Badly Edited, Still Horrific

Badly Edited, Still Horrific July 17, 2015

The Washington Post is no friend of right-to-life groups. Read their story and then watch the video, if you can stomach it.

childHere is what nobody denies: an executive of Planned Parenthood calmly discusses crushing a baby during an abortion so she can salvage body parts while munching on her salad and sipping her wine. These body parts will be used later in medical research . . . and there may be a slight profit involved for the clinic (though that is being debated).

Nobody that is not utterly callous can watch this video and not flinch and so Planned Parenthood is engaged in the “Harriet Jacobs” defense: attack the errors, motives, and message of the unpleasant truth.

Harriet Jacobs was a brave woman who exposed the evils of slavery after her escape from bondage. Her book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is morally searing. After reading it as a young person, I lost all sympathy for the Southern cause . . . though I started with little enough. If you cannot defend the institution, one thing you can do is attack the way the message was delivered.

Jacobs’ story uses fictional names to cover for real people. She sentimentalizes the story and makes many of her characters morally one dimensional. If there is anything good to be said of some of her masters, she does not mention it. Jacobs is not being “fair” . . . she is writing from the horrors of authentic pain.

Slave owners knew how to object to such accounts. While Jacobs’ book came out during the start of the Civil War, such stories had been published before her own. It was easy for slavers to point out the errors, the fictionalizations, or the one-sided nature of the accounts.

What the slavers never understood was that the moral horror of the slave system could not be defended by picking at the fabric of an essentially true story. Were there good masters? Perhaps, but they still had the power to be “bad masters” and Jacobs showed how far that power went. As she hid in a garret, looking down on the world from a lonely ‘safe space,’ Jacobs saw things in a new way and told her story powerfully.

The errors mattered, I suppose, but the gist of her account was the ugly truth. If one master could not free slaves he promised to free because of a change in the law . . . and she fails to mention the fact. . . only a slaver will view that as of major ethical significance.

Planned Parenthood and the White House are missing the force of the video of an executive dealing in body parts. It is sickening and picking on the group involved is just the genetic fallacy. We can suppose the group is biased. Suppose they too are bad. It is Planned Parenthood that hires a doctor to harvest organs from babies that are being crushed.

Selling, or “donating,”  a human heart ripped from a “fetus” suggests that a fetus is a human. This is the reason that almost all Americans do not like abortion and think it is wrong. They may wish it legal, but there is a reason almost all politicians in both parties are either pro-life or pro-choice. Almost nobody is pro-abortion. Why? One ends up with candid interviews like the unedited video where a doctor chats up her client with a discussion of death over red wine.

I do not like the way the story was edited for release and I think the claims are sensationalized. This is bad, but has always been a tendency in advocacy (and one I hope this group avoids in the future). Many pro-life leaders such as Robbie George oppose the deception involved in “sting” operations on principle and I am sympathetic, though unpersuaded by such arguments.

One defense of Planned Parenthood is the “medical procedures” are always gross line. “After all,” we are told, “even live birth can sound gross to a layman.” And so it might, but nobody during a live birth ever crushes a head in order to get a liver: ever. I have been to four live births and one birth that ended in death . . . and the procedure was messy but life affirming. The doctors were “doing no harm” even when bad things happened.

One advantage of this defense is that it focusses on “science” as if “science” were being questioned. This allows the philosophically challenged defender to gain a sense of intellectual superiority while totally missing the point. Nobody disputes the science of abortion. Sane humans dispute the ethics of the act. It can be done, crushing heads and harvesting livers, but should it be done?

In normal (non-abortion) organ donation, the donor gives consent: an unborn child is not asked if her liver can be used for research. Leaving aside the humanity of the fetus, the donor in an abortion has not had the time to consider the decision the way regular organ donation is done.

Is the woman told that the procedure will change based on the body part that is desired? Is she told what her doctor will do to get the liver he desires?

Mawkish anti-slavery accounts were mocked in the South for their sentimentalization of freed slaves, womanhood, and liberty. Some abolitionists simplified stories in ways that pushed the borders of fiction for the sake of the noble cause of abolition. Pro-lifers have done the same at times . . . but forget the edited video. Watch the entire feed.

Watch and realize that whatever the merits of the men and women who gathered the video, they are filming a lunch to discuss harvesting the organs of an unborn child, performing an abortion in a manner to preserve those organs, and selling them. Is there a profit? Assume there is not. Some slavers argued they lost money in their benevolence toward their slaves. The horror was the cruel reality of slavery, the whipped backs, and the horror of this video is sipping the red wine while chatting up the ease with which one can crush a baby’s head to preserve her liver for research.



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