In the midst of nibbling on her lunch entree, Ms. Nucatola blithely describes which parts of the baby she would “crush” with the forceps in order to keep the desired organs intact. (For the sake of fairness, I was going to say “pregnancy” instead of “baby” for those who hold pro-choice and women’s rights convictions, but abortion doctors can’t really use forceps to crush the skull or pelvis of a pregnancy.)
The potential scandal is, of course, over whether or not Planned Parenthood is in the business of selling baby body parts. It’s legal for ancillary expenses for things like storage and shipping to be charged to a client, but illegal for anyone to profit from the sale of body parts. But my question is why?
I mean, after you kill a baby (or terminate a pregnancy) in his or her mother’s womb, is selling the liver that big of a deal? Some might say, “But then you could have people seeking abortion from financial motives!” Isn’t that exactly the motive of a woman who says she must get an abortion because she can’t afford another child? It’s a motive to avoid financial loss, not to seek financial gain, but it’s a financial motive nonetheless.
The colossal question in all this, looming like an offshore hurricane, is the question of paradigm. In what standard of morality is it an acceptable choice to kill a child in its mother’s womb, but a scandal to sell tissue from the child’s corpse? Those who get their moral paradigm from our national and civic leaders shouldn’t allow themselves to get too worked up over someone making some side cash from selling a liver or two. If you equate legality with morality, we could easily be one Supreme Court decision away from the dead-baby-organ market being declared something like, “an example of the liberty of enterprise which each American should be free to engage in according to the dictates of his own conscience, in keeping with the way of life envisioned by our founders.”
But, regardless of what the government says, a great many people today are guided by the whatever-is-easiest-and-most-gratifying-for-me-alone-in-this-moment paradigm.
The tough thing about this is, such a label doesn’t sit well with that pesky sense of right and wrong that’s so hard to completely get rid of. And, as is the case with many crucially important ethical issues, a little semantic shifting does wonders for a troubled conscience. Instead of referring to the selling of babies' body parts, just choose some anesthetic diction from medical and economics textbooks. Think of how much easier it is to stomach “the extrication of viable post-abortive tissue for fiscally sustainable research endeavors,” rather than “the selling of babies' organs after they’ve been killed.”
What G.K. Chesterton said about the eugenists of the early twentieth century is precisely true about their ideological posterity who run Planned Parenthood today:
"Most Eugenists are Euphemists. I mean merely that short words startle them, while long words soothe them. And they are utterly incapable of translating the one into the other, however obviously they mean the same thing. Say to them 'The persuasive and even coercive powers of the citizen should enable him to make sure that the burden of longevity in the previous generation does not become disproportionate and intolerable, especially to the females'; say this to them and they will sway slightly to and fro like babies sent to sleep in cradles. Say to them 'Murder your mother,' and they sit up quite suddenly. Yet the two sentences, in cold logic, are exactly the same."
If anyone reads this who believes on-demand abortions are the right of every woman, I would be very eager to hear their views on whether selling the body parts of an aborted child is or is not ethically sound and why. What is your paradigm?