Summarizing the Strongest Evidence That PP is Selling, Not Donating

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A friend of mine asked me this question, in response to the third Planned Parenthood video coming out:

I’m still not sure enough that PP is selling baby parts. Would you guys be willing to write a blog post about why you think they are? I think that would be helpful to your pro-choice readers too.

The way Planned Parenthood has attempted to defend themselves is by saying they are donating, not selling the baby parts, and that they are compensated for what it costs them to donate the baby parts. That’s an adequate response if the only thing you’re trying to explain is putting numbers like $75 for a “specimen.” They can say “that’s just us recouping our costs. We do not profit.”

The problem is that there are statements in each video that contradict this attempt to explain away the damning evidence Center for Medical Progress has provided. With each video, the evidence gets worse and worse.

How Much Longer?

Buyer: That 11.6 [week fetus] was pretty good. There was three or four samples we could have taken out of the 11.6.

Dr. Ginde (of Planned Parenthood): Excellent.

Buyer: If we were doing like $50 to $75 per specimen, that’d be like $200 to $300 [total], and we’d be comfortable with that. But like I said, stuff like this, I mean we don’t want to be like just a flat fee of like $200, and then, it’s like…[laughs]

Dr. Ginde: No, and you know the uh, I think that, I think a per item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.

I wonder how much longer pro-choice people will continue to try to claim Planned Parenthood doesn’t profit at all from selling baby parts.

Click here for more posts from us on the Planned Parenthood videos.

Why Even Thomson’s Violinist Condemns Planned Parenthood’s Selling Baby Parts

The silence from pro-choice people in response to the recent Planned Parenthood videos is deafening. In this post I explain why they should be furious with Planned Parenthood too.

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My dad Rich is currently receiving treatment for a type of cancer called Mantle Cell Lymphoma, so he needed to put together an advance directive for his health care. Much of the language for his particular advance directive comes from the language National Right to Life includes in their recommended “Will to Live” forms. He named my mom Lisa as his “Health Care Agent,” the person responsible for making decisions in the event that he is incapacitated in some way. If my mom also became incapacitated, that significant responsibility would then fall to Josh, and then to me. Naturally, we carefully read his advance directive and had conversations with him so we could better understand his wishes. (If you believe in God, please keep him in your prayers.)

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My parents, Rich and Lisa Brahm

The reason I mention this is that there was a requirement in the advance directive that stood out. In order for it to be legally valid, he had to sign it in the presence of two witnesses, and there are very specific guidelines for who those witnesses can be. In addition to needing to be of sound mind and at least 18 years old, a witness,

– Cannot be a person who was selected to be your health care agent or back-up health care agent;

– Cannot be a person who will knowingly inherit anything from you or otherwise knowingly gain a financial benefit from your death; or

– Cannot be a person who is directly involved in your health care.

This is a great rule, because it helps to protect the patient from others making decisions about his health care out of their own self-interest. Even though my dad named his wife as his health care agent and she could financially gain from his demise, he is not allowed to name her without the approval of two objective witnesses that do not gain.

While there is no way to perfectly protect the patient, I really appreciate this rule because it implicitly acknowledges the dangerous conflict of interest that can exist between a patient and his family. I want that danger to be acknowledged because I want my dad to be treated as an end, not merely as a means to an end. I want all human beings to be treated as ends, not as means to ends. [Tweet that]

That doesn’t mean humans can’t ever be useful to each other. It’s okay to ask your friend to be useful by helping you move; it’s not okay to treat him disrespectfully when he helps you. Treating humans as ends means treating them like they’re valuable in and of themselves, not based on what you can get out of them.

There is a very stark contrast between how careful we are to make sure a cancer patient is treated as an end and how Planned Parenthood treats the unborn.

There are two ways to justify the practice of abortion. The pro-choice person must either 1) Deny the personhood of the unborn, or 2) Argue that abortion is justified killing of human persons on the grounds of bodily autonomy, that a woman’s right to her body trumps the right to live of a human person inside her body. I have come to believe that one of the most common causes of confusion for pro-life advocates is a lack of understanding of bodily rights arguments, which are incredibly common and are the basis of much pro-choice rhetoric (for instance, “my body, my choice”).

I think the only way to defend Planned Parenthood’s selling of fetal organs is to deny that an unborn human in the second trimester is a moral subject, a person, someone who deserves to be treated as an end. In other words, they have to take the first of the two paths I described above; they cannot defend Planned Parenthood via the second path. But many pro-choice people are only comfortable with second trimester abortions because of bodily rights arguments (after all, the later in pregnancy it gets, the harder it gets to deny the personhood of the unborn). It seems like those pro-choice people ought to be coming out in droves condemning Planned Parenthood for selling baby parts, and it’s very puzzling to me that they aren’t.

Outrage, Disgust, and Grief are Proper Emotional Responses

Josh Brahm and I have been working on a blog post in response to the recent Planned Parenthood videos (we’re going to publish it on Monday).

Working on this piece has been unbelievably draining. I have never written something that has so deeply emotionally affected me before. The alternating grief over the children and anger at the people trying to cover this up has been a rough roller coaster of emotion.

People who know me well know that I can get animated but I tend to be very emotionally even-keel. It takes a lot to really upset me. When I get upset, I have an immediate impulse to take all of my opinions with a grain of salt because I feel like I’m not in control. I’ll tell Josh “my compass is broken right now,” meaning I don’t trust my intuition, just like I wouldn’t trust a compass that I thought might not be pointing north.

Yesterday I emotionally broke down, but for those few minutes my compass was pointing true north. I’m less emotional now, and I trust my compass less. Outrage, disgust, and grief are proper emotional responses. Being calm, cool, and collected is not remotely appropriate under the circumstances.

Disclaimer: Please don’t consider this permission to be a jerk. Let your passion motivate you to defend the dehumanized children, but without dehumanizing our opposition. Pray for them, don’t mistreat them. Be angry and do not sin (Psalms 4:4, Eph 4:26).

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Why Rhonda Changed Her Mind About Whether to Use the Word “Pro-Choice”

We’ve been talking about language in the abortion debate a lot lately. It’s a subject I’ve written on several times before as well. If we want to be as persuasive as possible, it’s not only our arguments that matter, but the words we use that matter as well.

It’s not always easy for a pro-life person to go from using the label they’ve always preferred to a different one though. When we talk to people we form habits, and getting out of habits is always difficult.

I want to tell you the brief story of a woman named Rhonda who decided to change one of the labels she used to favor.

My Reaction to the Planned Parenthood Video

I’ve been asked a lot about my reaction to the Planned Parenthood video that went viral:

I posted this on Facebook this morning. There’s a pretty healthy discussion going on in the comments if you want to read that.

I haven’t yet watched the 3-hours of unedited video from the Planned Parenthood sting, but my friend Christina has, and explains in her blog why the including of partial-birth abortion imagery is dishonest.

Christina’s post is persuasive to me. I strongly doubt that abortion practitioners are risking jail-time by performing partial-birth abortions. Instead, they’re most likely killing the child with a shot of Digoxin to the heart, and THEN dismembering the child and donating the organs to research. And yes, that is a blight on any country that allows it.

Whether or not PP is making a profit from this is yet to be seen. Hopefully a thorough congressional investigation will give us a clear yes or no to that very important question.

I think Planned Parenthood is an evil organization. It’s not just this. It’s not even just abortion. It’s layers and layers of evil. In the past they’ve seemed untouchable. Their own employees can come out and claim that PP is committing fraud with your tax dollars, and they skate by every time! That alone should be a sufficient reason to defund PP.

I would encourage you to keep talking about this, but to be careful. From what I’ve read about the unedited version of the video, let’s just say that I would have edited the short-version a lot differently.

We do not want to win debates with deception. We want to win with the truth. We want to win with careful, non-fallacious arguments. I believe those will be more persuasive to people in the long term.

ERI Training Director Timothy Brahm had this to say, which I also think is helpful:

I’m not a lawyer, and I haven’t yet watched the unedited footage. Take my opinions with the salt they deserve.

The short version is: I think even in their best case scenario [the video] looks bad for PP, and I highly doubt it’s a best case scenario.

If everything they said in their response is true, then they are 1) only selling baby parts at some locations, 2) they only sell baby parts with the baby’s mother’s full knowledge and consent, 3) PP doesn’t make profit from this, it’s just out of the goodness of their hearts to help with scientific research, 4) they never, ever, ever do an abortion procedure that’s remotely more dangerous for the baby’s mother in order to ensure they get baby parts to sell, 5) they never sell baby parts from one state to another, 6) everything else is completely legal.

A LOT comes down to 3. I’ll explain why.

At this point, I think 1 is plausible and 3 is extremely unlikely, based on the flyer CMP found. But if 3 is true, then 2 seems more plausible. They don’t have a strong motive to lie to women about it.

If 3 is false, I’m even more skeptical of 2. I don’t have any specific evidence that shows 2 to be false, but I have heard countless stories from post-abortive women about lies they were told from PP staff and abortion practitioners, plus lots of stories from former PP staff about them committing infanticide and all kinds of horrible things. Given that, I’m pretty confident that 2 is false and I really want them to be investigated thoroughly on this point, but I don’t have proof of that to give you.

If 3 is false, it makes 4 more suspect. If 3 is true, then almost surely 4 is true, because they definitely care about women not being injured in abortion. They might not care as much about that as they do about the financial gains, but that probably varies from person to person. Even the most cynical attitude towards the abortion industry would have to admit that it is in the practitioner’s best interest for the mother to not be injured.

5 and 6 are legal questions that I can’t comment on. I want them to be investigated. I don’t know if what they are doing is illegal, because it depends on what the law is. I think it should be illegal, but I’m more focused on the immorality and what it tells us about PP. I want the truth to be discovered, and if they’ve broken the law, I want them prosecuted to the fullest extent.

So 2 and 4 need investigation, and 5 and 6 need legal analysis.

Even if 1-6 are all true though, the callous way Dr. Nucatola talks about it is really unsettling, and the fact that they’ve kept this a secret is pretty suspicious.

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How Should Pro-Lifers Think About Post-Abortive Shame?

The way our society uses the word “shaming” is complicated. In this post I discuss three different types of shaming and how they relate to abortion.

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My views on this topic are the kind that if you only get a snippet of it out of context, there are many ways to misunderstand it. I don’t think my view is offensive, but my view improperly understood is definitely offensive several times over. It’s always good to read someone’s entire explanation instead of just part of it, but there are some topics where that’s more essential than others. This is one of the more essential cases. If you just want to skim, or you are not committed to trying to understand what my view actually is, then please don’t read this.