Baby Parts for Sale?

Planned Parenthood speaks the truth about the humanity of the unborn

When Dr. Deborah Nucatola, medical director of Planned Parenthood, describes the process by which the organization preserves and removes organs and tissues in unborn children during abortions, it exposed Planned Parenthood’s false claims that its overriding concern is for women’s health. Even more importantly, it exposed the lies that are made to attempt to maintain support for abortion through denying the humanity of the unborn.

In the video, Dr. Nucatola admits that Planned Parenthood clinics alter procedures in order to extract the organs and tissues from unborn children. She says that they consider this in deciding where to grab and crush the child with forceps, and even in manipulating the child to change its “presentation” (breech or feet-first) in order to preserve body parts intact. Whether or not the latter activity violates the law against partial-birth abortion, as some have suggested, it is unethical and gives the lie to Planned Parenthood’s claim that its first priority is to protect women’s health. In the medical field, one does not alter standard medical procedure in order to preserve the possibility of harvesting body parts if the patient dies. This elevation of organ harvesting over women’s safety is directly in line with their fight to prevent abortion clinics from meeting surgical safety standards.

Whether or not Planned Parenthood’s activities are illegal—a full investigation should occur to determine this. But they are incredibly troubling nevertheless and it is difficult to see how this practice is not illegal. Nucatola casually describes killing a human being and stripping it—that dehumanized object—of its parts, and she described this all while she was enjoying a fine meal, with wine, like a civilized human. She nonchalantly talks about how one can “crush” a head being while preserving his or her organs.

But what type of heart, lungs, and liver is she talking about? The answer is indisputable. Human body parts  belong to a human being. The very activity in which she is engaged points to the fundamental humanity of the child that is being killed. Why does this “glob of tissue” have a human heart? Why does this non-person have a brain? In seeing value in these human body parts, Planned Parenthood is implicitly recognizing the humanity of the child whom they are treating in such an inhumane way.

Planned Parenthood has always used  euphemisms to maintain public support for unregulated abortion.  They refer to  the unborn child as a “glob of cells” or the Latin term “fetus”.  They invoke decades-old science on fetal development to preserve outdated notions of viability, pain and development. They fight hard to prevent mothers from seeing an image of their child in the womb so they can preserve this misconception. Their strategy is preserving ignorance in order to dehumanize the unborn child.

In Planned Parenthood’s video, the euphemisms and rhetoric fall away. Dr. Nucatola knows that these children are human beings.  Despite her euphemisms, she must  talk about lungs, livers, and hearts. and  stripping body parts from unborn child as callously as she would talk about stripping parts from a car.

How clearly her words suddenly invoke images that these unborn children are human beings. Refusing to acknowledge that unborn children are human beings is critical to denying them personhood which has been used to exploit and kill the weak and vulnerable throughout history and today.

For everyone who felt revulsion watching Nucatola describe this grisly process, there is a need to reflect upon why it is so horrifying. And there is a need to think about how it should translate into policy. Right now, the country is considering the 20-week abortion ban – whether or not to ban abortion 22 weeks after conception (or after a woman has carried the child for almost 6 months).

Should we protect these children with their lungs, hearts, livers, and brains? Does their development not point to their fundamental humanity? Should this admission by Planned Parenthood not point us in the direction of protecting these children?

Even those who favor abortion at an early stage should be able to admit that the line between viable unborn children with hearts, livers, and lungs and those who have just taken their first breathe outside the womb is artificial and has no bearing on the humanity of the child.

And, if we can at least agree that viable children should not be subject to being “crushed”, as Nucatola so clearly describes it, then Democrats and Republicans should come together to pass a 22-week ban and protect these children in the womb and provide more support to the pregnant women. Now is the time to recognize the humanity of the unborn and give both mother and child protection under the law.