The public relations department at Planned Parenthood is probably working overtime today, as there’s yet another undercover video of some of their top officials casually discussing over dinner and drinks at a nice restaurant the sale of organs from the fetuses are that aborted at their clinics.
The first one was bad enough that Planned Parenthood’s president felt it necessary to release a videotaped statement claiming that no one at at the organization would ever think of profiting from the sale of organs from fetuses aborted at their clinics, regardless of what that high official was chatting about in the videotape, but apologizing for the secretly recorded high official’s “tone and statements” which do no reflect the “compassion” of the abortion industry. The second one features an even higher official haggling for a price “big enough that it’s worthwhile for me,” adding that “I want a Lamborghini,” and offers to instruct her doctors to use abortion techniques that are “less crunchy” to insure the organs retain their market value, so the tone statements come across even less compassionate.
There’s a reasonable argument to be made that the fetal organs being bargained over could help further research that might save and improve lives, although they’re increasingly less persuasive as scientific methods improve, and there are reasonable ethical questions about the use of hidden cameras and sting investigations, although they never seem to be made when “60 Minutes” or some of the other old media are using such methods against industries less beloved by liberalism, and Planned Parenthood’s most steadfast supporters would no doubt be susceptible to the notion that its highest officials should be driving Lamborghinis as compensation for the good works they do, although the tone and statements involved would be seen in less entitled segments of the population as lacking in compassion, so instead there are the usual attacks on the opposition. Some of the old and new media who have bothered to pay any attention are questioning the tax-exempt status of the Center For Medical Progress, whose operatives portrayed themselves as a for-profit start-up company acquiring fetal tissue for medical researchers, and the denial and apology issued by Planned Parenthood note that their tormentors are opposed to abortion, and all of the apologists are noting how very carefully both high officials tip-toed around the federal regulations regarding the sale of fetal tissue, and of course there are allegations that the tapes have been selectively edit, but the public relations department at Planned Parenthood surely realizes that they’re on the defense, and that the tone is not helpful.
The same Internal Revenue Service officials who gave extra scrutiny to any organization with “tea party” or “liberty” or “Constitution” in its name will probably be inclined to be just as skeptical of the Center for Medical Progress, but the broader public will be more interested an organization already well-funded by taxpayer dollars trying to add a few more dollars toward that Lamborghini by selling organs from aborted fetuses. Whatever misrepresentations the Center for Medical Progress might have made about its affiliations with other anti-abortion groups never hid the fact they are also an anti-abortion group. The careful statements made by both high officials about the law sound more conspiratorial than comforting, too, and they’ve also published the entirety of the videotaped meetings as well as the edited versions to demonstrate they’ve not taken any statements out of context. The unexpurgated versions make the “tone” all the starker, with both high officials happily swilling wine and making small talk in swank restaurants as they haggle over the price of an aborted fetus. The tone is redolent of Hannah Arendt’s famous phrase “The Banality of Evil,” as Planned Parenthood’s own defense and apologies frankly acknowledge, and they raise issues that the most fervent abortion rights supporters would rather not confront.
Both high officials acknowledge that Planned Parenthood would be willing to use different abortion techniques to harvest salable fetal organization, or “less crunchy” ones in the gruesomely tone-deaf terminology of one, and at this point we can ascertain whether the women who signed those consent forms that Planned Parenthood boasts of were informed of what risks those procedures might entail. There’s also the matter of whether those high Planned Parenthood officials had tip-toed carefully enough around the laws regarding the sale of fetal organs, and the unmistakeable impression that they’re trying their best. Worse yet, there’s the acknowledgement that the meaningless mass of fetal tissue they’re blithely aborting has human organs and human cellular structures and a potential for human life that the crunchier methods of abortion routinely mutilate.
The abortion issue is more complicated than that, and will continue to be debated long past the soon-to-be-released sequels to this sting operation, but Planned Parenthood and the Democratic Party and the mainstream media and the rest of the abortion rights side seem to know they’ve lost this round. Longtime media star Mark Halperin tried to trip up presidential nominee and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry about his longstanding opposition to Planned Parenthood, but found himself stuttering a sort agreement when Perry asked if his interlocutor had seen the video and whether he had any problems with it. Some of the media have already noticed that Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has been conspicuously silent about the story, and any long-shot challengers that try to fire up the base by rushing to Planned Parenthood’s defense know they won’t be helping their chances in a general election. The ambivalent middle ground of the abortion debate know that it is at best an evil to be tolerated rather than a right and rite to be celebrated, and even those who reluctantly conclude that it must allowed would hope that the grisly business is carried on with regret and the highest regard for the law, and that is not at all the tone of either of two high Planned Parenthood officials as they sip wine and eat at fancy restaurants and haggle over the price of the organs of the fetuses their organization has recently aborted.
— Bud Norman