Below is a full length version of my monthly column for Samaritan Ministries International
The series of videos put out by the Center for Medical Progress have done an amazing job of exposing the sheer cruel, greedy, callousness of that woefully misnamed organization, Planned Parenthood. We have learnt a good many things through these videos, but perhaps most glaring is this: the claim that abortion providers do what they do for the sake of women’s
health is as hollow as an empty Coke can. Turns out it’s all about — quelle surprise — money, money, money.
This could well explain why so many of the “great and the good” have been queuing up to defend this macabre profiteering racket. For instance, Democratic Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, said this:
“The current attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood is part of a long-term smear campaign by people who want to deny women in this country the right to control their own bodies.”
Not quite. We might well retort that actually the current attempt to credit Planned Parenthood, by the likes of Bernie Sanders, is part of a long-term campaign by people who want to deny babies the right to keep their own bodies.
But what kind of person rushes to defend an organization that not only dismembers babies, but has now been exposed for profiting for selling on the body parts over lunch in swanky restaurants? The answer seems to be the same kind of person who thinks they are somehow qualified to run the United States of America, as Hillary Clinton’s tweet on July 30th showed:
“Proud to stand w/Planned Parenthood & for access to quality, affordable healthcare for women, men & young people. -H”
It would be good if someone could ask Mrs Clinton the following question during her run for the Democratic nomination: “What would Planned Parenthood need to do, beyond dismembering babies and selling on their internal organs, to make you ashamed to stand with them?”
In one sense these videos shouldn’t horrify us any more than we ought to have been horrified before. We already knew that Planned Parenthood was doing unspeakable things, and ultimately a baby’s body being thrown into the incinerator should cause as many problems for us as its body being sold for profit. Nevertheless, there is something about the level of callousness exposed in these videos that is quite breathtaking.
In exposing the moral putrefaction at the heart of Planned Parenthood and indeed in the nation, these videos have very much acted as “salt to the Earth”. However, although exposing evil is a good and noble thing to do, by itself it is never going to change attitudes, and what we now need to find is ways of actively promoting the opposite good. In other words, we need light as well as salt.
Former congressman Ron Paul touched on this in his posting on the subject:
“While passing legislation may help limit abortion, the pro-life movement will never succeed unless it changes people’s attitudes toward the unborn.”
Dr. Paul is certainly right that politics won’t change anything. In fact, we should expect pro-abortion politicians to try turn away our attention from the real issue – the killing of the baby – to what is in many ways a side issue – how the remains of the dead babies are disposed. How will they do this? By agreeing to tighten the law on how the remains of an aborted baby must be dealt with. This is something that has already happened in the state of Indiana, where The Aborted Fetal Remains Bill (SEA 329) was recently signed into law, establishing rules as to how abortion facilities must “appropriately dispose of the bodies of babies killed in abortions”. Don’t be fooled by this sort of thing. It is worth noting that this bill will not stop a single abortion from taking place, but merely regulates what you can and can’t do with the baby after its life has been taken.
Ron Paul is also right to say that success will only come for the pro-life movement when it starts to really change people’s attitudes toward the unborn. He went on to offer his thoughts on how this might be done:
“This is why crisis pregnancy centers, which provide care and compassion to women facing unplanned pregnancies, have done more to advance the pro-life cause then any politician. By showing women they have viable alternatives to abortion, these centers have saved many lives.”
Here he gets to the crux of one thing that is certainly needful. Providing an alternative service to Planned Parenthood which not only treats the unborn child with dignity, but which also treats women with dignity, endeavoring to help those who are in a hard place with emotional and sometimes even financial support, is critical. This is why Samaritan Ministries set up the Morning Center, and here’s what it says on their website:
“A pregnant woman who chooses life for her child needs a caring community of support. Far too often the Christians who urged her not to abort can offer nothing more for maternity care than a government aid form. It is time for Christians to provide loving, personalized maternity care in Jesus’ Name, to any mother who needs it—free of charge.”
Whatever else we do we need to be praying for these centers, supporting them financially if we are in a position to do so, and also getting the word out about them whenever we have the opportunity to do so.
Dr. Paul also made another helpful comment in his piece, one which hones in on an aspect of the pro-life cause that many have perhaps not considered, but one which we should give serious consideration to:
“One factor hindering the anti-abortion movement’s ability to change people’s minds is that too many abortion opponents also support a militaristic foreign policy. These pro-lifers undercut their moral credibility as advocates for unborn American lives when they display a callous indifference to the lives of Iraqi, Iranian, and Afghan children.”
Over the past few decades, the US Government and its allies have many times become involved in what George Washington in his Farewell Address called “entangling alliances, attachments, and intrigues,” the cost of which has been great to the civilian populations of those countries, including thousands upon thousands of children. We are pro-life, right? So do we care about those lives too?
What Dr. Paul is pointing to is a bizarre kind of dualism that on the one hand advocates a zero tolerance policy towards abortion, but on the other hand has a tendency to display a cavalier or indifferent attitude towards the results of pursuing an interventionist foreign policy – or what Washington described in his address as “overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty”.
If we are to see the end of abortion in our day, we need to be consistent. The reason this is so important is perhaps easier to see if we turn the situation on its head. If we hear a politician harping on about peace and shedding tears for children killed by interventionism in faraway places on the one hand, and then in the next breath saying that they fully support Planned Parenthood and a woman’s “right to choose” on the other hand, what is our first thought? Probably that here stands a hypocrite with no real commitment to the sanctity of life. Now go and flip the situation on its head.
As Ron Paul hints, we ought to be as concerned about the destruction of children in, say, Iraq and Libya, as a result of Western interventionism, as we are about the destruction of the unborn in America, as a result of Planned Parenthood. Which is really just another way of saying that we need to see the Imago Dei in all humans, wherever they are, whoever they are, and think, act and speak like we really do mean it.
The abortion issue is not going to be won by the revelations from the Center for Medical Progress. They are a great start, and a huge eye opener for many, but now we need to step up a gear. We need positive alternatives to Planned Parenthood, such as the Morning Center with its commitment to go the extra mile to help those mothers who are in desperate straits, but whom are currently propagandized into believing that killing their child is the safest, best and even the only way out. We need to make sure that our belief in the sanctity of life is consistent, and that we are not inadvertently supporting policies which result in the needless killing of children in other parts of the world.
But above all we need to keep on asking God to direct the pro-life cause, to open the eyes of those who are currently pro-abortion to see it for the evil that it is, and to intervene to finally end this grisly practice that has plagued the nation for nearly half-a-century.