I don’t usually get political on here, but this is too much for a Facebook post.
On Facebook, I have managed to cultivate an open dialogue that rarely sinks to name calling, finger pointing, or out and out stupidity. From where I’m sitting, while many people wonder why I post about so many hot button issues, I find the conversation stimulating and welcome from all sides of the ideological spectrum (which despite our national crisis of two parties, is closer to how people actually feel).
If you’ve had an abortion (and I’m *not* asking you if you have), you probably don’t want to read this post. Not because I’m judging you. I’m not. Not because I’m going to put you down, call you names, or say the whole practice is immoral. Just. . . You will probably take what I’m about to write a lot harder.
And if you are one of millions of Americans who simply doesn’t want to know anything about abortions, you should stop reading it too. I realize that the messenger gets shot more often than not, especially in a culture where it’s easier to simply let Planned Parenthood’s press releases be the last word on the subject. I get it. It’s easier to simply place your trust into a political ideology than it is to look into something this difficult yourself.
*Another deep breath.*
Here’s a picture of an adorable baby.
For those of you still with me – and I’m probably just preaching to the choir here, but. . . Let’s start off with a bit of a review.
THE FIRST VIDEO
The Planned Parenthood videos started with a highly editorial piece that was the result of a series of hidden camera recordings from the very Pro-Life group, The Center for Medical Progress. Their reputation is somewhat dubious as they have a perceived agenda of simply trying to discredit Planned Parenthood, and the implied belief is that they will lie, cheat, and steal to make a point. With that in mind, the content of the video, which screamed of inappropriate behavior to those with a Pro-Life belief system, screamed of trick editing to the Pro-Choice side.
The video’s message was clear: Planned Parenthood is selling the organs of the fetuses they are aborting
And I’ve been told *my* choices of dinner conversation were inappropriate.
The second video was an almost three hour straight shot of Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical research, that was featured in the highly edited version. This gives fuller context, if not over-reaching context, to that dialogue. In that video, we learn that the procedure most commonly known as “partial birth abortions” are being practiced in order to obtain higher quality organs. While this procedure is illegal, the woman in the video makes the claim that they can interpret the law differently. By focusing in on four words from the law (“intent from the offset”), the doctor can simply say that they hadn’t originally planned to perform that procedure, that plans changed as the case progressed.
Now, for those of you who have stuck around and do not know, this is how a partial birth abortion is performed:
Full disclosure: This image *is* from a Pro-Life group. I would have used an actual photograph of the procedure, but while you can type virtually any kind of surgery into a Google search and come up with actual images of that, there are zero pictures of the procedure that aren’t drawings from a Pro-Life group. Read that how you will.
And here’s another cute baby as a pallet cleanser:
The fact of the matter is that partial birth abortions, particularly late term ones, are illegal, and if you were willing to sit through the three hour unedited conversation of three people eating and talking about – well, that picture you just saw – you’d hear a representative of Planned Parenthood state that they perform both.
MY INITIAL CONCERNS
The group starts putting out more videos. The promise is that they have nine videos total, and then they release sort of the extra features. The deleted scenes, if you will, with the extended conversations left uncut.
My two primary remaining reservations were as follows:
1. Based on the data seen here, it doesn’t seem like Planned Parenthood is actually making a profit off of these organs. It seems like they were simply recouping costs.
2. The women who were having the abortions done were certainly signing donor consent forms, right? I mean, yes, abortions are not an ideal option for anyone, but at least they were given the opportunity to do something positive. I mean, this is just like any other kind of tissue donation. They were giving permission.
DR. SAVITA GINDE
In the second video, the undercover actors talk to Dr. Savita Ginde, Rocky Mountains’ Vice President and Medical Director, who speaks to how to talk about the whole thing so that it sounds better in the public square. Whether it’s just organ collecting or a business venture or whatever, if you call it research, it will be more popularly perceived. In the conversation, Dr. Ginde says, “Because if we have someone in a really anti-state that’s going to be doing this for you [procuring and selling organs], they’re probably going to get caught.”
And then we are shown into one of Planned Parenthood’s research labs, where they demonstrate the quality of organs after a dismemberment abortion. I won’t be showing any images of that. Just note that the pictures are similar to the ones that you see on the Pro-Life signs that we all find so disturbing. This is where we learn why Dr. Ginde was being so particular about how to word things, and why doctors would be willing to help out even when they could “get caught.” It is here that we learn that the prices that are being offered for these parts are not simply to recoup costs.
Our first foray into the research lab and one of the few screenshots I felt comfortable sharing from there.
DR. MARY GATTE
In the next installment, Dr. Mary Gatte, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Medical Directors’ Council President, starts off by giving a bit of information regarding her own history with dealing in organ procurement when she was working in Los Angeles. She talks about how the doctors are compensated and clarifies that “patients don’t get anything, of course.”
This is one of my favorite videos when it comes to framing things. When the undercover woman clumsily asks how much is fair compensation for the tissue, Dr. Gatte dryly asks, “Well, how much are you used to paying?” Instead of taking the bait and then leading the conversation in terms of guessing at how much Planned Parenthood’s affiliates are willing to trade organs for, the undercover agent turns it back around.
“I don’t think so. What would make you happy?”
And that’s when the haggling begins. “I don’t want to low ball.” “You know in negotiations, the person who throws out the figure first is at a loss, right?” By the end of the conversation, Dr. Gatte is so excited about finding out what other doctors in California are making that she says, “I want a Lamborghini.”
This conversation could be about the value of any commodity. These organs are now being treated as commodities, and that is expressly against the law.
I wonder who picks up the check at the end of these things?
The fifth video is particularly hard to watch. Not only because you hear Melissa Farrell, the Director of Research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, refer to the harvested organs as “the product of conception,” but because you are shown these “products” in full, gory detail. Little legs and feet. Little arms and hands. Parts of head and torso. And the organs in question.
It is important to note that the while there is one segment when Farrel basically just agrees with the undercover filmmaker, there are plenty of examples in the footage where she says exactly what she believes on her own, without being led. What she says is that yes, they are making a profit. No, they don’t always need to obtain consent from the patient. And for some reason she can’t quite identify, the Texas branch of Planned Parenthood thinks all of this is illegal.
While the representatives of Planned Parenthood occasionally say they have qualms with altering the process, thus changing the way they care for their patients, they are quick to rationalize doing so in the same way they rationalize violating US law, by shrugging off the objection and saying the ends justify the means.
Planned Parenthood’s response to these videos has been weak and yet highly effective among it’s supporters. They don’t say these women are impostors that don’t represent them. They are, and it is too easily proven. Instead, they simply deny that they are engaged in the type of business that they have been caught on camera engaging in. And then they remind us all that they help out in so many other ways.
There is not honest conversation on this subject, because people don’t want to know the details of what actually happens when that difficult choice to abort is made. It was already labored over, so why make it worse? The so-called “product of conception” is scrubbed away, and the only people that are willing to show us the evidence are those on the completely opposite side of the ideological spectrum from those that are offering the procedure.
And then the question comes to when life begins. Conception? Birth? When the heart starts beating (about 3-4 weeks)? When the fetus is viable outside of the womb (20-35% at 23 weeks)?
I mean, I get it. We’re talking about Schrodinger’s cat here. While the cat is in the box, it could either be dead or alive, and until it comes out, it is both and neither. Just like how a fetus isn’t alive, isn’t a baby, until it is on the outside.
This is a difficult subject. It’s one that most people will never talk about outside of a group of people they know will agree with them, if even then. But like all of the difficult but important issues that our society must deal with (racism, sexism, guns, the ethical treatment of animals, global warming, etc etc etc), it’s time that we grow the @#$% up and start talking like civilized adults.