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June 26th, 2017

Insight

Better than a confession

Paul Greenberg

By Paul Greenberg

Published Oct. 28, 2015

 Better than a confession

It isn't a confession, not at all, just a change in policy. That's how Planned Parenthood explained its decision to stop selling the most marketable parts of the unborn children it aborts every year. Which raises the obvious question: If there was nothing wrong with what Planned Parenthood was doing, why did it stop doing it?

A widely circulated video shows one of the organization's top executives, Deborah Nucatola, sipping wine and munching on salad while she explains just how she positions her tiny victim so she can harvest the organs most in demand on the open market:

"So then you're just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers, you try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I'm not gonna crush that part, I'm going to basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact. And with the calvarium, in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it's not vertex, because when it's vertex presentation, you never have enough dilation at the beginning of the case, unless you have real, huge amount of dilation to deliver an intact calvarium."

To translate into plain English, calvarium is the technical term for the head, which needs to be severed intact if it is to bring the highest price on the open market.

Historical note: Back in the 19th century, when the debate over the theory of evolution was still in its early, if not prenatal stage, a distinguished scientist of the time, Sir Charles Bell, cited the human hand as an example of what we today call intelligent design. He wrote a book, "The Hand, Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments" (1834), in which he waxed rhapsodic about the hand's remarkable qualities -- mechanical, organic and aesthetic:

"The human hand is so beautifully formed, every effort of the will is answered so instantly, as if the hand itself were the seat of that will, that the very perfection of the instrument makes us insensible to its use."

To quote a latter-day neuroscientist named Frank R. Wilson: "We notice our hands (only) when we are washing them, when our fingernails need to be trimmed, or when little brown spots and wrinkles crop up and begin to annoy us."

But once the hand is severed from a fetus and displayed by itself on a small plate, like an hors d'oeuvre, it's bound to be noticed. And excite an instant reaction from those of us appalled by how Planned Parenthood has been marketing fetal body parts: "My G0D, what have we come to?"

That's why Planned Parenthood's change of policy is better than a confession; it's a realization that Planned Parenthood needs to change its ghastly ways. All of them. Out of sheer shame. Or is it still capable of shame?

To quote Ross Douthat in the New York Times, "the problem these videos create for Planned Parenthood isn't just a generalized queasiness at surgery and blood. It's a very specific disgust, informed by reason and experience -- the reasoning that notes that it's precisely a fetus' humanity that makes its organs valuable, and the experience of recognizing one's own children, on the ultrasound monitor and after, as something more than just 'products of conception' or tissue for the knife. That's why Planned Parenthood's apologists have fallen back on complaints about 'deceptive editing' (though full videos were released in both cases), or else simply asked people to look away. And it's why many of my colleagues in the press seem uncomfortable reporting on the actual content of the videos. Because dwelling on that content gets you uncomfortably close to ... that moment when you start pondering the possibility that an institution at the heart of respectable liberal society is dedicated to a practice that deserves to be called barbarism."

Here is the conclusion that those of us who value human life and a decent respect for it should come to after our first, visceral reaction to these videos:

Planned Parenthood should be defunded fully and promptly by any government -- local, state or federal -- that has been subsidizing it. Not a penny, not a mill, of our tax money should go to support such modern, mercantile and literally cutting-edge barbarity.

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Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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