After the release of two undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress showing Planned Parenthood executives haggling over selling organs from aborted babies, OB/GYN Jen Gunter is complaining about the term “baby parts.” Writing for The New Republic, she says it’s better to use the term “products of conception.” While she thinks that’s just an accurate medical term, it’s really just dehumanizing babies to prop up the abortion industry.
“These are not ‘baby parts,’” Gunter says. “Whether a woman has a miscarriage or an abortion, the tissue specimen is called ‘products of conception.’ In utero, i.e. during pregnancy, we use the term ‘embryo’ from fertilization to 10 weeks gestation and ‘fetus’ from 10 weeks to birth. The term baby is medically incorrect as it doesn’t apply until birth. Calling the tissue ‘baby parts’ is a calculated attempt to anthropomorphize an embryo or fetus. It is a false image—a 10-12 week fetus looks nothing like a term baby—and is medically incorrect.”
In response, The Federalist cofounder Sean Davis sent Gunter a tweet asking the logical question, “Are you not also a ‘product of conception,” Dr. Gunter? If so, why is your liver a ‘body part’ but a younger person’s isn’t?” His question got him blocked.
Gunter, ironically the author of “The Preemie Primer, a guide for parents of premature babies,” doesn’t want to have a dialogue. Why would she? She’s a medical doctor who—as she describes it—is used to cutting skin, sawing bones, and lifting the uterus out of the abdominal cavity and then putting it back in. No big deal. Doctors do that kind of thing all the time. They’re desensitized to things other people find upsetting.
So when it comes to abortion and harvesting organs, it’s nothing to get excited about. Just a blob of tissue. Just products of conception. She doesn’t mention crushing above and below, or using any crunching techniques, but she probably wouldn’t have a problem with that because, well, she’s a “medical professional,” and they’re used to that sort of thing.
Products of Conception Are Babies
Despite Gunter’s arrogant scolding, the fact of the matter is you can call something by any name you like, but it doesn’t change the fact of what it is. A human liver is a human liver. A human brain is a human brain. It doesn’t matter if it’s inside the uterus one minute (call it a fetus) or outside the next (presto, it’s a preemie baby); it’s still human.
But Gunter and the butchers at Planned Parenthood don’t want to use that term or any designation that will prick their darkened consciences. They don’t want to “anthropomorphize the fetus.” Of course, that makes perfect sense. If they were ever honest about the humanity they’re crushing, crunching, grinding, and dissecting, they’d be monsters. They’d be psychopaths. But they’re not psychopaths. They’re stable, normal human beings. To remain that way, they have to use terms like “products of conception.” They have to, in a word, dehumanize.
Other doctors have done the same. Physicians and scientists in Germany called the Jews by another name, stripping them of their humanity. They were labeled Untermenschen—subhumans. By dehumanizing the Jews, the German doctors could carry out all forms of atrocities with the same calm Gunter describes.
Dehumanization Is Necessary for Atrocities
The lead prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials began with this chilling statement that brings to mind the abortion industry today: “The defendants in this case are charged with murders, tortures, and other atrocities committed in the name of medical science. The victims of these crimes are numbered in the hundreds of thousands. . . . To their murderers, the wretched people were not individuals at all. They came in wholesale lots and were treated worse than animals.”
I’m sure the Nuremberg doctors would have approved of the term “products of conception.” In the name of science and research, they deprived the subhuman Jews of oxygen, infested them with malaria, exposed them to mustard gas, and made incisions in their subhuman flesh to simulate wounds. They even inserted pieces of broken glass or wood shavings into them, tying off blood vessels, and introducing bacteria to produce gangrene. All for the love of science.
The road to atrocity is paved with dehumanization. It’s necessary. It’s a normal part of all genocide, and it’s exploited and propagated by propaganda, by the use of seemingly harmless terms like products of conception. “All political and nationalist propaganda aims at only one thing,” Aldous Huxley wrote, “to persuade one set of people that another set of people are not really human and that it is therefore legitimate to rob, swindle, bully, and even murder them.”
It goes against our nature to kill a person like ourselves, so we have to dehumanize others to overcome the normal human aversion to murder. “Most people would hesitate to torture or kill a human being like themselves,” Huxley wrote. “But when that human being is spoken of as though he were not a human being . . . we lose our scruples.”
Babies Need Development, But It Doesn’t Mean They’re Not People
Gunter might want to stand behind the shield of science and say Planned Parenthood isn’t harvesting baby parts, but her words ring hollow. That’s because they’re mere words. The reality of what they represent is what matters. And what they represent is human life.
Don’t tell me that the life growing inside a woman is a mere product to be crushed, cut up, and sold to the highest bidder. I know what it’s like to feel my baby inside of me, to see through an ultrasound the tiny hands, the eyes, the soft curve of her head, the twitches of her mouth. My children were as much babies inside me as they were when they breathed their first breath of air. That’s because they’re human beings, from the moment of conception.
When I was about 12 weeks pregnant with my first child, I was walking down the aisle of a grocery store when blood began to flow, hot and fast down my legs. I hurried to the hospital, fearing the worst, and the doctor examined me. I was having a miscarriage. He said I’d have to have a D&C to remove the tissue. As I lay there with my hand on my abdomen, praying for my child to be alive, the doctor’s words sounded so calm, so cold. I didn’t even know how to respond.
“We should do an ultrasound first, just to be sure,” the doctor said as I stared at him, my chest tight with suffocating sadness. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even cry.
Slowly, they rolled me into the examining room and turned on the machines. They spread jelly on my stomach, and the ultrasound screen lit up with its grainy gray tones. I closed my eyes, not wanting to see. I’d been there before. Lost another child earlier that year. I’d seen my baby’s tiny body not moving, the heartbeat that had once been fast and steady, silent and still.
“I can’t believe it,” the nurse said. My eyes snapped open. There on the screen was my baby. His hands tucked under his chin, his head bent, his legs pulled up to his chest, and his little feet swishing back and forth. The sound of his heartbeat filled the room. A strong, steady swoosh. I grabbed my husband’s hand and wept, the grief giving way to joy. Together, we peered through that window into my baby’s gentle, quiet world, our hearts full of gratitude and humility. He was alive. No miscarriage. No loss. Only life. Human life. The memory of the love that filled me in that moment is a constant reminder of what it means to be human.
No doctor is going to tell me that my baby was just a product of conception, a non-human mass that can be chopped up simply because a majority of people in this country have chosen to dehumanize children in the name of science or convenience. Gunter and others at Planned Parenthood can play word games in their dehumanization scheme to avoid being monsters. But despite their self-deluded lies, they are monsters. In the end, the people they have dehumanized the most are themselves.