Many across America were shocked and revolted when investigative journalists with the Center for Medical Progress released the first in a series of videos featuring Planned Parenthood executives and employees describing how they sell aborted baby body parts. These journalists plan to release around a dozen subsequent undercover videos, and so far each video has been increasingly disturbing and horrific. They show the callousness of Planned Parenthood—and America—to the taking of a child’s life by a federally and state-funded organization.
Debate rages about the legality of Planned Parenthood’s actions, but what’s ultimately significant is that these films highlight the depravity among abortion providers. The first film features Dr. Deborah Nucatola, who has been with Planned Parenthood for over 10 years and acts as senior director of medical services, casually explaining over wine and lunch how to “crush above” or “crush below” parts of an unborn baby’s body, or even how to adjust the baby’s presentation prior to the abortion procedure, in order to harvest intact organs. In the second video, Dr. Mary Gatter, a former medical director for Planned Parenthood who now oversees a clinic in Pasadena, CA, haggles with the undercover journalists over the cost per specimen to avoid a “lowball” offer. She says that, in order to obtain intact organs, the doctors will have to use a “less crunchy” method of aborting the babies.
The gut-wrenching moments continue in the other films as viewers witness one medical professional picking apart an aborted baby—a so-called clump of tissue—and exclaiming ironically, “And another boy!” Another employee, when asked whether there are any “fresh specimens” (read, aborted babies) to see, laughs like it’s a joke and says, “We had a really long day and they’re all mixed up together in a bag.” And in what was probably the most sickening moment of the videos to date, Dr. Savita Ginde, vice president and medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, admits that the clinic performs after-birth abortions: “Sometimes, if we get, if someone delivers before we are able to see them for a[n abortion] procedure, then we are intact.” These intact bodies can then be carved up and sold as individual line items to increase profit.
Commenting on these eye-opening videos, retired obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell says,
One of the joys and awesome responsibilities of practicing medicine for me was the knowledge that I ordinarily had two living human beings entrusted to my care. The thought of dismembering and dissecting one of them to harvest his or her body parts is revolting. How can a physician join a daily ‘huddle,’ as one of the videos described, to plan how each unborn baby should be carved up? Once a doctor crosses the line of accepting as routine the willful destruction of an unborn human being, that doctor has abdicated his or her responsibility to one of those patients and chosen to view the baby’s life as irrelevant. It is a slippery slope from the rampant murder legalized by Roe v. Wade to premeditated butchery of the helpless. The fact that these babies are still attached to or hidden within their mothers’ bodies when their butchery begins currently robs them of their legal rights in this country, but it doesn’t rob them of their humanity and the protection they should have from their mothers and their doctors and a vocal American public.
Not Just a Clump of Tissue
These nauseating and heartless videos highlight something that the pro-life community has been saying for years—abortion murders a baby. By harvesting and selling organs, tissues, or even whole bodies of aborted babies for research about human beings, Planned Parenthood officials are acknowledging the humanness of the babies that they are killing. The graphic images and gruesome details seen and heard in these videos of what the process of abortion is really like only emphasize this truth. Abortion advocates claim that an unborn baby is just a “clump of cells” or a “blob of tissue.” That the baby is just an extension of the mother and therefore it’s a woman’s right to decide what to do with her body. But what these videos show is that an unborn fetus is anything but a clump of cells, a blob of tissue, or an extension of the mother. An unborn baby is a living person with organs and tissue just like anyone else—organs and tissues that are valued by those purchasing them because they belonged to human beings. These body parts being harvested from these fetuses come from unborn babies with hearts, lungs, and tiny pairs of kidneys. These are real people being slaughtered in the womb, not unwanted clumps of tissue being removed as Planned Parenthood would have people believe. Abortion isn’t about a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body because it’s not really her body that’s in question here—it’s about the life of the unborn child growing within her!
Where’s the Outrage?
Many have been shocked by these videos, but the outcry has been minimal compared to what it should be. As a nation, America is highly inconsistent. Millions of babies are legally murdered every year on our home soil, yet most people don't bat an eyelash. However, around the same time as these videos began to surface so did the story of an American dentist who reportedly shot and killed a beloved lion named Cecil as a big game trophy during a hunt in Zimbabwe. This news has sparked intense outrage and debate on the Internet. Nearly every news source is carrying the story, often in multiple articles and videos, and the tone of these articles is usually indignation. The literally hundreds of articles that have been written on the lion’s death show that people are angry. Twitter reportedly lit up with furious tweets calling the hunter “a poor excuse for a human being,” “a killer” and “Satan,” and there’s hope that he “loses his home, his practice and his money.” There is even a cuddly Cecil the Lion beanie baby to reportedly “raise awareness for animal conservation and give comfort to all saddened by the loss of Cecil.”
Now, in comparison to the heavy coverage of the Cecil the Lion story, the Planned Parenthood scandal has barely been covered. Most liberal news sites are not giving the story much coverage, and it’s certainly not making their headlines. Only a few of the more conservative news sites, such as Fox News, are highlighting the scandal and making sure the American public knows about these monstrosities. What a difference! Americans are outraged because a lion was shot and killed, but they are turning a blind eye to the murder and dismemberment of unborn children in their own backyard by the government-funded abortion giant Planned Parenthood! How utterly inconsistent.
Now, this is not to say that conservation of big game or big cats, such as lions, is not important or that we shouldn’t be upset at the declining numbers and suffering of these animals. We are called to be good stewards of what God has given us—a principle that comes from Genesis 1:28 and makes sense in a biblical worldview. But in an evolutionary worldview of survival of the fittest, why should we help a lesser species survive? After all, isn’t evolution supposedly driven by the strongest surviving and the weakest dying out? So, in this worldview, why help the weaker species survive? It is in a biblical worldview, not an evolutionary one, in which conservation and good stewardship of Earth makes sense. But conservation isn’t the point here. The point is that the media and the Internet is making a huge and furious fuss over the death of one lion while millions of babies are being legally murdered and subsequently sold for research. Where is the intense outrage over the death of these babies? If Americans cared half as much about the death of these babies as they do about the death of one lion, abortion would surely cease to exist!
Equally inconsistent is the response, or lack thereof, by President Obama to these videos. Meanwhile, Obama was quick to respond to a comparable question by a young Kenyan woman at the Young African Leaders Initiative. She asked, “Persons with albinism in Africa are being killed and their body parts harvested for ritual purposes. My request to you is to raise this issue with the heads of state from African countries to bring these atrocities to an end.” Obama, calling this discrimination “crazy” and “infuriating”, rightly made it clear that this practice was abhorrent and that it should not continue. He went on to state that young people need to look out for the most vulnerable in a society, instead of putting them down, so that cruelty will not continue to “perpetuate itself.” And yet he and the White House continue to ignore Planned Parenthood’s actions. How utterly inconsistent! Perhaps Obama should take his own advice and look after the most vulnerable—the unborn, who have no voice. Perhaps he should stop discriminating against the unborn and allow them the most basic human right—the right to life.
A Calloused Nation
As a nation, America, and most of the West, has grown utterly calloused and indifferent to the murder of the unborn. Our nation’s conscience is so seared that we don’t just allow abortion, rationalizing all sorts of reasons to excuse it, but we condone, defend, and even fund organizations that commit such horrific atrocities. How has this happened? Well, as a whole our nation has drifted away from a biblical worldview. Morality is no longer based on God’s Word but, rather, on mere human opinion. Just like in the times of the judges of Israel, each person is simply doing what is right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25). With this kind of morality, anything goes. Without the firm foundation of God’s Word, there is no longer any ability to call anything right or wrong, and the result is a nation that calls good evil and evil good. Abortion is one tragic result of a nation that has turned its back on God and on His Word.
Now whether or not Planned Parenthood is breaking federal law, something that has yet to be determined, they are breaking God’s law by murdering a person, a lot of people—people that have no voice to demand the human rights nations like America constitutionally claim to protect. And, like everyone else, the people who run the organization and those who work there and the doctors performing these murders as a matter of routine need to repent of their sin and turn and trust in Jesus Christ. Death, which they so callously inflict on others, is something we all must face because of sin (Romans 6:23). But Jesus Christ died on the Cross, taking our penalty—death—upon Himself so that we might be forgiven, made right with God, and receive eternal life (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21). That is the precious truth of the gospel, and this salvation is available to all, including those who have murdered others.
Life Is Sacred
These videos highlight how callously Planned Parenthood treats an unborn life and the minimal reaction to these videos shows how indifferent American society has become to murder. The taking of a life and the selling of the body parts of that life is not something that should ever be casually discussed over lunch, and yet that is what our society has come to. And it has come to that place because it has rejected God’s Word and based its thinking on man’s ideas instead.
When we start with God’s Word, we get an entirely different picture of the sanctity of life. In Genesis we are told that God created men and women in His own image (Genesis 1:26–27). Life has value not because it is born or unborn or because that life is “wanted” and can contribute to society. No, human life has value because each and every person is made in the image of God. Taking a human life is a severe offence in God’s eyes because each person bears His image, “
Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6). In God’s eyes, human life has the utmost value, and we have no right to slaughter unborn children for the sake of convenience or the so-called right to choose.
In the Psalms we read a beautiful picture of the splendor of an unborn baby:
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them. (Psalm 139:13–16)
Each child is carefully knit together in the womb by God and is known by Him before the child is even born: “
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5). Life is precious to God, and therefore it should be to us as well.