Posts tagged ‘Fetus’

What Planned Parenthood Wants You To Believe About Sex

Planned Parenthood“Planned Parenthood.” “Selling.” “Aborted Baby Parts.” When a friend first texted me a link with these words in the URL, I knew I was in for a wild ride. The Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, released a video, recorded in 2014, of two of their operatives, posing as employees from a biotech firm, having a discussion over lunch with Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Research. The Center for Medical Progress claims the video blows the whistle on the trafficking of aborted baby organs. Planned Parenthood disputes these claims.  Eric Ferrero, Planned Parenthood’s Vice President of Communications, issued this statement:

In health care, patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, such as treatments and cures for serious diseases. Women at Planned Parenthood who have abortions are no different. At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does – with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards. There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood.  In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.

In the video, however, Ms. Nucatola seems to contradict Mr. Ferrero’s statement when she explains:

I think every provider has had patients who want to donate their tissue, and they absolutely want to accommodate them. They just want to do it in a way that is not perceived as, “This clinic is selling tissue, this clinic is making money off of this.” I know in the Planned Parenthood world they’re very, very sensitive to that. And before an affiliate is gonna do that, they need to, obviously, they’re not – some might do it for free – but they want to come to a number that doesn’t look like they’re making money …

I think for affiliates, at the end of the day, they’re a non-profit, they just don’t want to – they want to break even. And if they can do a little better than break even, and do so in a way that seems reasonable, they’re happy to do that.

Ms. Nucatola’s slippery language is striking. She never asserts that Planned Parenthood is not, as a matter of fact, making money off organs from abortions, she just says Planned Parenthood doesn’t want it to “look like they’re making money.” She even admits, “If they can do a little better than break even … they’re happy to do that.” In other words, Planned Parenthood does make money off selling organs from aborted babies according to Ms. Nucatola, they just don’t make a lot of money off it.

It sounds like Planned Parenthood may be gaming federal law. 42 U.S. Code § 289g–2 states:

It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce … [which] does not include reasonable payments associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue.

Selling fetal tissue for profit is illegal. Getting reimbursed for expenses associated with shipping and processing fetal tissue, however, is not. It seems as though Planned Parenthood will take any money they can claim as reasonable reimbursement for the costs of transporting and processing aborted organs, and if these monies are slightly more than what the actual costs are, so be it – as long as they’re not exorbitant enough to look like “profit.”

Planned Parenthood may not have gamed federal law as well as they thought, however. In the video, Ms. Nucatola links Planned Parenthood to an organization called StemExpress, a company that bills itself as providing “qualified research laboratories with human cells, fluids, blood and tissue products for the pursuit of disease protection and cure.” StemExpress also explains to potential allies that “by partnering with StemExpress, not only are you offering a way for your clients to participate in the unique opportunity to facilitate life-saving research, but you will also be contributing to the fiscal growth of your own clinic.” I’m not sure how “the fiscal growth of your own clinic” can be construed to be anything other than profit for your clinic. And considering the prices StemExpress charges for their fetal organs, if StemExpress does indeed share some portion of their proceeds with Planned Parenthood for the “fiscal growth” of their clinics, it seems awfully shady for them to claim they are not, at least indirectly, profiting, perhaps handsomely, off fetal tissue.

This is really bad. But it gets worse.

In the conversation, Ms. Nucatola also talks about intentional steps clinics will take during abortions to keep a baby’s organs in tact so they can be sold later:

You’re just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers, you try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact. And with the calvarium, in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex, because when it’s vertex presentation, you never have enough dilation at the beginning of the case, unless you have real, huge amount of dilation to deliver an intact calvarium. So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there’s dilation that happens as the case goes on, and often, the last, you can evacuate an intact calvarium at the end.

This is all deeply disturbing. What is allegedly happening is not only potentially illegal; it is profoundly immoral. In what world is it okay to turn a baby breech so you can smash its legs, kill it, and then harvest its organs for profit? Is there any conceivable scenario where this is okay? Have we decided that a baby, growing in its mother’s womb, is so devoid of any rights and is so unable to be considered life in any meaningful way that it can be stripped of its dignity limb by limb – literally?  This is self-evidentially morally repugnant.  And if you can’t see that, we no longer need to have a conversation about abortion.  We need to have a conversation about nihilism.

This is not to say Planned Parenthood doesn’t have its supporters, even if supporting the organization is a little untenable right now. Amanda Marcotte, writing for Slate Magazine, admits:

As someone who is squeamish, it was extremely difficult for me to listen to Nucatola talk about extracting liver, heart, and other parts to be donated to medical research. (I nearly fainted when a friend showed me the video of her knee operation once.) But people who work in medicine for a living do, in fact, become inured to the gore in a way that can seem strange to those of us who aren’t regularly exposed to it. She also thought she was speaking to people in her profession who would be similarly accustomed to this sort of thing.

Abortion is gross, no doubt about it. It becomes grosser the later in a pregnancy it gets. But so is heart surgery. So is childbirth, for that matter.

Behold, the fallacy of false equivalence. How one can equate the grossness of abortion to the grossness of heart surgery or birth is beyond me. Two of these things sustain life. One of these things, as more honest abortion supporters will admit, ends life. As any child who watches Sesame Street could tell you, “One of these things is not like the other.”

In researching for this blog, I went to Planned Parenthood’s website. I was greeted by a banner that said, “Worried? Had unprotected sex?” It is here that we find the real reason behind Planned Parenthood’s existence.  This organization exists to promote sex-on-demand, divorced from any of the entailments that come with it like, in this instance, children. Sex with whom you want, when you want, and how you want is Planned Parenthood’s holy grail.  And it is so sacred that they will kill for it – again, literally.

In other posts on this blog, I have painstakingly sought to not flippantly dismiss or diminish the desires and struggles people face when it comes to sexuality. I want to be as sensitive and empathetic as possible. These are, after all, confusing issues that deserve compassionate thought rather than self-righteous ire. But this is not about these issues.  In fact, this is not about individuals and abortion.  This is not about the woman who has suffered through the trauma of an abortion, though I grieve for you and, I am afraid, many times, with you.  This is not about the woman who went too far and is now pregnant and scared and is contemplating an abortion, though I would encourage you to seek guidance and help from people committed to alternatives to abortion.  You are in genuinely confusing and painful situations and have my concern, my compassion, and my prayers.  This is not about you.  This is about Planned Parenthood and their pack of twisted lies that unashamedly promotes the sacrifice of life for sex, which, I should point out, is the precise opposite of what sex is meant for and, by its very nature, is designed to do. Sex is not meant to take life. It’s meant to give it.  This is not about personal sexual confusion.  This is about an organization’s out and out corruption that has expressed itself again and again in the most macabre of ways – this time, in the sale of aborted organs.

At the risk of being offensive, I think it’s time for us to ask ourselves a few frank questions: Is indulging every sexual impulse in ways that transgress the sanctity of marriage and the security of family really our best strategy for intimacy?  Is this really the legacy we want to leave our children, our children’s children, and so on?  Is this really the evolutionary ethical curve we want to ride? Is it really beneficial for us to do what we want, when we want, and with whom we want and then use any means necessary to impede the entailments of our actions, even when impeding the entailments of our actions includes ending lives in utero? Is sexual self-control – even when it is difficult and involves some emotional pain – really that out of the question? Have we become that banal? Is Planned Parenthood’s view of human sexuality really the banner we want to wave and the worldview we want to adopt? And does it really take deceitful operatives from an anti-abortion organization secretly videotaping a conversation with Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Research, which itself presents us with a whole other set of legal and ethical difficulties, to get us to ask these questions? Shouldn’t we be thinking about the weighty ethical implications and aberrations of abortion even when there’s not a titillating video making its rounds on the Internet?

Ms. Marcotte was right about this much in her article for Slate:

This latest attack on Planned Parenthood is not just about abortion, but about demonizing an organization that makes sex safer and easier, while making it possible for women to plan when they have children.

This is exactly what Planned Parenthood is all about. They’re all about “safe sex,” which, if we’re honest, is just a euphemism for what Ms. Marcotte refers to next: “easy sex” – sex without responsibility, commitment, or offspring. So really, Planned Parenthood is about easy sex – even when easy sex involves dismembering babies and selling their organs. So let me ask:

Is the easy sex worth it?

July 20, 2015 at 5:15 am 6 comments

Beyond the Pale: What UK Hospitals Are Doing With Aborted Babies

Baby Hand 1Moral standards are moving targets.  Ask three people for their thoughts on a contentious moral or ethical issue and you’ll get four opinions.  But there are some things so unequivocally horrifying – so undeniably mortifying – that they command universal and reflexive shock, outrage, and revulsion.  Enter an exposé by London’s Telegraph newspaper on what’s heating some UK hospitals:

The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found.

Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning fetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat.

Last night the Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice which health minister Dr. Dan Poulter branded ‘totally unacceptable.’

At least 15,500 fetal remains were incinerated by 27 NHS trusts over the last two years alone …

One of the country’s leading hospitals, Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge, incinerated 797 babies below 13 weeks gestation at their own ‘waste to energy’ plant. The mothers were told the remains had been ‘cremated.’[1]

No matter how many times I read this article, it still makes me sick to my stomach.  And I’m not the only one who finds this story nauseating, as the comments posted under the story indicate.  One reader comments, “I think I am going to be sick.”  Another writes, “The horror of it … what has our country become folks?  This is just too much.”  And still another existentially inquires, “Dear God, what have we become?”

Though much could be written about this story – and, I would add, I hope much is written about this because this is a story that needs to be thoroughly vetted – I want to offer two initial observations about this terrible, tragic report.

First, it must be admitted that here is an unabashed display of human depravity at it most dreadful depths.  Just the thought of treating fetal remains so carelessly and callously should turn even the most hardened of stomachs.  In Western society, we pride ourselves on making moral progress.  We trumpet our advances on the frontier of human rights.  A story like this one should give us a gut check.  Moral progress is never far from moral regress.  Indeed, even secular theorists are beginning to realize that humanity is not on an ever-improving, ever-increasing moral arc.  Alan Dershowitz, one of the great secular thinkers of our time, admits as much in an interview with Albert Mohler when he says:

I think the 20th century is perhaps the most complicated, convoluted century in the history of the world perhaps because I lived in it, but it had the worst evil. Hitler’s evil and Stalin’s evil are unmatched in the magnitude in the world … On the other hand, it was the century in which we really ended discrimination based on race and based on gender. We made tremendous scientific progress … So I think the 20th century has really proved that progress doesn’t operate in a linear way … We don’t evolve morally, we don’t get better morally as time passes.[2]

Morally, we must be continually careful and endlessly vigilant.  We will never become so good that we are no longer bad.  To quote the caution of the apostle Paul:  “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12)!

The second observation I would offer on this story is that we are sadly deluded as a society if we decry the burning of fetuses on the one hand while supporting abortion on the other.  There is a reason incinerating fetuses to heat hospitals has raised so many moral hackles.  And it’s not because these fetuses are nothing more than “tissue.”  Indeed, I find it quite telling that The Telegraph refers to these fetuses as “remains.” A quick perusal of a dictionary will find that the noun “remains” refers to “dead bodies,” or “corpses.”  In other words, dead people.  This is not just aborted tissue.  These are aborted people.  Aborted babies.  But now these babies have passed.  And to treat the dead in such an undignified manner as these UK hospitals have is unconscionable.  The difference between the passing of these babies, however, and the passing of others who die in hospitals is that these babies have died intentionally at the hands of abortion doctors.

Yes, I am well aware of arguments for abortion that center on a woman’s right to do with her body as she pleases.  But if she can do with her body as she wishes, I’m not sure why a hospital can’t do with its procedural remains as it wants.  If it can throw away fluid drained from someone’s lungs in a biohazard bag, why can’t it burn a baby?  Yes, I am aware that some may accuse me of making a fallacious “slippery slope” argument and they would counter-argue that you don’t need to ban abortion to decry the burning of fetal remains.  But this counter-argument intimates that abortion is somehow a lesser evil than burning aborted corpses – an assumption I do not share.  Indeed, I think abortion is a great and deep evil – but not just because I believe it deliberately ends the life of a child, but because I hate what abortions do to the women who suffer through them.  Case in point:  a recent study in The British Journal of Psychiatry shows that women who undergo abortions have an 81 percent higher risk of subsequent mental health problems.[3]  Nevertheless, proponents of abortion could claim that one can support abortion without sliding all the way down the slope into the moral morass of these UK hospitals.  But I would point out that we already have, in fact, slid all the way down this slope.  The charred now non-remains of 15,500 babies testify to it.  So perhaps it’s time to repent and, by the grace of God, start scaling the slope – and not just halfway up the slope, but all the way off the slope.  Human depravity warns us that if we don’t, we’ll slide right back down again.

______________________

[1]  Sarah Knapton, “Aborted babies incinerated to heat UK hospitals,” The Telegraph (3.24.2014).

[2] Albert Mohler, “Moral Reasoning in a Secular Age: A Conversation with Professor Alan Dershowitz,” albertmohler.com.

[3] Priscilla K. Coleman, “Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995–2009,” The British Journal of Psychology 199 (2011), 182.

March 31, 2014 at 5:15 am 1 comment


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