Question: Would you be okay with a government-subsidized company performing vivisections on a baby panda? You know, cutting one of those adorable things open, taking parts out of them while their hearts were still beating? What if we could make a few bucks while, maybe, sorta, using those organs for scientific study—even though several other methods are available to researchers? Is that acceptable?
Obviously, I can only guess how people would answer that question. But after reading about how thrilled many Washingtonians were that National Zoo officials had spotted a fetus in the giant panda the very same day I watched a video about Planned Parenthood and how “cool” it is to see a human fetus’ heart pumping after his face was ripped open … well, the question just popped into my head.
But pro-abortion advocates never really have to defend the ethical or the moral limits of their positions, do they? It’s just a decision between a woman, her doctor, and her family. Period. Any coverage beyond that point is about political sparring and the inevitable conservative overreach. Science becomes malleable. Abortion is quickly conflated with contraception.
Question for the media: Do you believe there are two legitimate sides to the abortion debate? If so, should your theoretically unbiased editors and reporters be accepting awards from the best-funded and best-connected advocates for abortion in the country?
Planned Parenthood handed out its Maggie Awards for Media Excellence earlier this week (named after the xenophobe quackologist Margaret Sanger), honoring 16 journalists from mainstream outlets like Buzzfeed, Yahoo! Health and MSNBC, for their work shilling for the group. Color me skeptical, but does anyone believe a senior health editor who accepts this honor can be trusted to ask questions that matter about the groups she covers?
Question: Please describe what happens when a 20-week-old fetus is aborted? How many journalists or media figures weighing in on this topic could answer with any specificity?
Pro-choice media regularly employ euphemisms and rely on non-sequiturs about “women’s health,” but they never want to talk about the actual procedure—the thing that all this is all really about. Read this recent Dana Milbank column with the evergreen headline, “Conservatives double down on antiabortion extremism,” for a template. Though Milbank offers the customary framing—Republican nuts are overreaching again—he takes issue with a powerful Ross Douthat piece debunking the popular canard that abortionists reduce abortion rates. At one point, Milbank notes, “…halfway through his 1,973-word takedown, which included no fewer than three references to crushing fetuses…”
Hearing that unborn babies are crushed before having their organs harvested is quite off-putting. It’s also quite true. Hearing it three times in a nearly 2,000-word post probably gets really irritating. It must be especially disconcerting for liberal readers of major newspapers who rarely, if ever, are confronted with the straightforward description Douthat uses.
Milbank is put off by hearing about a dismembered fetus, but he is happy to concentrate on the fact that some Republicans, though they have not proposed any laws to deal with it, have a moral dilemma with “abortion in cases of rape, incest or even to save the life of the mother — non-starters all in American public opinion.” Fair enough. This is, admittedly, the trickiest pro-life position to defend. GOP candidates should have far more thoughtful answers to give voters.
Democrats, of course, are never asked to answer comparably tough queries about the parameters of their abortion support—also non-starters with the American public opinion. Hillary Clinton will get away with dropping broad banalities, as have all Planned Parenthood supporters. Yet, there are plenty of queries worth posing to them.
If a baby is outside the womb, with lungs, a beating heart, and a functioning brain, is it alive? And if it is, is killing that baby morally wrong?
If not, do you support the unlimited right of women to dismember viable fetuses whenever they want for whatever reason they like? If so, what is the limit? Before 20 weeks? Before 30 weeks? A week before the delivery date? Before the umbilical cord is removed? When does the child deserve protection?
(The position of most elected Democrats, incidentally, is never.)
Do you believe it’s moral for a Planned Parenthood technician to cut through the face of a healthy fetus in order to harvest his organs? If so, do you believe taxpayers should be funding this practice?
What is the moral difference between killing a viable fetus and a five-day old child?
Do you believe that people who think it’s “kinda cool” to stop and start the heart of an ex-utero human should be investigated for potential criminality?
If there is no ethical problem with vivisecting a fetus in the cause of science, what would you say if your son or daughter wanted to become an abortionist?
How does the idea of “women’s health” comport with cutting open a healthy fetus just so you can harvest and sell her organs?
What’s more offensive to you: the term “anchor babies,” or hearing Planned Parenthood’s senior director for medical services talk about dismembered babies as though they were a la carte menu items?
Better term for “anchor babies” is “babies.” Or, alternately, “tiny humans to be cherished and valued.”— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) August 19, 2015
The Center for Medical Progress has now released seven videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s business of selling aborted babies and their body parts. But it’s done much more. It’s exposed the inhumanity and vulgarity of the project. It is probably the most effective pro-life campaign since Roe v. Wade was decided. Yet, no major Democrat has had to seriously answer questions about the ethical consequences of what’s gone on.
“‘I want you to see something kinda cool,’” Holly O’Donnell, a former procurement technician at StemExpress, a California company that got aborted baby parts from Planned Parenthood, says her supervisor told her. “And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating. And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don’t know what to think.”
I imagine more Americans would know what to think if the media were more interested in covering an organization that treats human beings worse than people would a bear, or a lion. But the media don’t have much interest in the story or the questions. Which probably explains why so many reporters and editors walked home with Maggie Awards for Media Excellence last night.