Baby Parts for Profit

Some have argued whenever anyone cries "Nazi" this is a good reason to reject their whole point of view because nothing could really compare. Nothing in our country could be properly characterized by that kind of comparison. Well, I don't know. You be the judge.

I have a piece here that I would like to read to you. It's not ordinary that I read a piece in its entirety, but in this particular case I think it is critical. It's not only a critical issue, but it is said so well and so effectively that I just want to pass on what columnist Mona Charen has written November 9 in a piece that is simply entitled "Harvesting Part for Sale."

If you have not heard anything about this, I suggest that you sit down. If you have younger children around the radio, they don't need to hear this. You're going to have a hard time hearing what I am about to read, to think that this is possible in our country.

Oftentimes we talk about causal slippery slopes and how one thing leads to another. I have talked and written in the past about moral velocitizing, the idea that when you take another step in moral decay for a few months or years it seems radical because it is such a change from what things have been like. Then we get used to it and it seems like normal. It's like when you go out on the freeway and you accelerate to 60 mph. You're moving pretty good until you get used to 60 mph and then it just seems like it's not fast enough. Then you accelerate to 80 mph and that's fast until you get used to it, and then it is just regular and you need to accelerate even faster. So you go faster, and faster, and faster at deadly speeds. It seems like you're safe.

Morally, we have become velocitized because every time we take another step for just a few moments we feel uncomfortable. Then we get used to it and it is ordinary. As FrancIs Schaeffer has said, "What is unthinkable yesterday is thinkable today, and ordinary and commonplace tomorrow."

We are witnessing a moral velocitizing in our culture. We have been witnessing it for some time. I have argued that one of the things that has contributed to this is the increasing death of humanness. The idea of being a human being is not something that makes one valuable or worthwhile in itself. We have been chipping away at the essential, inherent value of human beings, and we have been doing it with abortion, infanticide, doctor-assisted suicide. All of these things have chipped away.

In fact, twenty years ago when Dr. Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop produced material that basically asked, What has happened to the human race, they warned that it would come to this. Everybody thought these people were like Chicken Little crying about the world coming to an end. But their sober warnings have come to pass as little by little we can see human dignity being chipped away, such that the unique value of humanness is dying.

And so, in 1973 when men of the Supreme Court consigned 1.3 million unborn human beings to the grave every year through the Roe v. Wade decision, it set aggressively in course a way of thinking about humanity that says, There is a life that is not worthy to be lived."

This, by the way, was a motto of the Third Reich. A few years back, I wrote a piece called "Nazi Doctors" and I talked about having read the book by Robert J. Lifton by the same title. He asked himself the question, How is it that a culture could have come to this point and had doctors committed to caring for life and saving lives actually participate in one of the greatest killing machines the world has ever seen? A part of the answer was in the first 90 pages of the book, which is all that I read. I didn't read the whole psychoanalytic position that he espoused and developed about how doctors get schizophrenic.

I read the first 90 pages that was really the sociological effort of the Nazi regime to encourage people to find this whole approach palatable. Ergo the slogan, there is a life that's not worthy of being lived. This is the pro-choice position, actually, in many ways. And we see the same thing happening now.

But you know when I use the term Nazi here, many people are offended because it is easy to conjure up the image of the Third Reich, this malevolent image, to kind of color your argument. All you have to do is cry "Nazi" and people will immediately be influenced in your favor because of this powerful term.

Some have argued whenever anyone cries "Nazi" this is a good reason to reject their whole point of view because nothing could really compare. Nothing in our country could be properly characterized by that kind of comparison. Well, I don't know. You be the judge. I've been to Auschwitz. I've been to Majdaneck. I've been to some of these camps where you see blankets made of human hair, the lampshades made of human skin, and the piles of teeth that have been busted out for the gold that was in them, where human beings became a cash crop. I've seen it.

That is all a backdrop to what I am about to read to you, published here in the Daily News in Southern California, Thursday, November 11, 1999, by Mona Charen. She is a syndicated columnist with the Creators Syndicate and therefore, her piece is read nationwide. You might have read it in another publication. But let me just read it.

"Kelly" (a pseudonym) was a medical technician working for a firm that trafficked in baby body parts. This is not a bad joke. Nor is it the hysterical propaganda of an interest group. It was reported in the American Enterprise magazine--the intelligent, thought-provoking, and utterly trustworthy publication of the American Enterprise Institute.

The firm Kelly worked for collected fetuses from clinics that performed late-term abortions. She would dissect the aborted fetuses in order to obtain 'high-quality" parts for sale. They were interested in blood, eyes, livers, brains, and the thymuses, among other things.

"What we did was to have a contract with an abortion clinic that would allow us to go there on certain days. We would get a generated list each day to tell us what tissue researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and universities were looking for. Then we would examine the patient charts. We only wanted the most perfect specimens.' That didn't turn out to be difficult. Of the hundreds of late-term fetuses Kelly saw on a weekly basis, only about 2 percent had abnormalities. About 30 to 40 babies per week were around 30 weeks old--well past the point of viability.

Is this legal? Federal law makes it illegal to buy and sell human body parts. But there are loopholes in the law. Here's how one body parts company--Opening Lines Inc.--disguised the trade in a brochure for abortionists: "Turn your patient's decision into something wonderful."

For its buyers, Opening Lines offers "the highest quality, most affordable, freshest tissue prepared to your specifications and delivered in the quantities you need, when you need it." Eyes and ears go for $75, and brains for $999. An "intact trunk" fetches $500, a whole liver $150. To evade the law's prohibition, body-parts dealers like Opening Lines offer to lease space in the abortion clinic to "perform the harvesting," as well as to "offset the clinic's overhead." Opening Lines further boasted, "Our daily average case volume exceeds 1,500 and we serve clinics across the United States."

Kelly kept at her grisly task until something made her reconsider. One day, "a set of twins at 24 weeks gestation was brought to us in a pan. They were both alive. The doctor came back and said, 'Got you some good specimens--twins.' I looked at him and said: 'There's something wrong here. They are moving. I can't do this. This is not in my contract.' I told him I would not be part of taking their lives. So he took a bottle of sterile water and poured it in the pan until the fluid came up over their mouths and noses, letting them drown. I left the room because I could not watch this."

But she did go back and dissect them later. The twins were only the beginning. "It happened again and again. At 16 weeks, all the way up to sometimes even 30 weeks, we had live births come back to us. Then the doctor would either break the neck or take a pair of tongs and beat the fetus until it was dead."

American Enterprise asked Kelly if abortion procedures were ever altered to provide specific body parts. "Yes. Before the procedures they would want to see the list of what we wanted to procure. The (abortionist) would get us the most complete intact specimens that he could. They would be delivered to us completely intact. Sometimes the fetus appeared to be dead, but when we opened up the chest cavity, the heart was still beating."

The magazine pressed Kelly again. Was the type of abortion ever altered to provide an intact specimen, even if it meant producing a live baby? "Yes, that was so we could sell better tissue. At the end of the year, they would give the clinic back more money because we got good specimens."

Some practical souls will probably swallow hard and insist that, well, if these babies are going to be aborted anyway, isn't it better that medical research should benefit? No. This isn't like voluntary organ donation. This reduces human beings to the level of commodities. And it creates of doctors who swore an oath never to kill, the kind of people who can beat a breathing child to death with tongs.

That is the end of the article.

This ghastly practice is getting more press. One wonders why it isn't on the front page of every newspaper in this country. There is a massive industry for human body parts coming from unborn children whose lives are being taken, sometimes after they are delivered, so that we can have "the highest quality, most affordable, freshest tissue prepared to your specifications and delivered in the quantities you need, when you need it."

This kind of news absolutely boggles the imagination.

As I mentioned earlier, when you raise the issue of Nazi Germany, people scoff. That's just inflammatory rhetoric.

Well, how would you describe this?

Let's forget about Nazi Germany for just a moment. Let's just look at what we have come to. Again, it's hard to know how to respond because if people can read this and say, Well, I don't know what the problem is, then I don't know what to say to them. If this is not obviously barbaric, I don't know what to say. If you can't see it for yourself, then I say that you are desperately morally velocitized and the spirit of the age has overtaken you.

Sometimes there is what can be called "unbelievable unbelief." You know, in John 11 when Lazarus was raised from the dead, and those who were aware of the resurrection of Lazarus were so incensed at the powerful miracle that was done that was good evidence that Jesus was the Messiah, as He claimed, that they purposed to destroy Lazarus, as well as Jesus. They would kill Jesus, he was the troublemaker. But the problem was the proof was still walking around--Lazarus. They'd have to kill him too.

It's kind of wild. You think, Wake up, folks! You only want to kill this man because he is proof against your view. But they didn't get it. Sometimes people are so rebellious against authority that they can't see what is so obvious.

Matt Drudge recently lost his job on the Fox News Channel. As I understand it, the reason was that he had footage he wanted to show on the air that was about a quite amazing medical procedure. It was a procedure that allowed doctors to rectify pre-natal problems by doing surgery on the unborn before it was delivered. They could actually go in and do spina bifida surgery to rectify this problem. To be more precise, they didn't exactly go in, they brought the baby out. That is, they incised the mother's abdomen and moved her uterus out in a sense onto her belly, opened her uterus just enough to do the surgery, did the microsurgery on the little developing child inside, repaired the problem, sewed up the uterus, replaced it inside the woman, stitched her up, and then she continued with a normal pregnancy.

That is pretty amazing. What a story!

But you see, it is not just a story about technology, is it? It is also a story about little precious unborn human persons. There is also a problem with showing this on T.V. because it gives a much more graphic window into the womb. But there's more in this particular case because, not only was this a remarkable medical feat that obviously and visibly bore testimony to the humanity of the unborn, but in the course of these films being taken, that little baby that was being operated on while it was being filmed, reached up its little hand, and took hold of the finger of the surgeon. That was on film. Don't you wish you could have seen that?

Well, you can't because it won't be aired.

The powers that be on that station told Matt Drudge he could not air that segment. Why not? It is a case that they never show gore on T.V.? It is the case they never show medical procedures on T.V.?

It is because in this particular medical procedure there was a powerful, factual, and emotionally compelling representation of the true and genuine humanity of the unborn, such that anyone watching it would realize that abortion destroys a precious unborn human person.

They wouldn't let him show it. He was so incensed he walked off the set and, having walked off the set and not completing his show, he was in violation of his contract and so they fired him.

That's unbelievable unbelief. You know why? Because those very people could see that very hand reach out of that mom and grab the finger of the surgeon. That little life, that little human person grabbing hold. It should have been obvious to them, as much as it would be obvious to anyone else watching, that there was a human being in there. But they didn't want anybody else to see it. They just wanted it to be shut down so that abortion could go on.

Unbelievable unbelief.

I have the same feeling here about the harvesting of body parts at abortion clinics. There are some people who will read this and say, It doesn't bother me, man. It's okay. We're killing them anyway. What's the big deal? Might as well make some use out of it.

These folks would have fit in well at the killing camps peddling lampshades of human skin and blankets made of human hair.

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Greg Koukl