When Skepchick Rebecca Watson wrote her viral post on the Planned Parenthood scandal (“Planned Parenthood is Not Selling Baby Parts, you F*** Idiots”), no one had to guess which side she was defending or what she thought of the pro-life crowd. The article is worth considering – not because she’s right, but because she is frustratingly wrong in both her facts and assumptions. As I respond to her arguments, I will be quoting the shortened blog version she posted on her website.
Planned Parenthood is in the news a lot these days thanks to a maliciously edited video making it look like they SELL BABY PARTS. It’s weird for those of us with two brain cells to rub together, that this is even a thing. Because first of all, obviously Planned Parenthood doesn’t sell BABY PARTS. ***** ******* ******, get a hold of yourselves. Baby parts!
First, the Center for Medical Progress released the uncut video along with the edited one. If CMP were trying to deceive, they would have kept the uncut video a secret. All anybody has to do is watch the whole video or read the transcript CMP provides on its website.
Second, in all the videos released so far, “fetal tissue” is described as livers, kidneys, lungs, brains – in other words, baby parts. One person in the clinic says while sorting through an aborted baby on a tray, “Here’s the heart. My fingers will smoosh it if I try to pick it up. The heart is right there… A lot of times I‘ll get a full torso, spine, kidneys. You could send the whole thing or pick that apart… It’s a baby.”
Third, while the Planned Parenthood officials spend plenty of time insisting they follow the protocols and standards and don’t do anything for profit, it’s during the unguarded moments that questions arise. Here is just a sample of what you will hear or see if you watch the videos or read the transcripts:
- “We don’t want to get called on…selling fetal parts across states.”
- “If you have someone in a really ‘anti’ state doing this for you, they’re probably going to get caught.”
- “I think a per item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.”
- “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.”
- They want to know what others are charging so they don’t get ‘lowballed.’
- The brochure CMP posted shows StemExpress (which has now cut ties with Planned Parenthood) trumpeting the lucrative nature of the financial partnership they offer.
- The latest video provides an extensive interview with a former StemExpress employee who offers a behind-the-scenes look that is even more grim.
Fetal tissue is being sold legally or illegally. This is not in question. What is in question is if the sale provides a legal reimbursement or an illegal profit (and if Planned Parenthood is altering the procedure, but we will get to that later). Considering the candid comments on the videos, there certainly seems to be a legitimate justification to open an investigation.
3% of all Planned Parenthood’s activities are abortions, and more than 90% of those are in the first trimester when it’s about size of a kidney bean, so they do see some pieces of fetal tissue. Which are just going to be thrown away in the garbage, but which the patient can instead choose to donate to important medical research.
First, if 3% of the time I ended the lives of children, would what I did the other 97% of the time matter? What happens during that 3% of the time matters. Also, for the sake of clarifying how important abortion is to the Planned Parenthood enterprise, the 3% accounts for around 25% of abortions in the United States, and 51% of Planned Parenthood’s income results from those abortions.
Second, if the unborn baby is human being, it doesn’t matter how big he or she is. The fetus at any stage is what a human being is at that stage of development, as is the case with people who have been born. Born people don’t lose their rights because they are small or gain rights because they get big. Neither should unborn people.
HOW DARE THEY! How dare Planned Parenthood allow women to aid in the research and treatment of conditions like H.I.V. and Parkinson’s disease, when instead those women could just be throwing that tissue in the garbage!
First, when organ donors die, their organs go to the medical community because they willing offered their organs in case of a tragedy. Everyone applauds their altruism. If a doctor ends the life of those organ donors without their permission and then gives their organs to the medical community, that’s an entirely different scenario. No one applauds.
Second, aborted babies are not necessary for lifesaving research. Adult stem cells are yielding phenomenal results, and nobody dies. Just because something good has at some point come from something terrible (for example, vaccines created using stem cell lines from aborted babies) is not a good reason to argue that something terrible should continue.
So yeah, there’s the fact that Planned Parenthood obviously isn’t “selling baby parts.” And then there’s the fact that the group releasing this video are some of the same people who worked for the group Live Action, which is best known for… editing together misleading videos attacking Planned Parenthood.
First, it’s obvious that they are receiving money for baby parts either legally through reimbursement or illegally through profitable payments or other benefits. The unanswered question is whether or not it is happening legally – and it appears that is not always the case.
Second, who CMP worked for in the past is irrelevant to what is captured in the videos. Even if their action with Live Action was underhanded (and I have no idea if it was or not), the debate should be about the current, unedited documentation to which we all have access.
So despite the fact that this is an obviously made up and ridiculous accusation, actual politicians are taking it seriously. If you live in the US, your tax dollars are now going toward Congressional Republicans calling for a formal investigation, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee has announced they’ll launch a probe. A probe for baby parts! Good luck, guys!
First, I am not aware that Planned Parenthood is denying that these ‘ridiculous’ conversations happened. They aren’t contesting the quotes or the activities that were ‘obviously made up.’ They are claiming the videos have been deceptively edited or that conversations are taken out of context. Viewers who watch the unedited versions can reach their own conclusion.
Second, the probe isn’t about baby parts. That would be a very short investigation considering they are right there in the footage. An investigation would deal with at least two legal questions: whether or not Planned Parenthood is profiting from the sales and whether or not they are altering abortion procedures for the sake of harvesting tissue.
This all reminds me of a course I took in college on heresy. I remember learning about how multiple times throughout human history, various groups of people have been accused of the very specific act of gathering together and hosting orgies, and then taking the resulting babies from any past orgies and burning them into ashes, which are then formed into cakes, which are then eaten. Usually it’s supposed to be the Jews doing this but plenty of other marginalized groups have been accused as well. And it always baffled me to think that people could really, truly believe that their fellow humans were doing something so obviously stupid and made up.
“Believe’ in this context suggests something along the lines of ‘making something up they want to be true.’ Yes, pro-lifers need to be careful not to engage in what one blogger called Planned Parenthood Derangement Syndrome. The act of abortion, not the legality or illegality of peripheral actions, is the only foundation needed for a strong moral objection. However, that pesky footage revealing potential illegalities remains. I don’t hope that Planned Parenthood’s enterprise is worse than I thought, but I am increasingly certain that it is.
Well, now it’s 2015 and an organization that is mostly responsible for making sure poor women have access to basic medical care including cancer screenings, checkups, and birth control, are accused of convincing women to abort their babies and then tearing them into parts and selling them on the black market.
First, the fact that they offer basic medical care does not justify killing babies.
Second, the claim about cancer screenings is misleading at best. According to their website, they “connect patients to resources to help them get vital biopsies, ultrasounds, and mammograms.” In other words, they don’t do those things for the patients. They send them to someone who does. The Federalist notes, “Planned Parenthood does not manage a single licensed mammography facility in the U.S. Not one. Of the 8,735 licensed mammography facilities in America, Planned Parenthood operates exactly zero.” They offer access to basic medical care, but not nearly as much as Community Health Centers, which help far more women and don’t do abortions.
And I realize, that if it helps you achieve your goals — whether they be persecuting people of a different faith or cutting funding for poor women’s health care …
Pro-lifers have biological, philosophical and religious arguments with which to defend the humanity and rights of the unborn. They don’t hate women or the poor, and neither does the Senate (the bill to defund Planned Parenthood wouldn’t have actually taken money away from women’s health. All federal funding would have been sent to federally qualified community health centers. The bill would have diverted funding, not cut it).
…it becomes surprisingly easy to believe something unbelievable.
Or increasingly hard to ignore a grim reality that has been brought into the light.
The article was originally posted at Empires and Mangers.