Bioethics

The Planned Parenthood Videos: Organ Donations and Euphemisms

Author Amy K. Hall Published on 08/01/2015

The horrific nature of the undercover Planned Parenthood videos has overwhelmed me. You can view videos one, two, three, and four (along with the full, unedited footage) here. No, I shouldn’t say you can. You should. You must. This is what we’re currently allowing, and it must be seen. The abortion industry has been hiding behind a curtain of euphemisms for so long that even you, pro-lifer, have become somewhat accustomed to its existence. Let these videos shake you back into reality.

As with other social movements to correct injustices in the past (e.g., slavery and civil rights), images can reveal truth, playing a key role in helping us understand with our minds things that would otherwise only be a vague idea to us. As the ancient Roman poet Horace said, “Less vividly is the mind stirred by what finds entrance through the ears than by what is brought before the trusty eyes.” This, I think, will be the most important result of these videos, regardless of what comes of the legal accusations against Planned Parenthood.

You can read about 10 Quick, Important Developments on the Planned Parenthood Scandal and learn a little about the legality and ethics involved in supplying fetal body parts to research facilities here.

What’s Morally Different about These Organ Donations?

Leaving aside the morality of abortion itself for a moment, why should anyone object to Planned Parenthood supplying organs to research facilities? What makes the donation of these organs morally different from a mother’s donation of her baby’s organs after the child’s tragic death? The difference can be found in the doctor’s words explaining what makes the giving of these human organs possible:

We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that [researchers want these], so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.

The organs are requested by the research facilities while the healthy organ “donor” is still living, and then the wanted organs are obtained by carefully crushing the organ owner to death. This changes the moral picture.

The Legal Step That Needs to Be Taken

The heart of the moral problem with Planned Parenthood’s organ donations (again, leaving aside the morality of the abortion on its own) needs to be legally addressed: No individual or organization should be legally allowed to donate organs if they’re responsible for the death of the organs’ owner. Period.

If there’s a beneficial transaction to be had from the death of a human being, then you can’t be allowed to participate in that transaction if you’re the one bringing about that human being’s death. (This applies whether you’re personally directly benefiting or the person you’re donating to is directly benefiting; for in the second case, the one who directly benefits is likely to return the favor with indirect benefits to encourage more donations—i.e., more killing to facilitate more giving.) To allow such a thing incentivizes killing and will inevitably lead to abuses.

If we’re going to talk about legal steps that need to be taken, this seems like it should be one of the first.

When Abortion Doctors Drop Their Euphemisms

As the doctor in the fourth video picks through the baby parts, she says, “It’s a baby,” and announces, “Another boy!” Planned Parenthood workers may tell women to their faces that it’s up to them whether the “clump of cells” inside them is a baby, but this is how the doctors talk behind their backs. They speak the plain truth. They speak of human organs. They speak of genders. They speak of babies.

My prayer is that these videos will break the spell of the abortion industry’s insidious euphemisms.