The tenth video by the Center for Medical Progress doesn’t contain any jarring imagery of mangled infants or bloody petri dishes. But it may be one of the most damning yet.
Most of the video contains dialogue from Planned Parenthood officials, as well as other abortion professionals, discussing the various viscera of their industry. One person discusses which fetal body parts are in demand, casually (as we’ve seen often in these videos) over drinks. “They want eyes, they want cardial, they want neural,” she explains, meaning that clients desire infant eyes, hearts, and brains. Those are apparently “hot” items in her profession. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: The basic vocabulary of Planned Parenthood’s operations is indistinguishable from that of human trafficking. Even if you’re pro-choice, that fact alone should cause an instinct of suspicion.
But the most telling part of this video is not the apathy towards infant life. Rather, it is the eagerness and forethought that Planned Parenthood and its partners obviously put into not being exposed.
“This could destroy your company and us,” one Planned Parenthood official warns. She emphasizes how important it is to put intentional amounts of time and space between conversations about the price of fetal parts, so the exchange doesn’t look like a profit. “Everything we provide is fresh,” says a senior PP medical advisor about the infant organs, before adding, “Obviously we would have the potential for a huge P.R. issue for doing this.” Most telling of all, Deb VanDrehei, Planned Parenthood’s director of its Consortium of Abortion Providers, flatly says on camera that the reason Planned Parenthood doesn’t codify remuneration policies for organs is to prevent media investigation:
“If they do it, that’s fine. We’re not going to say no, but we want them to really think about the New York Times‘ headline,” VanDerhrei said. “It’s an issue you might imagine that we’re not comfortable talking about on email? And so we want to have the conversation in person.”
A conversation between VanDerhrei and Vanessa Russo, compliance program administrator for Planned Parenthood Keystone States, reveal some of the tensions between the national and local levels of the organization surrounding the lack of national policy on the organ-trafficking side of the organization.
Russo says that exchanging money for baby parts is “a valid exchange and that’s okay.” She goes on to explain that Planned Parenthood shouldn’t be “bullied by ridiculous laws and this media that doesn’t understand the big picture.” She vents some of her frustrations of the lack of national policy to VanDerhrei: “We shouldn’t participate in ridiculous social discussions,” she said. “We should participate in valid ones.”
VanDerhrei responds that no one at national is telling the clinics to stop, but rather to just be careful not to get caught by the media. After Planned Parenthood’s run in with the law 15 years ago, the organization is wary of drawing media attention to their organ-harvesting program.
And for the most part, they’ve still got their wish. The overwhelming majority of major media outlets in the country have used Planned Parenthood’s PR statements as the basis for editorials defending them. This is a human interest story that is bursting at the seams with legal fault lines, and still, there is little–and waning–interest in asking hard questions of anyone at Planned Parenthood.
If this whole story tells me anything, it’s this: We need more people of faith and conviction in journalism. There are plenty of conservative outlets that have given much attention to the Planned Parenthood investigation, and God bless them. They are doing a public service. But I’m afraid that a healthy counter-media culture isn’t enough. It’s not enough to build more separate, ideologically driven organizations that will reach the percentage of Americans that feel maligned and underrepresented by mainstream journalism. There has to be an influx of pro-life, convictional writers and editors whose talent for the job makes them successful enough to challenge this conspiracy of silence about abortion and human trafficking. Planned Parenthood encourages young women to have abortions so that the anatomy of their unborn children can be turned into cash, and they do so with impunity from hundreds of media outlets that have chosen to look the other way. This isn’t culture war. It’s a matter of life and death.
If you’re a young person reading this right now, especially if you’re under 20, let me encourage you. If you feel any sort of gift or calling to write about the world, and you have the integrity and drive to excel, please consider going to a secular university, getting training that publications will respect, and becoming a reporter and/or editor for a mainstream news organization. You probably won’t make a lot of money. You probably will be rejected or maybe even fired by more places than will give you a chance. But I honestly cannot think of an industry where you are more needed right now than in mainstream journalism. Go get trained, get hired, write, and shine a blazing light on these monsters.