By Prof. O. Carter Snead
Today it was reported that Planned Parenthood will no longer accept reimbursement for the harvesting of tissue from the remains of the hundreds of thousands children it aborts each year (327,653 abortions in 2013 alone, bringing in $164 million in revenue). This is not altogether surprising, given the recent release of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials speaking callously about the “demand for livers,” the financial benefit of harvesting fully intact remains of unborn children, the techniques of “cutting through the face” to harvest intact brains, and the need to clearly label boxes shipped to companies containing completely intact unborn cadavers.
Planned Parenthood’s decision is clearly an effort at damage control — to preserve its carefully cultivated (and ferociously defended) image as merely a women’s health care organization. More immediately, it is an obvious effort to try to push back against arguments that neither the federal government nor individual states should provide taxpayer dollars to support this billion-dollar behemoth that provides more abortions than any entity in the world (recently referred to pejoratively as the “Wal-Mart of abortion” by another abortion provider).
But this feeble attempt to change the subject and repair the public relations damage misses the point. The false mask of Planned Parenthood is cracked, and the truth about who they are and what they do is undeniable. These videos showed that the business of Planned Parenthood is first and foremost the killing the kind of beings that have human hearts, human faces, human livers, and human brains.
Planned Parenthood is in the business of killing the kind of being that prompts even their own technician to exclaim “Another boy!” when examining his remains. That is, Planned Parenthood is in the business of killing human beings. And the videos illustrate that they do so with a callous indifference that shocks the conscience of reasonable people on all sides of the abortion question.
Nothing Planned Parenthood has done today will change its role as the world’s leading abortion provider. Nothing will alter the manner and extent to which its staff and affiliates callously pick through the remains of its unborn victims– just as the videos illustrated.
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?
At a bare minimum, Congress should immediately act to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding, and shift these monies to entities such as community health organizations, which offer more comprehensive healthcare, are more numerous and accessible, are less expensive-without providing abortions.
Editor’s note. Prof. Snead is the William P. and Hazel B. White Director, Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, and Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame.