Pro-Lifers, We Still Have Our Work Cut Out For Us

Last year, I wrote about revelations from our English cousins across the pond that various hospitals on the island country had taken a central plot line from The Matrix a bit too close to heart, having harvesting the bodies of the post-abortive unborn for energy. I also remarked that, while the U.S. continues to do its own share of abortions–over a million per year–we hadn’t yet “traded Duracells for fetuses.”

Well, we’ve finally arrived, as it were.

To be fair, we aren’t burning the dead for the creature comforts of the living–copying the British too closely in that regard would just be gauchebut we are seemingly carving out our own morbid corner of the human destruction racket in profiting from the unborn’s organs, as suggested by Planned Parenthood’s senior medical director Dr. Deborah Nucatola in a video released today:

In the video Nucatola can be heard saying, “Every provider had patients who want to donate their tissue, and they absolutely want to accommodate them. They just want to do it in a way that is not perceived as ‘this clinic is selling tissue, this clinic is making money off of this.’”

She talks about pricing. “You know, I would throw a number out, and I would say it’s probably anywhere from $30 to $100 [per specimen] depending on the facility and what’s involved.”

During the inevitable spinmeistering from the Left after the video was released, there were plenty of arguments stating that the good doctor’s comments weren’t about actually selling the organs (or tissue, or inanimate biostuff, or whatever descriptor is hot today), but were really about transportation and/or “reimbursement” costs. But, as Ed Morrissey of Hot Air ably points out, an honest hearing leaves much to be desired of that particular bent:

“The context of the video was clearly not reimbursement for transportation of random tissue. Nucatola talks extensively about the demand for specific body parts in relation to price. “A lot of people want liver,” Nucatola states, and then explains how they train their staff to perform these abortions so that PP clinics can harvest organs to meet specific demand, and then make the sale. At one point, Nucatola even talks about body parts being on a “menu.”

Besides, if this was all business as usual, why does Nucatola discuss the strategic policies of the corporate office to have the affiliates front these sales?”

Indeed. But while much of the focus of these two stories centers on the grotesque material gain derived from these practices–be it a source of “batteries” or “bartering chips”–of greater import is what happens to us while seeking after these gains.

Namely, a burgeoning sense of cultural apathy. Anyone following most of the spin from the pro-choice side of the ledger today hasn’t been treated to general condemnation–or, excepting that, even middling squeamishness–towards the good doctor or Planned Parenthood. Instead, the reaction has largely been one of retreating into that comfortable refuge that so often characterizes the Left’s reaction on this topic; one that aptly demonstrates how cavalierly they treat the forcible extraction of a human being from the womb, piece by piece: language recalibration.

When something sensitive like dismemberment comes up, the first casualty in the discussion is necessarily the language. After all, when debating against someone who believes that life begins at conception, and therefore, believes abortion to be an act of violence–even barbarism–the last thing one does is cede that abortion ends a life. So, that life becomes–in what’s my favorite, weasel term of art–a “clump of cells.” Never mind the internal contradiction of logic that allows an organ to be harvested from a mere clump of cells. No matter. it’s just a non-thinking, non-breathing, non-living blob of mush.

It goes on from there. “Abortion” carries too baggage, but “women’s health,” in turn, sounds much more agreeable. Who could be against that? Never mind that “women’s health” is being ascribed to a procedure that has ensured that 27 million future women would never see the light of day. Sterility is key. Wreathe yourself in language rendered to be as impersonal as possible, and in so doing, those squaresville pro-lifers can’t possibly argue.

And that’s the difficulty: Not that pro-lifers stand on shaky, unlettered principles–we don’t–but that penetrating a worldview that doesn’t waver in inch at the brutishness and finality of this brand of death is vexing. How do you reach those so entrenched into their ideology that even the suggestion of selling a terminated unborn baby’s liver at profit doesn’t even elicit a batted eye?

A society can weather many things, but indifference is harder to shake off. Too many of us lack a healthy sense of propriety regarding free speech, free religion, free contract, free markets, or much of free-anything anymore. Respect for life may slowly be inching forward, but news like today’s is a frustrating thorn in the side of those of us without much to be optimistic about. If anything, it shows that we certainly have our work cut out for us, still.


About Michael Haugen

Michael Haugen is a full-spectrum conservative and recent graduate from Eastern Washington University (BS Biology). His main interests in politics and public policy center around health care, education and tax reform. He'll be returning to EWU in 2014 to complete a Master's degree in Public Administration. Follow him on Twitter: @HaugenTRA

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