In the wake of the Center for Medical Progress’s first two sting videos against Planned Parenthood, pro-lifers have focused mostly on the barbarism of crushing and crunching, and on the fact that the very utility of fetal liver, hearts, lungs and heads for medical research proves the humanity of the unborn. Ross Douthat, for example, wrote in the New York Times: It’s a very specific disgust . . . a fetus’s humanity . . .
Though those points are well-taken, it seems that many of the public are inured to barbarism; and regarding the humanity of the unborn, pro-choicers have some answers that, if not quite convincing, are very strong.
However, there’s an ethical issue here in addition to the humanity of the unborn per se:
Even if the killing of a human is sometimes justifiable because of some valid need to get rid of that unborn human, we have now learned that in addition to that “benefit,” someone is getting a further benefit from the killing besides. Someone benefits from the organs of the unborn, whether Planned Parenthood makes a profit or not.
That benefit to someone inevitably becomes an additional incentive to kill, whether that incentive is small or big.
P.S.: To try for a broader perspective, though, perhaps no one said it better than a fooball player, Ben Watson of the New Orleans Saints:
As horrific as it is, the issue isn’t really the sale of human parts. It’s the legal practice that allows this to even be a possibility. Killing children and simply discarding the leftovers is not any more acceptable than profiting off of them.
Aug. 13, 2015 update: Now the Center for Medical Progress has released its sixth video, featuring, like an earlier video, Holly O’Donnell, a former employee of Stem Express, one of the middlemen who receive body parts from Planned Parenthood and sell them to researchers. In this video, O’Donnell says that some of PP’s patients at heart do not want to go through with the abortion. O’Donnell says that she would not pressure women to get abortions, and that if they did proceed, she would not pressure them to consent to the use of the child’s body parts if they were reluctant. But she says her Stem Express supervisors were unhappy with her about such lack of drive. She recalls that one time when she let a woman decide against abortion, a supervisor told her, “That was an opportunity you just missed.” O’Donnell continues, at 8:35,
Like, I’m not going to tell a girl to kill her baby so that I can get money. And that’s what this company does. Straight up, that’s what this company does.
Aug. 18, 2015 update: Above, when I first posted this, I wrote, “That benefit to someone inevitably becomes an additional incentive to kill, whether that incentive is small or big.” I didn’t speculate about what possible mechanisms might allow that incentive to take its eventual toll; I just assumed that since the incentive existed, some mechanisms would likely develop in response. Now a woman named Nancy Tanner has come forward with an account which certainly shows us one such possible mechanism; moreover, says Tanner, that mechanism actually came into play and caused her to have an abortion she would not otherwise have had –
Lawmakers recognized that the option to consent for fetal tissue donation was something that should only be offered AFTER the woman had already consented to have the abortion. They recognized that to tell a woman that is still “on the fence” about having an abortion that she would be doing something good for the advancement of medicine by donating her fetal tissue, is akin to providing her with a moral incentive to terminate her pregnancy.
Nancy claims she was given that incentive.
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Some future posts:
Evolution, and the Humanizing and Uplifting Effect on Society of a Commitment to the Unborn
A Trade-Off of a Sensitive Nature
Unborn Child-Protection Legislation, the Moral Health of Society, and the Role of the American Democratic Party
The Motivations of Aborting Parents
Why Remorse Comes too Late
The Kitchen-Ingredients Week-After Pill
Unwanted Babies and Overpopulation
The Woman as Slave?
Abortion and the Map of the World