Planned Parenthood is racing down its own Fury Road. Near the end of the latest of the Mad Max movies, there comes a moment of transcendence. The anti-hero, Immortan Joe, stands at the foot of the lifeless body of his pregnant wife, Splendid, just after her death. He orders his men to cut her open to bring out the baby.
It’s a boy, and he, too, is dead. Standing nearby, Joe’s older son, cries out: “I had a baby brother! And he was perfect! Perfect in every way!”
Surrounded by a brutal and bleak post-apocalyptic landscape, the tiny, soft body of a baby was a sign of hope and enduring humanity. There’s a similar moment near the end of the latest undercover Planned Parenthood video.
Surrounded by a brutal and bleak post-apocalyptic landscape, the tiny, soft body of a baby was a sign of hope and enduring humanity. There’s a similar moment near the end of one of the most recent undercover Planned Parenthood videos, now numbering five and counting.
As the hidden camera takes us inside a pathology lab following an abortion, we are confronted by a jarringly dystopian landscape. A medical technician is picking through the remains of a tiny infant, looking for sale-able parts. First the heart is recognized, then the kidneys. Finally, a distinctive part, and the technician exclaims, “It’s another boy.”
Standing alongside is Dr. Savita Ginde, the Medical Director of Planned Parenthood, Rocky Mountains. Following the dissection, Ginde discusses the prices of the parts and remarks, “a per-item thing works a little better, because we can see how much we can get out of it.” There’s really no context that makes the bald profit-oriented intent of that statement more palatable.
Planned Parenthood continues to insist that the videos have been edited to indict them -- an odd claim since the full videos, and transcripts, are all available online. In fact, the broader context of each one of the videos released so far, and the ones to come, reveals a deepening morass of moral, ethical and legal entanglement for corporate Planned Parenthood. They may end up wishing the story were only a debate over profit.
One of Planned Parenthood’s partners in the harvesting business, California-based StemExpress, succeeded in having one of the undercover videos blocked. What doesn’t it want the public to see in the recording of a meeting with StemExpress’ President? Conversation during the meeting includes the revelation that StemExpress receives fully intact aborted babies from Planned Parenthood, according to David Daleiden, the young man behind the video sting. The point begs the question of whether Planned Parenthood abortionists are using the illegal Partial-Birth Abortion procedure, or even whether they are delivering live babies, before selling their parts for research.
The very day that the Planned Parenthood scandal broke, StemExpress took its website down for “maintenance.” It stayed down for days. But facts tend to live on a long time, and one of those is that the Medical Director of StemExpress is a Planned Parenthood abortionist.
The President of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards suddenly finds herself embroiled in scandal. Her statements on the undercover videos -- which revealed not one, but three, of her abortion doctors discussing the sale for profit of infant body parts on tape – are both defiant and canned. The head of the corporate giant that so swiftly brought the Susan G. Komen Foundation to its knees is accustomed to warm baths of public approval.
In contrast, now Planned Parenthood faces the very real prospect of losing 40% of its annual budget, as Congress takes up the question of freezing the $1.25 million per day that it receives in government funding. Richards appears disoriented as the public responds in horror with a moral compass she does not share. She penned an op-ed this week in this paper, to try to stanch the rising tide of reprobation, conducting a master class in the art of diversion and denial. Not a single word referenced the actual content of the videos. Instead she filled up the space with public relations boilerplate.
But of course why would she do otherwise? There are no words.
By using the baby to communicate the ineffable at the core of what makes us human, the Mad Max dystopia is trodding a well-worn path. It is always a little child who leads us. When we explore the question of what makes us human, we always come back to how we treat the purity and vulnerability of the innocent and defenseless. We come back to the baby.
In P.D. James’ dystopian novel Children of Men, the world has literally become barren. Worldwide infertility has plunged the world into despair. The landscape is dark, harsh and unforgiving, until an unplanned baby arrives. The baby’s cry pierces the darkness, and all who hear the sound, stop in wonder. Hope has returned.
Americans have lived with abortion now for over forty years. Why this moment of outrage? The great William Wilberforce, in his fight against slavery, said of his generation: “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”
That’s why these videos have created a great moment of national decision. We have been looking the other way for many years. Now we cannot say we did not know. We’ve heard the baby’s cry. “It’s another bo