It is not uncommon for human beings to miss what is right in front of their noses, but such glaring omissions take on a new level of significance when they concern the shameless and barefaced misdeeds of one of the largest healthcare franchises on the globe. The franchise of which I speak is, of course, Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood has always been a subject of ire for me. The fact that they are the largest single provider of abortions in the United States is reason enough for anyone with an appreciation for the dignity of human life to be skeptical. But suspicion of the largest women’s healthcare organization in the country has skyrocketed in recent weeks in response to a string of undercover videos made by The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) that show Planned Parenthood officials engaging in the illegal practice of selling body parts of aborted children.
This disclosure in and of itself should be enough to defund the organization. In 2013-14, they received $500 million in federal funds, accounting for more than 40 percent of their revenue. So far, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Hampshire have defunded Planned Parenthood, while a national push to defund Planned Parenthood on a federal level met defeat on the Senate floor earlier this August.
Many have argued that since no federal money can directly fund abortions, defunding Planned Parenthood would only make it much more difficult for women to obtain other essential medical care that Planned Parenthood provides. This care, according to Planned Parenthood, accounts for 97 percent of their services, while abortions make up only 3 percent.
An abortion is performed nearly every 90 seconds in a Planned Parenthood clinic, totaling over 327,650 abortions in 2014 alone. If this accounts for only 3 percent of their services then there is no doubt that they are a busy organization. What do they spend the rest of their time doing?
Well, plenty of things, but it appears that some fraction of their time is dedicated to illegal activity. Many Planned Parenthood supporters, however, dispute the notion that they are doing anything illegal. According to Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, money received by the organization during fetal tissue transactions is “intended to recover only their costs, as allowed under the federal law.”
So how do we respond to these discoveries? Do we argue about the legality of Planned Parenthood’s actions, as the media has been doing? Let me propose an alternative.
Whether or not Planned Parenthood is violating the current law of the land is a secondary issue. The question should not be about the law as it stands. If we limit this development to legality, we miss the point. The graphic nature of the videos and the blatant fact that very small, live human beings are being ripped apart and dissected for viable organs should be prompting us to ask much deeper questions, such as whether the atrocity of dismembering children and harvesting their organs (a practice often referred to in benign terms such as abortion and fetal tissue donation) ought to be permitted at all.
Perhaps Planned Parenthood is selling fetal tissue. Perhaps they are just donating it. Either way, the issue is not whether they are selling such tissue, but that they are brutally killing children and harvesting their organs in the first place.
I cannot help but think that this is the real intention of the Center for Medical Progress. Not to trap and expose Planned Parenthood’s evasion of the law, but to highlight the appalling practice that abortion truly is, and the cavalier attitude so many people have about it. The former is only being used as a vehicle to arrive at the latter.
We should defund Planned Parenthood for their fraud, yes, but we should also re-evaluate our morals as a nation, and consider whether abortion, apart from fraud, is something for which we want our society to be remembered.