By now, you’ve no doubt seen the undercover video showing a Planned Parenthood executive explaining about how Planned Parenthood traffics the body parts of unborn babies (see above). It’s difficult to sit through a casual explanation of how Planned Parenthood traffics the body parts of babies killed in their abortion mills. Even if what they are doing isn’t illegal, it should be. And even if the unedited video tells a different story than the edited one, it’s no less an atrocity. Anyone whose conscience isn’t completely burned-over can see that.
We need this video to be disseminated far and wide. People need to know what Planned Parenthood is—the kind of place where the dismemberment of live human beings is discussed casually over wine and salad. That a place like this even exists is a scandal. That what it does is legal is an even bigger scandal. That American taxpayers subsidize this scandal at a rate of $1.4 million dollars per day is damning. We can be thankful that House Majority Leader John Boehner has called for a Congressional investigation of Planned Parenthood. But as a people, we need more than that—nothing short of repentance in sackcloth and ashes.
Predictably, mainstream media outlets have been slow to pick-up the story. Some of the ones that have picked it up have buried the lede in language that conceals what is really going on. The Associated Press, for example reported on “the disposition of parts from aborted fetuses,” whereas a more accurate account might have reported “the trafficking of body parts from dismembered humans.”
We have presidential candidates to thank for shining the spotlight on this story and for the fact that mainstream outlets are now at least reporting on it. There was a swell at the grass roots thanks to LifeNews.com, Russell Moore, and others. But I think the candidates really helped to put this before a media that is prone to ignore pro-life groundswells.
While I am glad the light is finally on, one trend in the reporting deserves some scrutiny. Reports often include remarks from experts responding to the video. The experts—who typically hail from a university—explain what does and does not constitute an ethical breach. For example, CNN interviewed bioethicist Art Caplan of New York University:
Caplan told CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen that altering procedures in order to get tissue in the best condition would be a “big no-no.”
“In abortion the primary goal is to give the safest abortion possible,” he said. “Your sole concern has to be the mother and her health.”
He said there’s a parallel in patient care: When someone is dying, doctors shouldn’t change how they treat the patient in order to harvest good tissue for donation after death.
Reuters interviewed bioethicist Laurie Zoloth of Northwestern University:
Zoloth said it was “terribly disturbing because the physician seems to be engaged in a transaction in which the goal is to extract tissue to meet the needs of a company, rather than being focused on the core purpose of her clinic, which is to provide a safe medical procedure.”
She termed that “an obvious conflict of interest.”
Zoloth also pointed to the attitude of the physician in the video, observing, “The doctor seems extraordinarily cavalier … Having this discussion over a meal, while drinking what appears to be wine, takes this further from the realm of professional clinical medicine and into the realm of business.”
In both of these examples, notice that the sole ethical concern is the possibility of an “unsafe” abortion due to efforts to harvest undamaged organs. What is conspicuously absent from both of these experts is any concern for the safety of the unborn human being—the one whose life is taken in every one of these abortions.
And that is the bottom line here, isn’t it? The primary outrage is not the trafficking of body parts—as unseemly and immoral as that is. The primary outrage is the killing of unborn human beings.
We are not talking about lab rats here. We are talking about people. People are being dismembered and killed in utero. The trafficking of the parts serves to highlight the prior offense—killing innocent people. That is what Planned Parenthood does every day.
In their annual report, Planned Parenthood said they ended the lives of 327,653 unborn children in the span of one year. That means that Planned Parenthood kills about 900 people per day. If that doesn’t shock the conscience, then nothing will.