What the Horrifying Planned Parenthood Videos Really Reveal

What the Horrifying Planned Parenthood Videos Really Reveal July 30, 2015

Ross Douthat relates a grisly tale of a time a truck spilled aborted babies on the road (and the compulsion of urbane abortion supporter to Not See it) to the current story of the Center for Medical Progress’ exposure of the gruesome lunchtime chat of PP reps about the “crunchiness” of the babies they gaily slaughter:

It’s a very specific disgust, informed by reason and experience — the reasoning that notes that it’s precisely a fetus’s humanity that makes its organs valuable, and the experience of recognizing one’s own children, on the ultrasound monitor and after, as something more than just “products of conception” or tissue for the knife. That’s why Planned Parenthood’s apologists have fallen back on complaints about “deceptive editing” (though full videos were released in both cases), or else simply asked people to look away. And it’s why many of my colleagues in the press seem uncomfortable reporting on the actual content of the videos.

Indeed, what the videos do is confront us with both the humanity of the victims and the inhumanity of the butchers. And Planned Parenthood knows this. That’s why they are spending so much time on the twin strategy of talking about the “tone” of the people discussing this and then hurrying on to calling the Center for Medical Progress “deceptive”.

What chatter about “tone” means is “We regret that our reps got caught saying clearly and without euphemism what it is we actually do–which is crushing the skulls of children and then gutting them for parts. Our whole livelihood depends on not speaking clearly of these things and so we are royally pissed at these idiot employees for bringing into the light of day the truth of what we do. We are taking steps to make sure that plain English will never be used again.”

After this non-apology, Planned Parenthood and its fellow travelers then begin the real work of denial and disinformation, which is to get our minds and churning stomachs off the camel of ghastly inhumanity we have just swallowed and to focus our attention on the gnat of legality. To that end, the very first move is for PP to call in a draconian judge to play a bit of smashmouth and crush the free speech right of the Center for Medical Progress by ordering them to release no further videos.    I hope CMP tells the Court to go to hell and uses the interwebz to make the videos available from an off shore site a la Wikileaks, but we’ll see how that goes.  Meanwhile, as they attempt to silence CMP, PP offers grotesque arguments are made that crushing the skulls of babies and gutting them for parts is just like donating blood.  Coupled with this is the media blackout, which former PP member Camille Paglia has great fun shredding to bits.  Because the main goal is that we NOT SEE.

More than this, the focus becomes white hot on the fact that the videos, alas, do not in fact document what they purport to document: that PP is turning, or even trying to turn, a profit off of this grisly work.  On this point, it appears they are correct.

Here’s the deal: PP is not required to operate at a loss. They can recoup their costs for equipment, storage, transportation, etc. And, as even Abby Johnson has pointed out, that appears to be exactly what the videos actually show. Indeed, the only people pushing–and pushing hard–for PP to raise their prices are the CMP people themselves.  Some people have argued that the third video succeeds where the other two have failed in establishing a felony but, if so, I’m not seeing it.  Certainly, Stem Express is making a killing in more ways than one. (The most disturbing part of her story is this bit:

O’Donnell said she fainted the first time she was part of this process and was told by someone in the room, “some of us don’t ever get over it.”

But, again, apart from the horrifying nature of the monstrous work (all of which is legal in These United States) StemExpress appears to be a for profit company and not in violation of the law (though I could be wrong).  Meanwhile, it appears that there is still no evidence that PP is turning a profit off their monstrous work–which was the point of the video.

Result: if that analysis is accurate, then PP has grist for claiming these videos–especially when CMP is urging them to charge more–are an entrapment sting and that, yes, the makers of the video are being dishonest. So, with brazen chutzpah, Pelosi tells the Go Big or Go Home lie that there *is* no controversy about baby part trafficking. Elsewhere, PP pulls out some good old-fashioned smashmouth threats to media to not so much as air the videos.

Further result: Instead of distancing themselves from PP, Dems are already starting to use the videos in order to fundraise on behalf of themselves and PP with the perfectly predictable claim–verified by the makers of the videos themselves–that the makers of the videos are liars and, that the videos do not at all establish the commission of felony. Left unmentioned, of course, is what they do establish: the grisly inhumanity of PP reps calloused souls and the crushing and rending of human beings they commit so casually.

The good news is that some real damage has been done to PP–for the moment. A measure of their panic and desperation is the flat out naked lies Cecile Richards is telling, claiming that murderers and abortion clinic bombers are making the videos. They’ve also hired a crisis-management PR firm, another indication of panic.   Those who can stomach listening to this chatter cannot but be horrified. The bad news is that it is far from clear that the videos will have a good long-term effect. Congressional investigations will in all likelihood be emotionally satisfying political theatre for prolifers that will yield nothing in terms of actual punishment for PP for the very good reason that there is nothing illegal being documented here. Meanwhile, in the midst of the best political environment for defunding PP we’ve seen in years, the USCCB has called for defunding PP.  After the GOP performed its customary feat of stabbing prolifers in the back and refusing to act, it then began making noises about fast-tracking  a defunding bill. We’ll see.  Long experience has taught that talk without action is the GOP game plan.

And, on the downside, the alacrity with which PP and the Dems are turning lemons into lemonade and using the video to raise money for themselves–just as they did in 2011 when they generated $650,000 dollars in donations and a big fat atonement gift of $7.5 million from Susan G. Komen for the sin of chickening out under pressure–is worrying.  Likewise, MoveOn.org is thrilled and delighted at the fundraising opportunity handed them on a silver platter by geniuses who decided that hacking PP was a great idea.  The Obama administration, likewise, appears delighted by the opportunity to use the sledgehammer of the law to go after people who appear to be acting illegally.  Who could have predicted it? (By the way, a word about the prolife media’s horse race to provide reliably unreliable coverage of all this. Unfortunately, I have been burned so many times trusting the word of prolife media that I routinely have to verify their claims and headlines–another reason I think Lying for Jesus is such a corrosive and disastrous policy. So, for instance, we were breathlessly informed “Coca-Cola, Ford and Xerox: We No Longer Donate to Planned Parenthood Abortion Business” and likewise “American Express and American Cancer Society: We No Longer Donate to Planned Parenthood“. Both of these immediately got circulated around to me with notes to the effect of “So, Mr. Puritan! Still say that lying is always bad? Look at the awesome effect these videos are having!” Yeah. About that. Turns out these businesses either never funded PP or have not funded PP for years. Yet the headlines are worded in order to give the impression that they were eager contributors to PP till the videos came out. In short, there’s no There there. But this will continue to circulate like a bad penny–and provide more grist for the perfectly accurate PP charge that prolifers trade in lies and dishonesty. If PP are smart–and they are–they could easily parlay all this into yet another win for themselves as they did in 2011. I prefer that PP lose, not win. So I continue to urge prolife Catholics to fight with the weapons of the Spirit and not the weapons of this world. For my troubles, I am routinely charged with disloyalty and being a secret pro-abort. Whaddayagonnadoo?) Meanwhile, Fr. Robert Barron reflects on the death of God and the corresponding loss of human dignity on display in the recent videos of PP reps chatting casually over fava beans and a nice chianti of the crushing of baby skull and the gutting of children:

For the past two hundred years, atheists have been loudly asserting that the dismissal of God will lead to human liberation. I would strenuously argue precisely the contrary. Once the human being is untethered from God, he becomes, in very short order, an object among objects, and hence susceptible to the grossest manipulation by the powerful and self-interested. In the measure that people still speak of the irreducible dignity of the individual, they are, whether they know it or not, standing upon Biblical foundations. When those foundations are shaken—as they increasingly are today—a culture of death will follow just as surely as night follows day. If there is no God, then human beings are dispensable—so why not trade the organs of infants for a nice Lamborghini?

Ultimately, it is going to have to be here, and not on nine day wonder PR flaps that the battle must be fought. Revealing the horrors of an abortion culture and counting on turning stomachs to win only works if the majority of the culture is not innured to horrors. I see very little indication we are, as a culture, moving toward greater sensitivity to the suffering of the inconvenient. So I will not be terribly surprised if the footage that is currently making prolifers gasp in horror and pro-aborts squirm with discomfort is not used as grist for comedy in a year or two. Fallen man has an amazing capacity to numb himself to horrors he cannot  bring himself to oppose.  And 80% of Americans cannot bring themselves to oppose this.  20% are fanatically in favor or it and 60% dislike it, wish it would go away, and keep supporting it.

This kind does not come out but by prayer and fasting.  We need to get serious.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Joseph

    Agreed. But the last video has the PP rep *haggling* over the price of baby parts with the fanciful notion that it will earn her a Lamborghini. Entrapment or not, they’ve at least got her. They also had her *name* a price first. Pretty much what prostitution stings look like. That’s a slam dunk. You can’t deny that you have a PP rep here turning a profit for personal gain on the sale of body parts.
    .
    Everything else you said, I agree with. There is a total media blackout on this in Ireland… TOTAL! The government and their media mouthpiece are planning on pushing for completely legal and accessible abortion before next April. Most Irish are dubious about abortion, but like good little EU sheep they will go whichever way popular culture takes them. If this made the rounds here and they could see what they will be voting for, a referendum would be sure to fail. The media and the government know this… this story and the videos will not see the light of day here.

  • Dave G.

    The problem isn’t Planned Parenthood. The problem is a culture that desperately needs what Planned Parenthood is selling. And while it’s true that it is a cultural thing, it is a cultural thing. That is, those who defend Planned Parenthood and the culture that needs what it is selling, are just as guilty. And, to take it to the next level, those who celebrate and defend those who defend Planned Parenthood and the culture that needs what it is selling, are likewise culpable. Sometimes culture is a tough thing to be part of, which is why recently I’ve been rethinking some of the things I have traditionally enjoyed, promoted, or celebrated in our society.

  • Adolfo

    Thank you. Perfectly said.

  • prairiebunny

    You are probably right that nothing will come of the GOP effort to defund Planned Parenthood.You describe this as the GOP stabbing prolifers in the back.OK, so why do you never mention how the Catholic Church stabs prolifers in the back?Sure the Church pays lip service to being opposed to abortion but doesn’t seem to really mean it.This coming sunday late term abortion fan and PP supporter Nancy Pelosi will smilingly march up to communion for all to see and Cdl Wuerl will give it to her.If the Catholic Church were really serious about abortion why didn’t Pope Benedict send Cdl Burke or someone who thinks like Cdl Burke to Washington to shake things up instead of Wuerl?Didn’t want to cause a fuss?

    • jaybird1951

      Do you stalk Nancy Pelosi on Sundays to see if and from whom she receives communion?

      • That’s really not the point. The american Catholic churchs refusal to admonish this type of stuff is beyond scandalous. It’s right up there with the total blind eye and cowardly silence toward the millions of birth control users in the pew out of fear of scaring off donors.

        That our church spent decades refusing to preach the Truth above a whisper is no small reason for the place we are in as a cpuntry

        • Sue Korlan

          Generally, the bishops of the home dioceses of politicians are the ones responsible for where the politicians stand with the Church. If a politician’s bishop hasn’t publicly asked a politician to refrain from receiving the Eucharist, then the bishop responsible is probably still in dialogue with the politician and trying to bring him or her back to the fullness of the faith.

          • prairiebunny

            Haven’t the bishops been using that excuse for doing nothing since 1973? I don’t know but has any bishop used dialogue to turn any proabort catholic politician around?After 42 years of failure when are the bishops going to figure out that dialogue doesn’t work.

            • Sue Korlan

              It has occasionally worked on specific votes.

          • Look, I’m noone to say how a bishop should handle a specific case. However, whatever we have been trying in the Western world for the past several decades has not been working. So much so that it often seems scandalous.

            Paul is pretty specific in Corinthians about how to deal with someone in unrepentant, public sin. A public sin requires some kind of public admonishment. At some point how much more are you hurting the community than you are helping the individual

          • AquinasMan

            “Dialogue” doesn’t work. John the Baptist didn’t “dialogue” — it’s “repent” or else. Tough message, but that’s how it is. We’ve “pastored” the flock straight into hell.

  • Joseph

    Meh… it’s all about to be flushed down the memory hole. A judge in CA has just issued a restraining order barring the group that made the videos from releasing any more. So, if the subsequent ones were supposed to be more *damning* we’ll never know. Now, if I were this guy who led this undercover journalism stunt, I’d get out of town quick. He’s hit the government, the media, and the elite in general where it hurts the most… killing babies and selling off their body parts is their holy communion. They’re going to come after him probably with more zeal than Snowden. He’d better run. His operation has already been shut down by the powers that be. There’s no way he’s going to be allow to release the next few videos. YouTube won’t publish them either.
    .
    Looks like the PP website has been strategically hacked as well and they are calling it an attack by “extremists”. The axe is about to fall hard on pro-lifers now. Don’t touch their holy communion. Somehow I don’t think that a Nazi whistleblower would have lasted very long exposing what they were doing to Jews and Catholics.

    • This appears to be a SLAPP action which is going to provide further litigation.

      http://www.casp.net/california-anti-slapp-first-amendment-law-resources/statutes/

      • Joseph

        The restraining order is in effect until Aug 19. That buys PP and the government time to make sure they find some legal loophole to prevent the other videos from coming out. YouTube goes to the same *church* as PP. Abortion is just as much their sacrament. They won’t publish any future videos because they’ll make some dubious claim that it’s against their policy even if somehow this group wins. This will give the government and media a chance to totally ignore the issue and this group and most people won’t even know that the other videos were released. It’ll all just disappear. Look, be realistic here. Something like this isn’t going to defeat the all powerful elite. They will defend their holy communion of dismembered babies with all of their might. The government and the media are totally behind them.

        • You don’t know how YouTube works, do you?

          We win by wedging their coalition and encouraging fights between their many constituent components. So be of good cheer when wedge opportunities happen.

          Google (YouTube’s owner) endangers its business model every time they engage in political censorship. Google does not want to be part of a suit alleging they conspired with the government to illegally censor videos. It’s very costly for them. The dangers to Google are well illustrated by Reddit’s bleeding users to Voat.

          • Joseph

            I guess I don’t. I only recall that, in the past, they’ve taken down videos that don’t fit their political ideology for bogus reasons (many pro-life videos, in fact, from Priests For Life). Maybe they’ve loosened up a bit?

            • In the cases I’m familiar with, usually there’s a copyright assertion that leads to the takedown. Many of these takedowns are legitimate. Of the ones that are not, there’s a free speech coalition that rakes YouTube over the coals for them, embarrassing them, and giving sustenance to their competitors.

              Take a page from the gun rights guys and actually make them violate their rights. Just giving up to avoid unpleasantness is not how common law jurisdictions work.

              Update: I forgot to mention that the original scope of the TRO request seems to have been much broader. The judge narrowed it down significantly before issuing it. The judge still appears to have gotten it wrong because there’s no prior restraint analysis.

    • Lane

      The restraining order may be only for videos involving StemExpress and not Planned Parenthood.

      They have already released the 4th video.
      http://www.lifenews.com/2015/07/30/4th-video-catches-planned-parenthood-vp-discussing-how-to-break-the-law-to-sell-aborted-babies/

  • Lane

    It seems that Planned Parenthood’s site hack may not have really happened. It may just be a fund raising stunt planned by their PR firm.

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/07/30/planned-parenthood-hacking-sure-looks-like-an-orchestrated-pr-stunt/

    • Joseph

      Of course. That’s why I called the*hack* strategic. Why would pro-life groups hack their site when that would be completely unnecessary.

  • Lane

    The restraining order may be only for videos involving StemExpress and not Planned Parenthood.

    They have already released the 4th video:
    http://www.lifenews.com/2015/07/30/4th-video-catches-planned-parenthood-vp-discussing-how-to-break-the-law-to-sell-aborted-babies/

  • The Eh’theist

    A tiny correction: it was StemExpress who sought and received the injunction against the videos. Just like the person in the 3rd video was a StemExpress employee, not PP. Some pro-life folks seem to have such a fetish for PP that they can’t keep those facts straight.

    I’ve said there should be an immediate investigation into StemExpress since all of the evidence that seems closest to demonstrating illegal acts has their name on it. Then based on what is found, individual clinics could be investigated, and if evidence were found of PP’s complicity in any illegal actions performed by the clinics or StemExpress, PP could also be investigated. Follow the money where it leads.

    If there have been laws broken, it should be investigated and addressed. And discussion on how society wants to balance the competing issues of rights, research and regulations is a good thing if the information required for the discussion is available, and falsehoods from either side are clearly identified as such.

    • Joseph

      Hmm… interesting. It seems that it’s the right-leaning news sources that show that the restraining order was sought by StemExpress and not Planned Parenthood. The mainstream media (at least the sources I looked at) omitted this crucial information. Why? Perhaps they want to give the impression that this group is breaking the law by releasing more videos? Making them seem more sinister? Probably. Can’t put anything past them.

  • Once again Mark, you keep pointing out that PP is not profitting but that has nothing to do with the fact that they are selling. Put legal loopholes aside here. You say that PP doesn’t have to operate at a loss but giving something away is by definition operating at a loss. If you are being recouped, you are selling. Plain and simple.

    That is what has been exposed here and that is what needs to be addressed. If there is a loophole in that law, at a minimum it should be closed.

    If PP were forced to actually “donate” those parts, at their own expense, which is the only reasonable definition of donation, how much longer would they stay in that actual “charity” for “science sake”.

    Once the ability to “recoup losses” is gone, the incentive to donate tissue is gone, and thus the incentive to push aboetions, esp late term is diminished.

    Finally, what is this talk about not fighting abortion with weapons of the world. That sounds a lot like dualism to me. Are you seriously suggesting that when we encounter wrong being done, we not use any material means to stop it? Or is it inexplicably only in the case of abortion. I respect you Mark but you are dead wrong on this one. You’re so afraid of failing, you’re scared to jump into the offense

    • chezami

      No. It sounds like St. Paul, which is where I am getting the language from. Lying is not a material means.

      • Na

        Maybe we should call in a team of forensic accountants to get the bottom of this mystery. The wholesaler pays a fee for access to baby parts…what exactly is the argument.

        Where is this endless hand wring when it dems propose another “this will fix everything” welfare program…or even …Colberts latest “funny”. All I know is that “I can’t keep my plan” and Ocare is going to add lots of “dimes” to the deficit. When liberals do anything we are told to think holistically, when conservatives do anything we get lectures from Miss Manners.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          Fine, you don’t want to be treated like you’re better than the left, I’ll call on Mark to stop, especially since you admit all you know is what affects your material well being.

          And some people wonder how we can call politics in this country Moloch vs Mammon.

          • Na

            nope…just want church to be all things to all.

      • I’m not convinced they are lying about anything. Planned Parenthood is absolutely selling body parts, which is illegal. There is simply a not-so-loophole in the law that they are exposing that tries to say selling isn’t selling if you aren’t profiting. I apologize if I am being combative, but I don’t feel like you’ve addressed that.

        • Marthe Lépine

          But they were lying when they went and collected that information by claiming to be interested in acquiring body parts. Sure, they found the truth, but the way the went about it was through lying, and as Mark so often has to repeat it, you cannot use sin as a tool to fight sin, or the end does not justify the means.

          • Not rhetorical: Is that really sinful? Is it automatically sinful to be a spy? Or an undercover cop? Or an investigative reporter who goes undercover?

            • Joseph

              When I think about the happy reception of the investigative reporting of Dateline NBC and 60 Minutes in the 80s/90s, I tend to believe that those arguing it is immoral now would be in quite a pickle.

            • chezami

              No. But it is sinful to lie.

              • Mark, could you please expand? You said they were sinful for lying, , I said I don’t see how claims of selling body parts is a lie. Marthe said the lie was rather “when they went and collected that information by claiming to be interested in acquiring body parts. ”

                I asked honestly if that was sinful, and you are saying No? Could you please clarify on what the lie specifically is? Perhaps I’m being dense, but I’m really trying my hardest to understand what the problem here is.

                • chezami

                  The lie is in misrepresenting themselves by lying about their identity and purpose. Sts. Augustine, Thomas, and the Catechism all agree that lying is, by its very nature, sinful. I suspect St. Thomas would, as he does with the Hebrew midwives, commend CMP for seeking to serve God while noting that the lies were “non-meritorious”.

                  • Ok I can understand that perspective, but how come you answered “no” to the question of whether is it sinful to be an undercover cop? It seems like a distinction without a difference.

                    Police misrepresent who they are or flat out lie all the time to infiltrate criminal organizations. Are you saying that is always sinful? Or is it not because they are cops? Once again, serious inquiry, not trying to be combative for the sake of it.

                    • chezami

                      I answered no to zero in on the real issue. it’s true that undercover work often involves lying. But not always. The core issue is lying.

                    • If you are undercover, you are by definition lying. Lying is not a specific statement that can be proven untrue. It is deceiving someone into believing a falsehood.

                      If you are being logically consistent, any undercover work is sinful. I am not a theologian but I highly doubt this is the case.

                      If you can give or point me to an explanation of how a general situation being undercoverundercover it being a spy during war is morally distinguishable from this, I’m very open to changing my perspective. But I personally don’t feel like a compelling case has been made that these videos were made though sinful means.

  • brian

    “This kind does not come out but by prayer and fasting. We need to get serious.”

    INDEED!!!

  • J.J. Francesco

    Not without it’s merit, but I fear it’s more of the same self-fulfilling prophesy that has allowed us to let things get so bad. False dichotomies aside, I am seeing a worldview that essentially sets up the very outcomes that are so inevitable. Yes, these videos probably won’t result in much, but only because too many have resolved to themselves that we’ve essentially lost. That all we can do is sit on our hands and pray for God to fix the mess man created. I agree with one thing. We need to get serious. Sadly, it seems like more and more are just resolving to let the fire burn because one bucket of water won’t put it out.

    • Marthe Lépine

      I am sure it’s not what you mean, but what you seem to be saying is that praying is equivalent to sitting on our butts and doing nothing… I don’t think that the mess we are discussing can be fixed by any one or by any group of us now. After all, we are not God. However, discussing it, and demonstrating at PP’s doors, in the end is not really that effective. We need to take a serious look at the reasons why many people involved with PP assume that they are in some way helping women who are going through a crisis. We need to get more serious about fixing some of the situations that make it so difficult for women to accept a pregnancy, such, for example, as poverty, difficulty getting enough food to feed their children, difficulties getting work with a living wage and affordable day care for their children when they have to go to work, and all kinds of other social issues that directly affect women. PP is offering such women an easy way out. Of course there are crisis pregnancy services that manage to help a number of women, but they don’t reach all of those millions of women, and I wonder to what extent they also help women through all their other difficulties while their children are growing up. And Pope Benedict in Caritas & Veritate, as well as Pope Francis, are making it clear that private charity is not enough to bring social justice.

      • J.J. Francesco

        Praying alone can be equivalent to sitting around doing nothing. In other words, we can’t just sit around and do nothing else but pray and expect God to just fix everything. God uses people. We must pray always. But that doesn’t mean we don’t do anything because God will fix it. It’s sort of the old “God, please do something.” And God is like “I did. I made you.” Apart from God, we can do nothing. But God still chooses to use us.

        Social justice has been hijacked to include a government state. Government cannot eliminate poverty by passing out government aid. Time and time again, history shows that this hurts the poor. Every policy our government has done to help the poor has only made more people poor. I think passing the buck of abortion to this is part of what extends it.

        Abortion is the result of a culture that diminishes responsibility. Responsibility for having sex. And for accepting the consequences of your own choices. We just want to pass more government programs and pass the buck to them. Private charity would be enough if it weren’t precisely for the government intrusion. The very same party that claims to want to help the poor makes it illegal to feed the homeless. Some progressives.

        Abortion shouldn’t be held hostage to how much free money people get. We need to take a firm stand. Murder is not okay. If you can’t afford a child, don’t have sex. If we actually taught actual responsibility, the private charities would be able to help those who do still end up in such situations better. I actually think this social justice hijacking has increased abortion. It’s precisely those getting more government help who stay poor longer and thus have more need for abortion. Thus, putting this on not having enough government aid of the poor actually hurts the poor and the unborn.

        We need to pray. There’s no conflict there. But we also need to actively advance the cause of Christ. We need to make sure our laws tolerate no murder. We have to help the poor, not pass the buck to government. We have to fight for strong candidates and not just make our country a self fulfilling prophesy of perpetual inept leaders. I think the very policies advocated to “reduce the need for abortion by fighting poverty” has only increased poverty and abortion. And yet the same talking heads advocate the same failed policies and then proceed to discourage any meaningful effort at actually doing something else. Maybe it’s just an effort to reduce political opposition by encouraging everyone of differing mind to just pray and do nothing else. Who knows. All I know is that our country is plunging further away from God and all I see is real solutions stifled by those who want more of what got us here.

        • Joseph

          I’m not offering any suggestions here, at all, but it does seem a bit Protestant to just pray and not *do* anything. But I don’t think that it has as much to do with the *all we can do is pray* argument as much as it has to do with the *if I actually do something it will make my life more uncomfortable… so I’ll just sit and pray*. I’d say that most people would rather fall back on the *all we can do is pray* excuse because they realise how socially dangerous it would be to wade out into the waters of actually doing something so counter-cultural. Peer pressure, if you will. I’m guilty of it myself. I shy away from this kind of stuff on FB. If there’s one thing I can say about Mark Shea, at least he has the balls to put a name and a face to his stand, even if it’s from the comfort of his air conditioned home and his nice desk chair. He’s got a FB account, he’s got a blog, he speaks publicly. He’s obviously being careful here by trying to distance himself from the more unpopular versions of the pro-life movement but he is sticking his neck out. I’m too chicken to do that myself. If you’re not going to actually get involved physically, the least you can do is bravely face the hecklers in the peanut gallery. And I think he does that. He’s exposed whereas I keep my beliefs close to my chest to avoid anyone I know personally shouting “a fie upon your house”, alienating my wife and kids. God knows I’m surrounded by rabid “progressives” here. The mere mention of my opposition to abortion could destroy my family.

          • J.J. Francesco

            I agree halfly. Putting yourself out there online is good to a point. But if I find a blogger in error, them having out themselves out there only goes so far. Right now I feel the infighting among the faithful is the biggest help to the enemy.

        • Marthe Lépine

          So, as soon as one mentions social justice, you come back with objections to “helping the poor”… But, social justice is not “helping the poor”. It has more to do with measures that would provide jobs with living wages, control of the excesses of the market, giving back to workers the means to effectively negotiate their wages, affordable health care that would not be controlled by the insurance industry, and a host of other initiatives that would bring more justice to the population.

          • J.J. Francesco

            I have no problem with helping the poor. I’ve just found politicians who talk about social justice do the opposite. Those who try to use government to create an artificial living wage actually do the opposite. They take negotiating power away from workers. The push for free healthcare has taken healthcare from many. “Social justice” as a political talking point has actually produced results opposite to its claims. “Social justice” in theory should apply more to our duties rather than the proven inefficient arm of government. The best way to advance those causes you mentioned is precisely to get government out of it because the more they’ve gotten involved, the worse off those people have been. Interestingly enough, the same people who support abortion tend to also support the “social justice” legislation that keeps poor people poor. All connected I guess.

    • Joseph

      I often wonder how many German people were thinking the same thing when Jews in their neighborhoods were rounded up and carted off, never to be seen again. They were safe from it, they didn’t see what happened to those people. They knew what happened, but it didn’t have an immediate effect on them. Too easy to slip back into complacency when complacency is “safe”. I think that’s the problem. We know murder is wrong, we know abortion is murder, but we are too complacent to do anything about it so we end up arguing the “finer points” of where abortion providers may or may not be breaking the law.
      .
      Don’t look to me for solutions, I don’t have any myself. I think we live in an atheist society where killing the weak and defenseless is the norm. The Early Church had to live in a similar society. We can’t exactly start a war. But, I often wonder. If somewhere down the road abortion comes to be accepted for what it is, horrific murder of innocents (this I doubt as it seems it’s more *hip* to be atheist), will we be looked at like some people still look at the German people who stood by and did nothing while Jews and Catholics were systematically executed by the Nazis?

      • J.J. Francesco

        I definitely think that will happen. A culture that permits that cannot survive. Either we will change or we will perish. If too many ProLifers just want to sit around discouraging any active fight against abortion besides prayers, I’m leaving towards the latter. Not that prayer shouldn’t be our first tool in any war, but let’s not be like the fabled guy in the flood turning down all God’s help while waiting for God’s help. God works with us. We have to use a variety of approaches to ever win this fight. And certain people just seem to want to talk the ProLife game while seeking to undermine anything that’s actually active. It’s become sort of the citizen version of the GOP politician who does nothing.

        • Joseph

          Well, I disagree with using the tools of the devil (lying) to achieve goals. However, I often wonder, did Mark Shea and company object to it in the 80s and 90s when Dateline NBC and 60 Minutes used to do that same thing under the guise of “investigative reporting”? I don’t think they did object… at all. In fact, I would say that, in many cases, they were cheerleaders for the *gotcha” factor of investigative reporting. Though I disagree with the methods myself, what this pro-life group did was no different than what the mainstream media has been doing for a long time. If it wasn’t objectively wrong then, why is it now? Because of the content? Because of the organisation whose reputation and funding is being threatened as a result? I sense a great deal of hypocrisy.

  • I don’t think the main point is whether PP is technically “selling” baby body parts and hence doing something illegal. They have the legal means to wiggle out of that. I’m disappointed that CMP is focusing on this. The deeper question is: are they profiting from the butchery? It’s abundantly clear that they are. Even the ads of StemExpress and like companies stress that these transactions are going to be profitable to clinics. So a PP exec jokes about getting a Lamborghini off peddling babies’ bodies? This makes for great theater. But there’s not even that much of this in the videos. And is even this the main point?

    To me, the main thing to learn from the videos is that PP knows exactly what they are doing. The talk abundantly and freely about the nature and construction of the little human bodies they are destroying. They say “it’s a boy!” when they identify one. They discuss the “crunchiness” of different baby-crushing techniques. They talk about it as something completely unremarkable. All the while they continue to use their usual bland euphemisms for the public and their clients: “clumps of cells”; products of conception”. They won’t be able to hide behind them any more.

    The oddest thing is that PP execs appear to be much less comfortable talking about the money than about the baby-crushing. I believe, in spite of what some pro-lifers say, it’s not all about the money for many in PP. They feel they are doing what they do for altruistic motives, as Abby Johnson says. That’s why she and many others got involved with PP. They think they are helping women. I think that’s why they can numb themselves to the horrific realities of their work more easily than they can admit they might have mercenary motives. Baby-crushing can be a badge of honor if it’s something you have to go through for the “cause.” Talk about money and you’re no longer talking about a cause at all.

    Perhaps a deeper and more compassionate consideration of the real tragedy and real-self-deception of PP could lead to some interesting and useful discussions.

  • Willard

    If it’s really true that PP is not profiting from the sale of baby parts, this could turn out very bad for the pro-life movement. I can already see how Cecile Richards could come out and say, “fine, we don’t make money from this anyway so we’ll simply discard the “products of conception” if that’s what you want.” Then we’ll have endless media stories about how pro-lifers single-handedly prevented the cure for alzheimers, parkinson’s, etc.

    • Na

      why can’t pp just donate the body parts if they are so altruistic.

      more battered wife syndrome from “pro-life” catholics..except when you rationalize the husbands actions…he goes out and beats up the wife next door and you pat yourself on the back for being open and “forgiving”.

      • D.T. McCameron

        I’ve always advocated the “cast iron frying pan upside the face” approach to such situations, but that might be stretching the metaphor, and nobody listens anyhow.

  • LFM

    Eyes on the prize, people, eyes on the prize. The prize in this case isn’t the defunding of Planned Parenthood or the routing or demoralization of its supporters, or even a law banning abortion, desirable as all these might be.

    The prize is a decline in the abortion rate. There is already a 12% decline according to the latest statistics, though it’s not clear in the article I cite what dates that decline includes. (See http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33054896 ) The Guttmacher Institute said last year that abortion was at its lowest rate in the US since legalization. “The report, which took into account numbers of abortions reported by clinics and state health departments, found the US abortion rate fell to 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women in 2011, down from the 1981 peak of 29.3 per 1,000.” (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-26020222 ) Note: those are two different articles, both from the BBC website.

    Of course, Planned Parenthood says that this decline is the result of better contraception and better access to it. But other elements, like the rise of ultrasound screening, have probably helped to turn women against the practise. Is it not possible that tragic and horrifying news like this about the treatment of fetuses by Planned Parenthood could ultimately lead to a further decline in the abortion rate? Will there not be a few women, perhaps more than a few, who will turn away in horror and say to themselves, “No, I won’t do THAT to my unborn child, I’ll find some other solution to my crisis pregnancy”?

    • sez

      Another reason there is a decline in abortion rates is the increasing use of Plan B (the morning-after pill), which can be abortifacient. Gen-X tends to be more pro-life, but they don’t see Plan B or contraceptives as being abortifacient, so we really haven’t made much progress. Some STDs have gone from “high” to “rampant”.

      “Eyes on the prize” – agreed. But the prize isn’t a reduction in abortions, but an increase in people coming to the Lord. The reduction in abortion rates follows as a consequence of conversion.

  • Bryan

    And what about the testimony of Abby Johnson before the Texas Senate committee, where she stated her clinic charged $200 per specimen and their actual costs were only $5-10 in shipping and only if the biotech firm they partnered with didn’t come to the site themselves to collect? She estimated a pure profit of $120,000 per year based on the most conservative estimates possible. The video is right there for anyone to take a look, but of course, no one did.

  • Guest30

    Thank you for posting this article. Waiting for all the facts is the right thing to do. And it’s nice you allow comments. I posted 2 articles showing the defunding of planned parenthood would lead to MORE abortions, and reduce women’s health care on 2 other blogs. Both comments were removed.