenthood official, one might use “a less crunchy technique” — crush the head, spare the organs — “to get more whole specimens.”
The effect on the public is a two-step change in sensibilities. First, when ultrasound reveals how human the living fetus appears. Next, when people learn, as in these inadvertent admissions, what killing the fetus involves.
Remember. The advent of ultrasound has coincided with a remarkable phenomenon: Of all the major social issues, abortion is the only one that has not moved toward increasing liberalization. While the legalization of drugs, the redefinition of marriage, and other assertions of individual autonomy have advanced, some with astonishing rapidity, abortion attitudes have remained largely static. The country remains evenly split.
What will be the reaction to these Planned Parenthood revelations? Right now, to try to deprive it of taxpayer money. Citizens repelled by its activities should not be made complicit in them. But why not shift the focus from the facilitator to the procedure itself?
The House has already passed a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks. That’s far more fruitful than trying to ban it entirely because, apart from the obvious constitutional issue, there is no national consensus about the moral status of the early embryo. There’s more agreement on the moral status of the later-term fetus. Indeed, about two-thirds of Americans would ban abortion after the first trimester.
There is more division about the first trimester because one’s views of the early embryo are largely a matter of belief, often religious belief. One’s view of the later-term fetus, however, is more a matter of what might be called sympathetic identification — seeing the image of a recognizable human infant and, now, hearing from the experts exactly what it takes to “terminate” its existence.
The role of democratic politics is to turn such moral sensibilities into law. This is a moment to press relentlessly for a national ban on late-term abortions.