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Point of no return

August 14, 2015
Vicki Evans

To say that the graphic revelations of the past few weeks about Planned Parenthood selling fetal parts, organs and tissue have been disturbing, would be an understatement. Even to those familiar with its business operations, the callousness of what goes on behind the scenes was a shock. Thanks to the speed of the Internet, outrage swiftly spread through the general public, resulting in the federal and at least a dozen state governments opening hearings on the matter.

The abortion community, being of a shoot-the-messenger mentality, immediately attempted damage control by deflecting blame onto the investigative journalists who broke the story. And in what is now the American way, parties named in the videos rushed off to the courts for injunctive relief and to stifle other’s freedoms of speech and of the press.

For 42 years, few questions were asked about what happens to the millions of fetuses who are by-products of abortion. It is now clear why the public would rather not know. The post-abortive mother is rarely the person asking what will become of the fetal remains. She understandably prefers to walk away from the experience quickly and quietly.

To justify the grisly disposition of the baby, Planned Parenthood relies on an informed-consent defense. Realistically, the stack of legal documents presented to the woman for signature as she awaits surgery are frequently signed without understanding, under stress or even under duress. Consent may not always be free and informed, particularly when the consent form reads, “I agree to give my blood and/or tissue from the abortion as a gift to be used for education, research or treatment.” This would not automatically lead one to believe they were signing away the dismembered baby’s limbs, liver, heart, eyes, torso, brain.

What happens next will have a lot to say about what kind of a civilization we are. I see two choices. One is to be properly scandalized and then forget what we saw and move on. The other is to finally comprehend what abortion is and what it does to dehumanize and commodify very small human beings and to stop the madness. Of course, Planned Parenthood argues that abortion is legal, as is being compensated for fetal parts supplied for research. No harm, no foul.

But there is something in the human soul that recoils at the sight of these “legal” activities. Hopefully, all people of good will will attempt to put aside ideology this time and cast a vote in favor of our shared humanity.

Evans is Respect Life coordinator for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

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