Why the President of Planned Parenthood’s apology doesn’t work

The President of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards released a video statement to defend her organization in the wake of the damning video that was released earlier this week (see above). The statement is awful on so many levels. But there are two glaring reasons that her statement falls short:

(1) Richards does not dispute the fact that Planned Parenthood dismembers human babies in utero and traffics their body parts. In a sad spectacle of missing the point, Richards tries to defend Planned Parenthood against allegations of profiteering. She says,

“The allegation that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation is not true.”

What she fails to see is that normal people are scandalized not by the allegations of profit but by the reality of butchery in Planned Parenthood’s abortion mills. What shocks the conscience is to hear Dr. Deborah Nucatola casually describe the barbarity that is routine at Planned Parenthood. That inhumanity is lost on Dr. Nucatola, and it is lost on Cecile Richards. But it is not lost on anyone watching the video. No amount of euphemism (“tissue donation”) can conceal what is revealed in the video. Planned Parenthood trades in the severed limbs and organs of human babies. And Richards does not dispute that central fact.

(2) Richards offers an apology for Dr. Nucatola’s “tone” in the video. Richards says,

“Our top priority is the compassionate care that we provide. In the video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion. This is unacceptable, and I personally apologize for the staff member’s tone and statements.”

This apology is an enigma wrapped in a contradiction. What does she mean by “compassionate care”? Care and compassion for whom? For the babies? Is she really arguing that Dr. Nucatola should be more compassionate in talking about how she kills the babies? As if it’s okay to kill the babies so long as you talk about it nicely after the fact?

The bottom line is that an apology makes no sense unless Richards is also conceding the humanity of these unborn children. But if she concedes that, she is confessing that Planned Parenthood’s work is a human tragedy and moral atrocity of the highest order. If that is what she is confessing, then she owes an apology for much more than Dr. Nucatola’s “tone.”

As the largest abortion provider in America, Planned Parenthood kills about 900 unborn babies per day nationwide—that’s about 330,000 children killed in their clinics annually. The video reveals the human cost behind those numbers. Planned Parenthood dismembers human babies in utero. The damning euphemisms of Planned Parenthood’s apologists cannot conceal that.

104 Responses to Why the President of Planned Parenthood’s apology doesn’t work

  1. Michael Jefferson July 17, 2015 at 10:40 am #

    I agree Denny, if they’re going to abort fetuses, they should at least have the decency to throw the remains in the trash rather than use them for lifesaving medical research for the benefit of persons.

    • Brian Holland July 17, 2015 at 11:47 am #

      That’s utitarian “ethics” of the lowest order sir. You can’t justify destroying life in order to save or enhance the lives of others. There is a HUGE difference between being an organ donor if you die in a terrible car accident vs harvesting organs from a barbaric slaughtering of innocent, defenseless babies.

      • Michael Jefferson July 17, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

        They aren’t persons, and so persons take precedence over them. What makes killing something wrong is the presence of characteristics like autonomy, rationality, and self-consciousness. Fetuses lack those characteristics. Killing them cannot be equated with killing normal human beings.

        • Robert Scott July 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

          And with just a slight twist to your statement if I may…

          “What makes killing something wrong is the presence of characteristics like autonomy, rationality, and self-consciousness. one day old babies lack those characteristics. Killing them cannot be equated with killing normal human beings.”

          One day old babies have none of the characteristics you mentioned; therefore, they are not normal human beings and can be harvested for body parts. Luckily they won’t need the ultrasound to figure out where or where not to crush.

        • Ian Shaw July 17, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

          You may claim to those ideals intellectually, but if you follow that premise to it’s logical conclusion, you will create anarchy in society. While I’m no fan of Nietzsche or his ideology, I can at least respect that he was honest with himself and others regarding the full implications of what he believed. Today we have a large portion of society that wants to hold onto their ideology and they defend it with an unparalleled ferocity, but they are unwilling to look beyond the immediate to see where it leads when their ideology is fully fleshed out to it’s conclusion. When that happens, they can see that A LOT of crazy things can happen.

          So if a human being loses the ability to be rational, their autonomy or self-consciousness, you’d have no qualms putting them to death?

          Might work on paper, does not transfer over to real life.

          • Michael Jefferson July 17, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

            No, this understanding leads to goods like less overpopulation. Overpopulation causes poverty and disease. Therefore, abortion prevents poverty and disease. Poverty contributes to crime and sin. Therefore, abortion prevents crime and sin.

            Abortion prevents children from being raised in unloving environments and in government/foster care. Therefore, abortion reduces costs to the woman and the public.

            Abortion promotes the liberty of women. Abortion prevents teenage childbirth. Abortion prevents childbirth pain and complications. Abortion prevents infanticide.

            The aborted fetal tissue furthers important lifesaving medical research.

            I’m thinking about applying to Southern Seminary and basing a dissertation on this thesis.

            • Gus Nelson July 17, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

              Who defines “overpopulation?” At what point does a place become over-populated? By what standard are you concluding that this so-called overpopulation causes poverty and disease? Poverty and disease often arise from multiple causes, overpopulation being one potential factor. Abortion also prevents children from being raised in loving environments among people who would be happy to adopt them. Liberty of women? Seriously? How can a woman know at any given time what her life will be like in five, ten, twenty or fifty years based on having or not having a child? None of us have a crystal ball.

        • Johnny Mason July 17, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

          So you see, Michael is perfectly fine with infanticide since infants have neither self-consciousness, rationality, or autonomy.

          • Ian Shaw July 17, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

            Hitler said the same thing about the people groups he massacred..

          • Michael Jefferson July 17, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

            No, I explained that even if infants are not persons, killing them is wrong because they look much more like persons and are more public entities. Killing them seeks to devalue persons. Abortion is also a good in that it prevents infanticide.

            • Ian Shaw July 17, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

              Have you seen what a child in womb looks like at 20 weeks, 25 weeks, 30 weeks? If it does not look like a human person, what exactly does it look like?

              And now you’re splitting hairs to define personhood by what they look like? That’s a very poor argument.

              • Michael Jefferson July 17, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

                Yes, I have seen fetuses. They do not look like persons anyone encounters in their life. They look like fetuses.

                • David Powell July 17, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

                  Clearly not

            • Johnny Mason July 17, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

              “What makes killing something wrong is the presence of characteristics like autonomy, rationality, and self-consciousness.”

              This is what you said, be a man and own up to it.

              This will be my last comment, since I violated the principle of never feeding a troll.

              • Michael Jefferson July 17, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

                That is true. Killing persons is wrong because of those characteristics. But killing infants seeks to promote violence against persons. So similarly, killing may be wrong in that instance, but not as wrong as murder of persons.

                • Ian Shaw July 17, 2015 at 3:01 pm #

                  What you are suggesting is no different than killing a toddler. Period.

                • Aaron Ginn July 21, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

                  You’re mealy-mouthed. You stated that “What makes killing something wrong is the presence of characteristics like autonomy, rationality, and self-consciousness.” Someone called you on it by correctly pointing out that neonates have noe of those qualities. Now, you’re moving the goalposts. At least be honest and defend your assertions.

        • Christiane Smith July 17, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

          Hi MICHAEL,
          Many people believe that ‘life interrupted’ as it unfolds from a fertilized egg into a viable fetus is wrong because they see the action as what it is: a termination of a potential life that could proceed to term if not ‘interrupted’ by someone seeking its destruction. Even a lot of people who still respect the woman’s right to choose also feel the pathos of this ‘interruption’ as something to be avoided if at all possible, either by bringing to term followed by a good adoption or by sound birth control methods taught to young people at the right time to make a difference. And even for those who are hardened to abortion in its many stages, there still are for some of them qualms about the horror of ‘partial-birth’ abortion with the ‘snipping’ of the infant’s brain-stem before the head emerges from the birth canal.

          You have to understand that a lot of people DO see an unborn forming baby as worthy of a chance at life, simply because the unborn is potentially a human person who IS made in the image of God and has that dignity.

          I’m Catholic but I grieve that the ‘abortion issue’ has become politicized. And I grieve that so many who fight for the unborn to live don’t extend that fight to help those who are then born into poverty; or extend that fight for life to seeing an end to the death penalty, certainly to the end of executions that are painful and inhumane. I think one way of working to ‘make things better’ is to cool the rhetoric and to work on behalf of vulnerable people who may feel they ‘have no choice’ but abortion . . . and offer them some hope.
          The politics? Something’s very, very wrong with how it currently is played out. What are your thoughts?

    • Jason Scott July 17, 2015 at 11:33 pm #

      You totally missed the point. We need to quit murdering these babies in the first place. How ironic. You want to destroy a baby so you can pound your chest and say we have used the tissue to save life. Makes no sense.

    • C. M. Granger July 18, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

      The self contradiction and irrationality of the above statement makes it easy to discard. Do you have an actual argument?

      • Michael Jefferson July 19, 2015 at 10:11 am #

        Scroll down. And it’s not self-contradictory or irrational, but certainly sarcastic. Fetuses are not persons.

        • C. M. Granger July 20, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

          If they’re not “persons”, what remains are being used for medical research?

          The logical conclusion to your position (as you’ve laid it out in the combox) is that killing anyone without autonomy, rationality, and self consciousness is good, right, and just. But then you make little qualifiers to nuance your argument, like ” killing infants is wrong because they look like persons, etc” (which is a ridiculous attempt to pull back the reigns on what your position implies).

          At least have the temerity to be consistent. Inconsistency is a sure mark of weak arguments and therefore, an illogical position.

          • Michael Jefferson July 20, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

            The remains of biological Homo sapiens fetuses are being used for medical research.

            No, that’s actually not a logical conclusion. It doesn’t follow from “persons are things with autonomy, rationality, and self-consciousness” that “killing things without autonomy, rationality, and self-consciousness is good, right, and just.” Rather, killing fetuses is good, right, and just since doing so is not incompatible with Scripture and benefits persons, and is not outweighed by a competing interest.

            You’re disregarding the reason I gave for why one can reasonably say that killing infants is not the equivalent of killing fetuses (which is that infants are more public entities that we routinely physically encounter and are physically and physiologically more similar to persons, and thus killing them seeks to desensitize us to the value of persons significantly more than does killing fetuses); I personally don’t regard that reason as being insufficient considering the arguments I gave in support of the goods abortion of unwanted fetuses brings to persons. But reasonable people can disagree.

            And I guess you’re right. If I were to concede that killing infants actually would be justified by my view, then my view would be consistent for you.

            And if arguments about protecting the value of persons are “ridiculous,” someone needs to tell that to the president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary with respect to “human life,” because I actually value the lives of persons quite a lot:
            “The callous disregard for human life is reflected even in the films and television programs that pass for entertainment and certainly in how we treat one another in society, perhaps even to the increase in discourteous driving habits.”

            • C. M. Granger July 21, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

              Except a “person” is a person from conception, simply in an early stage. None of your attempts to argue from Scripture refute this.

              The remains of “biological Homo Sapien fetuses” are used for medical research for “persons” because they are from other persons–as opposed to the remains of cats and dogs.

              Human fetuses are not just so much play dough, to be used however “persons” with developed intellects would like.

  2. Michael Jefferson July 17, 2015 at 11:22 am #

    Oh, and if we’re going to start posting my comments now, maybe you can post my prior ones where I cite the Southern Baptist Convention supporting my view that fetuses aren’t persons and that abortion can be a social good. And where I make a biblical case that fetuses aren’t persons.

    • Michael Jefferson July 17, 2015 at 11:38 am #

      Then God said, “Let us make man [people] in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him. (Genesis 1:26-27)
      “In his own image” cannot refer to a biological similarity; instead, it refers to the special ability of people to think and understand anything. This suggests a definition of a person as an object that can think and understand.

      According to the Bible, God instructs:

      If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely [has miscarriage] but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury [to the woman], you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. (Exodus 21:22-25)
      The death of a fetus is considered a destruction of property instead of destruction of a person since the penalty is only a fine. Damage to the woman, however, is a much worse crime since the punishment is much more severe.

      In Numbers 5:11-31, if a woman committed adultery, she is to have a bitter drink that poisons her to punish her and bring miscarriage. Thus, abortions are approved in case of adultery by the woman. In biblical times, abortions were accomplished through poisoning the woman, clearly a cruel procedure. “The typical abortion methods were to poison the mother (hoping she lived while the fetus died) or to physically abuse the mother’s abdomen.” (Gilbert) Thus, abortions were not recommended for insubstantial reasons.

      God (according to the bible) preordained some prophets before their conception. The prophets were given a miraculous ability to communicate with God. Some obtained a soul even before conception. Jeremiah 1:5 states that God knew Jeremiah (a prophet) before conception. Those prophets, of course, are not the majority population. Often, their being human before birth is one of their distinctions from ordinary fetuses who become people (that is conscious) after birth.

      The New Testament places strict moral rules. Nowhere does it say that abortion is wrong or that a fetus is a person. Its moral reaffirms the position that people are people through their understanding and thought.

      • Ian Shaw July 17, 2015 at 11:59 am #

        If fetus’s aren’t children, why do 38 state have fetal homicide laws? How can the fetus be a human being (worthy of human rights) and not a human being (not worthy of human rights) both at the same time?

        If people are people through understanding and thought, should we kill the elderly or those afflicted with forms of disease that terminate understanding and thought?

        • Michael Jefferson July 17, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

          I agree, those states need to change their laws.

          The elderly can think and understand. And those without that ability, like Terri Schiavo, are not human beings deserving of rights. And this is the most intuitive understanding, which is why most people polled agreed that Schiavo should be allowed to be taken off life support. Persons in reasonably temporary comas should have their wishes respected as persons who have expressed a conscious desire to continue living. Fetuses have not expressed a conscious desire to continue living and have never been persons.

          • Ian Shaw July 17, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

            wow……

            • Michael Jefferson July 17, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

              Wow doesn’t register as any kind of recognizable criticism. Another relevant difference is that those who cannot think and understand outside the womb are more public and look much more like persons. So actively and forcefully killing them seeks to demean the value of persons significantly more than killing fetuses, even if they are not persons. But the goods abortion brings to persons outweigh the possible effects of devaluing persons in my mind. For example, abortion prevents overpopulation which prevents poverty and disease. Poverty contributes to crime. Therefore, abortion prevents crime and sin.

              • Brian Holland July 17, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

                Michael, I’ll take it you would have been a fan of Margaret Sanger?

                • Robert Scott July 17, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

                  Michael you said:

                  “Fetuses have not expressed a conscious desire to continue living and have never been persons.”

                  Right, and with the criteria you previously mentioned above (autonomy, rationality, and self-consciousness) a day old ‘fetus’ outside the womb..and let’s keep it’s umbilical cord attached…has NONE of those characteristics. Therefore, they are not persons either. How about a one week old? Do they have to have all three to be a person? A one week old may experience self-consciousness in the basic knowledge of ‘hunger’,but have no ability to acquire food (no autonomy and rationality). Therefore, they are not persons.

                  I understand why Mr. Burk may have been hesitant to post your comments in the past. Good luck to you sir. I will close with what Ian Shaw said above:

                  “You may claim to those ideals intellectually, but if you follow that premise to it’s logical conclusion, you will create anarchy in society.”

                • Michael Jefferson July 17, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

                  No, I don’t support eugenics or racism. I support legal, safe abortion of unwanted fetuses.

                  • Brian Holland July 17, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

                    How can you separate Eugenics from abortion? And how can you separate PP from it’s founder? You sir are a human pretzel!

                    • buddyglass July 17, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

                      I disagree strongly with Michael on the issue of abortion. That said, it’s not hard to separate eugenics from abortion. Let individual women decide whether to abort. Don’t incentivize (or seek to mitigate) abortion by any one group. Don’t force people to get abortions. Voila, no eugenics.

                      Re: PP and Sanger, that’s not hard either. Consider Ford Motor Co. Henry Ford was a huge anti-semite. Is Ford Motor, today, anti-semitic? No.

                      Volkswagen was started by Hitler to provide a “people’s car” for the German people. Am I supporting Nazism to buy a volkswagen? No.

                      Individual PP employees or supporters may share Sanger’s eugenic vision, but that doesn’t mean PP as an organization does.

                    • David Powell July 18, 2015 at 8:50 am #

                      Buddy, the equivalent here is not supporting Volkswagen. It’s supporting the 1940s Nazi Party of Germany.

                    • buddyglass July 18, 2015 at 10:06 am #

                      “Buddy, the equivalent here is not supporting Volkswagen. It’s supporting the 1940s Nazi Party of Germany.”

                      I disagree. The Nazi party had many members who were true believers in its ideology at the time of its demise. Planned Parenthood has very, very few supporters and/or employees who still ascribe to Margaret Sanger’s views on eugenics.

                      That doesn’t justify abortion, of course; it just means that slamming PP for Sanger doesn’t really work. It’s in the past.

                    • David Powell July 18, 2015 at 10:28 am #

                      The business of VW was/is making automobiles. The business of the Nazi Party was exterminating undesirables. Which one does PP sound more like?

                    • Brian Holland July 18, 2015 at 10:33 am #

                      And PP still gives out a Margaret Sanger “Award” every year! I don’t think they are ashamed of her legacy at all.

                    • buddyglass July 18, 2015 at 11:42 am #

                      I’d say the business of the Nazi party was 1. satisfying Hitler’s crazy delusions of grandeur and 2. world domination. They were all about killing Jews (and gays, and gypsys) too, but that wasn’t its raison d’etre.

                      Regardless, PP doesn’t currently work toward any eugenic end and its employees almost exclusively reject eugenic aims.

                      That they kill babies is reason enough to criticize PP; you don’t need to make stuff up.

                    • Brian Holland July 18, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

                      Buddy, are you aware that just a few years ago there was an undercover recording that came out where someone called in to say that they wanted to start a fund to kill as many black babies as possible. PP was all too happy to take the money from that individual. Now you may protest that was a setup, and the PP rep on the phone actually thought it was a way to “help” black women who couldn’t afford to have an abortion, but the fact remains PP is perfectly fine with a wildly disproportionate rate of black babies being murdered. Obviously black women and men are not off the hook here, but it’s black babies that are the real vicitms, and Sanger’s progressive vision is being carried out, just not on as aggressive of a scale as she would have liked to have seen.

                    • buddyglass July 18, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

                      Black babies dying because black mothers choose to terminate their pregnancies is not eugenics per se. They’re not killing their children to purify the gene pool or eliminate negative heritable traits.

                      I’m not okay with anyone having an abortion; given that, though, I’m not especially upset that black mothers opt to have the procedure at a higher rate than non-black mothers, so long as they’re not being targeted by abortion providers.

                  • Ian Shaw July 17, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

                    You speak as if pregnancy is an illness…….you do know how people get pregnant, right?

              • Ian Shaw July 17, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

                Wow is being used as there is not a word in the English language to describe my disgust with your lack of compassion for what is human life.

                Was Hitler right in his thinking that Jews, Gypsies, etc. were not human beings/sub-human?

                Abortion prevents crime and sin? You assume that abortion is not sinful. Abortion being used as a population control measure sounds an awful lot like something being said from a dictator or totalitarian regime.

                • Michael Jefferson July 17, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

                  Hitler was wrong because Jews can think and understand.

                  Abortion is not sin.

                  • Ian Shaw July 17, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

                    The ability of a child to think/understand 10 seconds after being birthed and out of the womb is no different than 30minutes prior to birth, to 24 hours prior to 8 weeks prior, etc. Your arguments are failing left or right.

                    Viability, logical thought/reasoning, self-awareness, self-sustaining, etc., all those reasons to support your argument are faulty when followed to their logical conclusions.

                  • Brian Holland July 17, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

                    Michael, have you ever watched a video of a late term abortion where the baby is screaming at the top of his or her lungs, and fighting to try to survive? Have you?

                    • Michael Jefferson July 19, 2015 at 11:13 am #

                      Fetuses do not suffer because fetuses are not aware they are in pain. They are not conscious before birth, and are sedated by the physical environment of the uterus.

                      (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
                      Fetal Awareness: Review of Research and Recommendations for Practice)

                      “The fetus apparently remains
                      in continuous states of sleep-like unconsciousness, which are maintained by a range of neuroinhibitory
                      physiological mechanisms that are unique to fetal life. Moreover, the fetus is not apparently arousable to
                      states of ‘awareness’ by potentially noxious humoral, auditory or surgical stimuli.”

                      http://altweb.jhsph.edu/wc6/paper79.pdf

                    • Brian Holland July 19, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

                      Honestly and with all due respect, I’ve never heard such stupidity in all my life. Any pregnant woman will tell you that if you poke the baby inside of them, they poke back. When my wife would go in for fetal monitoring, if our son was asleep they would have her drink something cold to wake him up, so obviously they respond to stimuli just like babies try to find comfortable positions inside the womb. I also have to ask you why would doctors tell us to talk to babies in the womb if they are not person, and unresponsive?

                      I dare you to watch this video, and tell me that babies who are aborted feel no pain. Seriously…
                      http://www.abortionno.org/

                    • Michael Jefferson July 19, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

                      Pregnant women aren’t relevant authorities on whether fetuses possess awareness of pain. You don’t really understand the substance. I never said all fetuses cannot feel pain. I said that all fetuses do not experience suffering, because they are not aware that they are in pain. You’re speaking of pre-programmed responses to stimuli which do not require consciousness.

                  • David Powell July 17, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

                    Dude, you are clueless, and you need to repent.

                  • Brett Cody July 22, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

                    You are completely wrong, Michael. Abortion is murder of human life. Period. Cecile Richards is an liar. This is fact. She lies and hides the truth and you are as well. Babies in the womb can understand pain.

      • Brian Holland July 17, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

        That is the most bizarre, and hermanuetic ly unsupported understanding of imago dei I’ve ever heard. You are aware that God judged the Israelite for participating in child sacrifice, are you not?

        • Michael Jefferson July 17, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

          Children aren’t fetuses.

          • David Powell July 18, 2015 at 8:52 am #

            Some are, but not all. You are correct. But all fetuses are children. You really need to stay away from euphemisms. It’s clouding your mind.

      • Beth July 17, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

        Here is some good evidence that the Exodus passage does NOT refer to a miscarriage, to a live birth with no injuries: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-misuse-of-exodus-2122-25-by-pro-choice-advocates

        • Christiane Smith July 18, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

          good to see more female presence in the discussion, no matter what ‘side’ or opinion is expressed . . . it is always troubling when womens’ voices are not as prevalent in discussions of such matters

      • T. J. July 17, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

        Michael, your exegesis is way off. Pick up any standard commentary on Exodus 21 and you’ll see that no serious scholar interprets it the way that you have. With your bracketed comments, you have completely reversed the clear meaning of the passage. I’ll include brackets of my own to clarify the way that every serious scholar understands this passage:

        “If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury [to the baby], he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury [i.e., to the baby], then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life…” What else could the writer mean by “life for life” if he’s not talking about someone’s death! Clearly, in this passage, the “further injury” is to the baby and the penalty for this murder is death.”

        As for your interpretation of the “image of God”, the idea that the the image is “rationality” is misguided concept that was taught in the Middle Ages and then promptly refuted.

        Be very careful with your exegesis; otherwise, there could be deadly consequences. And I literally mean “deadly” (in the case of innocent babies).

        • Michael Jefferson July 18, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

          In reality, a plurality of scholars support my reading of the Exodus section. Including such eminent scholars as Ronald E. Clements, J. Coert Rylaarsdam, and George A. Buttrick. Translators from the Douay Version of 1610 to the New Revised Standard Version of 1989 interpret the text as showing a legal distinction between the value of the woman and the value of the fetus. Fetuses possess much less value, because they are not persons.

          “When, in the course of a brawl, a man knocks against a pregnant woman so that she has a miscarriage but suffers no further injury, then the offender must pay whatever fine the woman’s husband demands after assessment. But where injury ensues, you are to give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, bruise for bruise, wound for wound.” -Revised English Bible

          And I don’t think my understanding of Image of God has been “refuted.”

      • Aaron Browning July 17, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

        Michael, you “biblical case” for abortion is not surprisingly completely unbiblical.
        Number 5 speaks nothing of a miscarriage or abortion.

        Jeremiah 1:5 speaks of Jeremiah, but this is one of many instances where God knows people in the womb. That is because THEY ARE PEOPLE IN THE WOMB. The Bible still doesn’t support abortion eve If you take away all the verses in the Bible that talk about God knowing people in their mother’s womb.

        Third, the Exodus passage says nothing of miscarriage, but premature birth. Babies born early can and do survive. It is entirely reasonable to assume that “the injury” mentioned in Exodus can refer to the mother and the child.

        Again, your defense of abortion from Scripture does not even stand up to the most cursory criticism.

        • Michael Jefferson July 17, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

          According to the New International Version scholars, Numbers 5 does speak of induced miscarriage.

          Jeremiah is a prophet. Prophets have miraculous abilities. They are not representative of the majority population, as evidenced by the rest of Scripture.

          As for Exodus,
          First, the original Hebrew word is “yatsa” which literally means to “lose her offspring”. Second, premature births in the ancient world resulted in almost certain death for the fetus/infant, since only modern medicine can save premature babies. Third, scholars have shown that the passage was derived directly from more ancient pagan laws, which clearly referred to miscarriage. The Code of Hammurabi (209, 210) reads: “If a seignior struck a[notherl seignior’s daughter and has caused her to have a miscarriage [literally, caused her to drop that of her womb], he shall pay ten shekels of silver for her fetus. If that woman had died, they shall put his daughter to death.” Hittite Laws (1.17) read: “If anyone causes a free woman to miscarry [literally, drives out the embryo], if (it is) the 10th month, he shall give 10 shekels of silver, if (it is) the 5th month, he shall give 5 shekels of silver…” (Bowen Ward, 1987)

          • David Powell July 18, 2015 at 8:54 am #

            You are arguing against yourself here. The penalty has to do with intent here. This is the equivalent of manslaughter, which always carries a lesser penalty. The Bible could not be more clear here on the sanctity of human life.

            • Michael Jefferson July 18, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

              The verses deal with unintended miscarriage caused by someone, even if accidentally. The point of the section is that Scripture makes a legal distinction between the value of the woman and the value of the fetus. The lex talionis is applied in the case of injury to the woman, but a property-level fine is levied against killing the fetus. Fetuses carry less value than persons, because fetuses are not persons.

      • Joey Sours July 17, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

        I highly question your hermeneutic and ultimate conclusion on the Genesis 1 text. The image of God issue would also point to the idea that human life at all stages is something sacred in and of itself since man is made in the image of God.

        Regarding your interpretation of Exodus and Numbers, both a plain reading of the text and an analysis of the Hebrew provide the opposite conclusion of what you assert. In Exodus, it states that if the woman gives birth prematurely (the word yatsa refers to a live birth and not a miscarriage) yet there is no injury (the text doesn’t specify injury to the child or the mother) then the Husband can demand damages. It then goes on to say that if any additional injury occurs (again it doesn’t make a distinction between injuries to child or mother), whether broken bones or death then the same shall be done to the offender. In either situation, this is speaking to an accidental injury, not a purposeful act against the mother and child so the entire argument is faulty.

        Regarding the Numbers text, nowhere is abortion or a miscarriage mentioned in the actual text but instead speaks to a curse that the woman will bear if she has been unfaithful. While the swollen abdomen may be taken to insinuate a pregnancy a withered thigh does not (as any woman that has been pregnant can attest). Also, your argument just seems nonsensical because according to the text it would mean that the curse is that God will make the woman pregnant and then lose the child to miscarriage. If anything can be “read between the lines” it would seem to indicate that a withered thigh and swollen abdomen indicate some type of curse that will prevent the woman from bearing children in the future. This idea is supported by verse 31 which states that if she is innocent she will be free and will conceive children.

        • Michael Jefferson July 19, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

          Even if fetuses possess some value, that is outweighed by the goods abortion of unwanted fetuses brings to persons. The Image of God cannot be a biological similarity, because God is an immaterial, unembodied mind. Fetuses are not persons because they cannot think and understand.

          To the contrary, my interpretation of Exodus receives the strongest support from scholars. And the point is that it makes a legal distinction between the status of the fetus and the status of the woman. The lex talionis is applied to injury of the woman, while a property-level fine is applied to death of the fetus. Fetuses possess less value than persons, as fetuses are not persons. The accidental nature is the same whether the mother or fetus is killed. So, to the contrary, the argument is not faulty.

          “21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the Lord cause you to become a curse among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.” -NIV
          I reasonably interpret this passage to be speaking of induced abortions that occurred by poisoning the woman in biblical times. This would have been a test to see if the woman had indeed committed adultery.

  3. James Stanton July 17, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

    I think this comment thread perfectly illustrates the frustration on this topic for many social conservatives. Social conservatives desire society-wide moral condemnation of abortion as a practice. You’ll note that the scandal has moved on from what Planned Parenthood was alleged to be doing in the edited video to abortion itself.

    Here’s an interesting article. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/07/what-pro-life-activists-really-want/398297/

    • Ian Shaw July 17, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

      What the doctor was discussing over lunch in the video on further proves how vile and wrong the practice of abortion is altogether.

      But I while I find child-in-womb murder abhorrent, I will saythat changing people’s hearts on the matter will go further than just having all the shops close up

    • Brian Holland July 18, 2015 at 9:08 am #

      James, it’s a slippery slope once abortion was legalized it opened up a “pandora’s box” of awful, once unimaginable scenarios, if I can mix metaphors here. I used to protest outside PP, and I was one of only a few Evangelical Protestants unfortunately. Overwhelmingly the people protesting out there were Catholic. Most people who are pro-life really haven’t done much to oppose the slaughter.

      • James Stanton July 18, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

        Brian,

        I disagree. I’m not sure protesting outside of PP offices sets the standard for being a pro-life activist. I’ve never been convinced that this tactic was effective. Most people I know who are pro-life are vocal about it, vote for pro-life politicians, and support pro-life organizations. I’m not sure what more can be done to oppose the slaughter.

        • Brian Holland July 18, 2015 at 11:49 pm #

          James, I can assure you that sidewalk counseling is very effective, and so is drawing attention to what goes on inside PP for people who are driving by in their cars. There are plenty of women that are willing to consider at least getting an ultrasound, and there are obviously many who are not willing to engage in dialogue. For those who are not willing and ignore those who protest, I hope they at least feel uncomfortable in their sin that they may ultimately come to repentance before it’s too late.

          And please check out this website. I think it may change your mind.
          http://www.whowillstand.net/

  4. Aaron Ginn July 17, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

    As an atheist, I oppose making abortion illegal but I do support making abortion safe, legal and rare.

    Having said that, a simple thought experiment will prove to any honest person that a fetus or an embryo is not equivalent to a human child. Imagine you are in a facility that stores human embryos for medical research. Suddenly, a fire breaks out and you are caught between two rooms one of which houses a suitcase full of human embryos and the other which contains a crying, terrified three year old child. You only have time to save one of these. Which one do you choose?

    • Brian Holland July 17, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

      Your thought experiment proves nothing. Just because I would choose to save the house full of toddlers doesn’t mean that preborn babies don’t feel pain. They clearly do. My question for you is would you ever ask a pregnant woman “how’s your fetus doing?” Do you think OBGYNS use that term with their patients?

      • Aaron Ginn July 17, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

        It proves that embryos are not equivalent to humans. I thought that was obvious.

        • Brian Holland July 17, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

          So are toddlers more human than newborns? Are newborns magically human once they come out the birth canal whereas they were fetuses immediately prior to that? And again you have not proven that it’s ok to kill a child in the womb, or “terminate the pregnancy” if you prefer…

          • Aaron Ginn July 17, 2015 at 11:16 pm #

            So are toddlers more human than newborns?

            Arguably, yes. The issue of when constitutes a human is much more difficult than the simplistic “fetuses are people” meme that evangelical Christians state.

            I find abortion repugnant, but outlawing it is no answer. You cannot dictate that a woman be forced to give birth to a child. Women are much more likely to die in childbirth than from an abortion and the life of a woman is more valuable than a fetus, IMO.

            I advocate any measures which will reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and hence, abortions including more comprehensive sex education for children and adolescents and access to birth control for anyone who wants it.

            • Brian Holland July 18, 2015 at 9:03 am #

              Aaron, you find abortion repugnant, but “outlawing it is no answer.” Why then do we have laws against murder? Should we legalize murder since some people will do it no matter what? Also I’d really like to see some statistics to back up your assertion that “women are much more likely to die in childbirth than from an abortion”?

              • Aaron Ginn July 21, 2015 at 11:00 am #

                For some reason, Denny chose to delete my comment which pointed to a scientific study that shows that woman are more than ten times more likely to die in childbirth than because of an abortive procedure. I guess it didn’t fit the narrative he’s trying to shape.

                • Brian Holland July 21, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

                  Aaron, I’m guessing he deleted it because it’s an assertion that’s not even worth responding to. I don’t know any women that have died in childbirth here in 21st century America, and I’d be willing to bet that no one else on here knows anyone, or even of anyone who’s met that fate. Those instances where a woman’s health is truly in jeopardy are extremely rare, but I also don’t know anyone who has a problem with abortion in such cases. We do know, on the other hand, that virtually all women (if not all) suffer irreparable physical, emotional and spiritual harm from abotion. Those wounds are only healed by coming to faith in Christ, and serious counseling.

                  • Aaron Ginn July 21, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

                    Brian, you asked for confirmation for my assertion and I provided it. Denny deleting it makes it appear that you challenged me and I was unable to respond with evidence in kind. It’s underhanded, IMO.

        • David Powell July 17, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

          That accomplishes nothing beyond showing what is more obviously, immediately a shock to us emotionally.

          • David Powell July 17, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

            No ontological bearing whatsoever.

        • Gus Nelson July 17, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

          No. You have constructed a no-win scenario in which any decision can be argued to be a “bad” moral decision. It is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

          • Aaron Ginn July 17, 2015 at 11:18 pm #

            Not really. The answer is quite simple. A toddler’s life is worth far more than a suitcase full of embryos. Any honest person will admit it.

            • David Powell July 18, 2015 at 8:56 am #

              That is not the conclusion of it at all, lol. Go take some philosophy.

            • David Powell July 18, 2015 at 10:31 am #

              If your family were burning alive in one room and fifty people you didn’t know we’re burning alive in another room, you would probably save your family. That does not objectively and ontologically mean that the value of your family exceeds that of fifty others, but that you subjectively value them more.

              • Aaron Ginn July 18, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

                Correct, but if you do not know the toddler any more than the embryos in the suitcase, you have no reason to save the toddler over a few dozen embryos if embryos are as human as the toddler.

                Assuming you choose to save the toddler, why do you choose to do so? From a utilitarian perspective it makes no sense to save one human life and allow several dozen others to perish. What would be you justification for doing so?

                • David Powell July 19, 2015 at 8:13 am #

                  Immediacy. I see that baby as he is. As a father of 3, my heart goes out to him. Just because I do not respond appropriately to the suitcase load does not say anything about the children inside it. It says something about me. Again, your dog is burning alive in one room. A person you don’t know is burning in another. A lot of people would go after their dog. Does that make the dog intrinsically more valuable?

                  • Aaron Ginn July 21, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

                    I’d argue that 95+% of people responding to your thought experiment would say a human is intrinsically more valuable than a dog just as I’d also argue that 95+% of people would argue that a toddler is intrinsically more valuable than a suitcase full of embryos.

    • Robert Scott July 20, 2015 at 10:50 am #

      Greetings Mr. Ginn.

      I appreciate thought experiments like this, but I think we actually have to back up a step before responding:

      Why am I (call me “Atheist Robert”) under any moral obligation to save one or the other? You seem to personally think it’s important, and I wish you luck in that endeavor. I do not share your viewpoint. Every man for himself, sir.

      • Aaron Ginn July 21, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

        You are under no obligation to do anything. I believe most people would select a toddler to save instead of a suitcase of embryos, including evangelical Christians, if they chose to save anyone other than themselves. The point of the thought experiment is to demonstrate that embryos and fetuses are not equivalent to humans. If one thinks that embryos or fetuses are of the same value as toddlers, it only makes sense to grab the suitcase.

  5. Brian Holland July 17, 2015 at 10:06 pm #

    Buddy, are you aware that PP still gives out a Margaret Sanger award each year? http://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/newsroom/ppfa-margaret-sanger-award-winners

    Also black babies are aborted at an alarmingly disproportionate rate compared to their percentage of the population, so I think her strategy has been very effective unfortunately.

  6. David Powell July 18, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    It is interesting to me how many people who were in an outrage a few weeks ago about the Confederate Flag’s racist origins are so quick to give Planned Parenthood a pass with its racist past, racist founder, and racist present.

    • James Stanton July 18, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

      David, I think this perhaps has more to do with PP’s supporters not caring about PP’s origins whereas the Confederate flag’s origins are relevant to both supporters and those who oppose its display.

      • David Powell July 19, 2015 at 8:15 am #

        It’s called selective outrage. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • Brian Holland July 18, 2015 at 11:41 pm #

      Man that is such a good point!

  7. Brett Cody July 18, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    Cecile Richards left off one major service Planned Parenthood provides…baby delivery. It turns the stomach to think of her audacity. This organization is cursed! May God wipe Planned Parenthood off the face of the planet!

  8. brian darby July 18, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    I was wondering why math, Chemistry, … text do not require hermeneutics, apologists etc.? I may be mistaken but I have yet to see a differing exegesis of addition.

  9. Michael Jefferson July 18, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

    I don’t think the potentiality of something to eventually become a person is grounds for that object to have rights. Simply because not creating persons is not wrong. If the value of a future person is so important, that would have to count as reason against the use of contraception as well as celibacy. And that framework does not make sense to me. And even if the fetus does have some value, I see that as being outweighed by the goods abortion of unwanted fetuses brings to persons.

    • David Powell July 19, 2015 at 8:18 am #

      You don’t actually believe that if you care about the future survival of the human race.

      • Michael Jefferson July 19, 2015 at 10:03 am #

        According to the Bible, celibacy is a perfectly fine if not better option. And enough people want to keep their fetuses that I can say that right now. And overpopulation is the problem, not underpopulation. So if you care about the future survival of the human race, you will support abortion because of the debilitating effects human overpopulation has on the environment.

        • Aaron Ginn July 21, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

          I’m certainly not David’s ally here, but there are better ways to address overpopulation – which IMO is not actually a problem – than abortion. Comprehensive sex education and access to effective birth control are much better solutions than abortion.

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