In Defense of Live Action’s Goals

In Defense of Live Action’s Goals May 9, 2013

Having been instructed numerous times by defenders of Live Action’s tactics that I am a moron, or secretly pro-abortion, or just perversely hostile to Live Action for no sane reason, or “jealous” of them for some inscrutable reason that I am not jealous of all the other prolife apostolates and ministries, I now find myself in the curious position of defending Live Action.  Why?  Because as I have said multiple times, I want them to succeed.  My problem is not with their ends, which I heartily endorse, but with their means (namely, lying and tempting people to do grave evil), which are wrong.  However, when I say that I endorse their goals, I discover there are readers who think that there simply *is* no way to morally justify trying to expose what happens in clinics.  In brief, some of my readers don’t merely think the means (lying and tempting clinic workers to the grave sin of assenting to commit murder) are wrong.  They think the whole project of secretly recording the horrifying conversations with clinic employees is wrong.

I disagree.  Here’s why:


Fourth Video from Six-Month Undercover Investigation Reveals Illegal, Inhuman, and Gruesome Practices at Abortion Centers across the Country

Arlington, VA: Today, late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart is exposed, in the fourth Live Action Inhuman video, discussing the grisly details of the procedure and misleading a pregnant woman about dangers. The video also exposes Carhart’s bogus claims that “[a]ll the late abortions Carhart has done in Germantown have involved fetuses with anomalies[.]” He was perfectly willing to schedule a late-term abortion for a perfectly healthy pregnant woman and baby.

This is the fourth in a series of undercover videos, found at, involving the illegal and inhuman practices of late-term abortion centers, as well as describing in horrific detail what happens to the mother and baby in a late-term abortion.

Live Action President Lila Rose said, “Dr. Carhart’s testimony is shocking and sickening. He compares a baby in the womb to ‘meat’ in a ‘slow cooker.’ He jokes about his abortion toolkit, complete with ‘pickaxe’ and ‘drill bit.’ Finally, he outright lies when he claims that his patient, Jennifer Morbelli, died of complications in her pregnancy rather than from his abortion.”

When a Live Action investigator, who is 26 weeks pregnant, asks about what happens to the baby during the procedure, Dr. Carhart responds:

Dr. Carhart: It gets soft – like, mushy – so you push it through.

Woman: So what makes the baby “mushy”?

Dr. Carhart: The fact that it’s not alive for 2 or 3 days.

Woman: Oh. So I’ll have a dead baby in me?

Dr. Carhart: For 3 days, yeah… It’s like putting meat in a crock pot, okay? … It gets softer. It doesn’t get infected or–

Woman: OK, so the dead baby in me is like meat in a crock pot.

Dr. Carhart: Pretty much, yeah … in a slow cooker.

Dr. Carhart tells an undercover Live Action investigator who is 22 weeks pregnant:

We do a shot into the fetus to end the pregnancy the first day. … Well, if everything works right, you just deliver them and they come out fine. I mean, if for some reason that doesn’t happen, then we have to take them out in pieces…

A twenty-six-week pregnant Live Action investigator inquires what will happen in the case of complications:

Woman: But if we run into trouble … for some reason, I’m not able to deliver, you’ll be able to get it out in pieces.

Dr. Carhart: We’d take it out…

Woman: What do you use to break it up? Just–

Dr. Carhart: A whole bunch of–

Woman: You’ve got a toolkit.

Dr. Carhart: A pickaxe, a drill bit, yeah (laughs).

Carhart tells the Live Action investigator that one of his patients died of complications in the pregnancy rather than from the abortion:

We have had one woman die in the clinic, OK?… She was a lot farther along than you, but the coroner, it was reported to the coroner and everything, and they said, “yeah, she died again of complications with the pregnancy, but not from the abortion.” Everything from the abortion went fine.

It has since been confirmed that Jennifer Morbelli died due to complications in the abortion procedure performed by LeRoy Carhart.

“Our investigation reveals that the horrors of the abortion industry leaves devastated two victims: the mother and the child,” said Rose. “Our videos expose the truly gruesome, illegal, and inhuman practices going on inside many of America’s abortion centers. Unfortunately, this is just another day at the office for abortionists and their staff.”

Last week, Live Action released videos ( of a Bronx, NY abortion counselor describing how a born-alive baby would be placed in a jar of toxic “solution” to ensure death, a D.C. doctor who would leave a baby born alive after a botched abortion to die, and a Phoenix, AZ clinic worker who “would not resuscitate” should a baby be born alive after a failed abortion. The videos are part of Live Action’s six-month undercover investigation shedding light on the illegal and inhuman practices of numerous abortion centers throughout the country.

Rose is calling for Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Attorney’s office to investigate and prosecute those who admit they violate federal law. Rose also called on local health and law enforcement officials to investigate and put an end to gruesome practices that endanger women and children.

From the letter to General Holder: “[W]e have reasonable cause to consider LeRoy Carhart a grave threat to any woman or child to pass through his abortion facilities’ doors. … General Holder, as the United States’ foremost law enforcement officer, you have unparalleled resources at your disposal to protect the most vulnerable among us. I ask you to take the proper precautions as Attorney General to ensure that no one else is victimized by this man.”

I think this sort of thing requires broad daylight to be shined upon it, in precisely the spirit of Paul’s admonition to “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).  In a culture of media blackout on the horrors of a Kermit Gosnell, one of the vital functions of new media is to get the truth of what abortion really is to a public that has no clue.  And like it or not, we are a visual culture and a picture is worth a thousand words.  So seeing and hearing this kind of casually monstrous talk is important.

That’s why I propose, not that Live Action be shut down, but that they do their jobs better by adopting morally sound means to achieve their very good ends.  I want them to succeed very much.  The problem is, despite the deathless American faith that “getting your hands dirty” equals ruthless and brutal efficiency, the reality is that brutality and efficiency are typically opposites.  Here’s reality: Adopting immoral means does not speed up the process of arriving at good ends.  It just gets in the way, gums up the works, and slows everything down, often to a permanent stop.  So, for instance, I really want the viewer to get how evil it is that Carhart lies about the death of Ms. Morbelli without the viewer pausing to wonder “Maybe.  But since Live Action is lying to obtain this video, how do I know they aren’t also editing the video to make it look like Carhart is lying here?  That is, after all, what PP says they are doing.  So how do I know who’s lying here?”  The moral shortcut of lying and tempting people to agree to murder turns out to be a quick trip to a swamp of distrust and confusion that, in the end, only benefits the abortionist (Planned Parenthood turned the last Live Action campaign against them  into a very lucrative fund-raising tool since they could truthfully write letters to donors that Live Action was lying in obtaining the videos. When even LA defenders recognize that what they were doing was “lying” it’s hard to maintain trust with fence-sitters and easy to recruit them to donate to PP. When PP says “We’re not lying, they are!” and Live Action says, “As a matter of fact we are lying, but for a really good cause.  Trust us!”, it is insane to suppose people on the fence will buy Live Action’s word for it.

So, Live Action, pursue your good ends, but with the weapons of the Spirit, not the weapons of lies and temptation.  You don’t need those worldly weapons.  Throw them away and use morally healthy weapons instead.  You’ll achieve the same goals and do a better job getting there.

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