I spend my days working at the Respect Life Ministry in the Diocese of Dallas. I am surrounded by people who agree with the mission to protect the dignity of all human persons regardless of their age or stage of development. As encouraging as that can be, I know that the real debate is not sitting in the choir but rather out there, where so many people believe truth is relative to one’s perspective and embrace the attractive ideal of personal autonomy at all costs.
We haven’t really figured out how to talk to each other across this deep divide. Case in point: when we enjoy time with friends who don’t share our views, we often politely avoid the hard topics. It’s not because we don’t care. I think we just accept we disagree and don’t want to spoil a friendship.
Then something happens. Something breaks into the cultural zeitgeist to challenge the silence. This time it was the most recent Center for Medical Progress video, which contains footage of the National Abortion Federation convention. Generally, I don’t favor graphic images as they tend to shut down conversations rather than start them. But there is something powerful about videos that capture real people in the abortion industry really talking about abortion.
Much like the challenge to truly understand what happens to humans when we execute them for a crime, talking about abortion in unvarnished terms exposes a hidden brutality. The most recent video reveals professionals discussing the gruesome reality of abortion, stripping away the standard marketing euphemisms such as “terminating a pregnancy,” removing a “blob of tissue” or a “product of conception.” Instead, they challenge us with the truth: “Given that we actually see the fetus the same way, and given that we might actually both agree that there’s violence in here. . . . Let’s just give them all the violence, it’s a person, it’s killing, let’s just give them all that.” That’s the medical director of Planned Parenthood of Michigan.
The panels of abortion industry experts on the video discuss the challenges of removing legs and breaking small skulls, and laugh over surprising moments of their practice, like “when an eyeball just fell down …and that is gross!” These aren’t fringe elements. They are the industry leaders at a national conference.
In all fairness, it is undoubtedly common for medical conferences to include graphic descriptions of procedures that might make the average person queasy. But the ease over destroying an admittedly human person and the accompanying gallows humor are the most shocking in this video. It sounds more like a horror-film convention than professional symposium.
All that said, what does this really amount to? Do these videos really make a difference? It remains to be seen whether they prove Planned Parenthood or any other abortion provider has broken the law. But it does crystalize the real question at the foundation of all this debate. Are we really comfortable with this?
In a world where women who unexpectedly get pregnant have little support in their families, schools, and jobs, is this the best we can do? Is the answer really “We have no help for you, so your best option is to submit yourself and your child to the admitted ‘violence’ of an abortion”?
I hope and pray that’s not true. And I am incredibly grateful that I get to work every day to ward off the despair of that dark reality. I know the joy of the mother who is given all the options and support she needs, and the choice for life naturally follows. She shouldn’t be the exception to the rule. But it’s up to us to change the rules.