Here’s a thought experiment. Watch the Planned Parenthood videos and see if you are not horrified

By Dave Andrusko

PPFA President Cecile Richards GARY CAMERON/REUTERS

PPFA President Cecile Richards GARY CAMERON/REUTERS

There are numerous ways to gauge how much trouble America’s largest abortion provider (that would be Planned Parenthood) is in. One instructive way is to put together a flat-out critique with a promotional editorial that advances the line that PPFA’s troubles are behind them (not that there ought to have been any to begin with).

Let’s take the latter first–from the Los Angeles Times–running under the headline “Planned Parenthood wisely moves on”.

The moving on refers to the letter PPFA President Cecile Richards sent to NIH in which Richards announced that, although her organization had done nothing, nothing, wrong, the affiliates harvesting fetal tissue (which includes whole body parts) would no longer be “taking reimbursement for donating fetal tissue to research programs,” as the Times put it.

So why, if PPFA (as Richards insists)”adheres to the highest legal, medical, and ethical standards” and is changing the policy “first and foremost” to “preserv[e] the ability of our patients to donate tissue,” why do even some of its admirers concede this is a setback? (For the answer to that, see below.)

Meanwhile back to the editorial. Even though PPFA is cleaner than Caesar’s wife and the ten undercover videos do not prove PPFA has done anything wrong, “[I]n light of the controversy stirred up by the videos, the decision to stop payments of any kind for fetal tissue takes away ammunition from critics who have been calling on the government to defund the organization.”

The editorial then plows through the familiar terrain–only a few PPFA clinics are harvesting baby body parts, abortion is just an itsy bitsy slice of Planned Parenthood’s business–and concludes triumphantly

Planned Parenthood’s decision to forgo recouping its costs from fetal tissue donation should defuse the ginned-up controversy over this organization’s work.

Of course, to state the obvious, to its bevy of supporters, including Hillary Clinton, there is nothing that PPFA ever does that deserves even a closer examination, let alone criticism. Planned Parenthood is figuratively and literally above criticism. Thus everything negative necessarily must be a “ginned-up controversy.”

Not to Prof. Charles C. Camosy.

The controversy stirred by the Center for Medical Progress videos is not exclusively–or even primarily–about how much money PPFA affiliates received when it “donates” the body parts of unborn babies. (PPFA also has an explanation for why officials in the videos clearly seem to be talking about changing the abortion “technique” in order to harvest intact organs, so a resolution on that question awaits another day.)

Camosy offers some of the many reasons NRLC has discussed for PPFA’s falling approval numbers. It starts with diminished credibility–once saying it did perform mammograms, now admitting it doesn’t and the whole abortion is only “3%” charade that even the Washington Post has seen through, to cite just two.

But the real reason for PPFA’s rising sea of troubles is, as Camosy writes, that “[E]ach new video released during the past several months seems to produce a new level of callousness on the part of Planned Parenthood employees.”

Absolutely true, which is why even nominal “pro-choicers” blanch when they see(or hear) PPFA officials and lab techs talk in such ghastly, dehumanizing language as they poke and prod the remains of babies whose lives they have just taken.

He quotes Notre Dame Law Professor O. Carter Snead. Let me offer a fuller quotation from a post that ran in NRL News Today:

Here’s a thought experiment. Watch the videos. Watch the Planned Parenthood affiliates and staff talk about harvesting hearts, livers, brains. Listen to them talk about how they “crush above or below” certain body parts to harvest viable organs. Listen to them talk about using a “less crunchy method” of abortion to get usable organs and tissue. Watch a former lab tech talk about how she once saw a colleague playfully tap an intact dead baby’s heart to make it beat. Watch them talking about cutting through the faces of babies. Listen to them exclaim “another boy” when they examine one child’s remains. Listen to them say, chuckling, how important it is to clearly label boxes of severed heads before you ship them, so the recipient can gird himself against the normal, human, minimally decent reaction to opening such a box. After watching, measure your own reaction. The horror and revulsion you feel. And then ask yourself, is it all ok because the people in the videos are doing it for free?

Camosy is spot on when he concludes that “the writing is on the wall” for Planned Parenthood:

Americans are slowly but surely waking up to a new reality: Planned Parenthood’s leadership is shady and dishonest, and the organization depends on the violence of abortion for revenue.