The 5th Undercover Planned Parenthood Video Drops

Today The Center for Medical Progress released its fifth video exposing the work of Planned Parenthood.

Here is the press release:

HOUSTON, Aug. 4–The fifth undercover video in the controversy over Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted baby parts shows the Director of Research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Melissa Farrell, advertising the Texas Planned Parenthood branch’s track record of fetal tissue sales, including its ability to deliver fully intact fetuses.

In the video, actors posing as representatives from a human biologics company meet with Farrell at the abortion-clinic headquarters of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in Houston to discuss a potential partnership to harvest fetal organs.

“Where we probably have an edge over other organizations, our organization has been doing research for many many years,” explains Farrell. When researchers need a specific part from the aborted fetus, Farrell says, “We bake that into our contract, and our protocol, that we follow this, so we deviate from our standard in order to do that.”

Asked specifically if this means Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast can change abortion procedures to supply intact fetal specimens, Farrell affirms, “Some of our doctors in the past have projects and they’re collecting the specimens, so they do it in a way that they get the best specimens, so I know it can happen.”

The investigators ask Farrell how she will frame a contract in which they pay a higher price for higher quality fetal body parts, and she replies, “We can work it out in the context of–obviously, the procedure itself is more complicated,” suggesting that “without having you cover the procedural cost” and paying for the abortion, the higher specimen price could be framed as “additional time, cost, administrative burden.”

Farrell finally summarizes her affiliate’s approach to fetal tissue payments: “If we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, we can make it part of the budget that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this. It’s all just a matter of line items.”

The sale or purchase of human fetal tissue is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2). Federal law also requires that no alteration in the timing or method of abortion be done for the purposes of fetal tissue collection (42 U.S.C. 289g-1).

Farrell also indicates to the investigators over lunch that the specimen sales from her department contribute significantly to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s overall finances: “I think everyone realizes, especially because my department contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization here, you know we’re one of the largest affiliates, our Research Department is the largest in the United States. Larger than any the other affiliates’ combined.” In a Texas Senate hearing on July 29, former Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast clinic director Abby Johnson estimated that the affiliate had previously made up to $120,000 per month off of aborted fetal tissue.

The video is the fifth by The Center for Medical Progress documenting Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted fetal parts. Project Lead David Daleiden notes: “This is now the fifth member of Planned Parenthood leadership discussing payments for aborted baby parts without any connection to actual costs of so-called tissue ‘donation.’ Planned Parenthood’s system-wide conspiracy to evade the law and make money off of aborted fetal tissue is now undeniable.” Daleiden continues, “Anyone who watches these videos knows that Planned Parenthood is engaged in barbaric practices and human rights abuses that must end. There is no reason for an organization that uses illegal abortion methods to sell baby parts and commit such atrocities against humanity to still receive over $500 million each year from taxpayers.”

For help in refuting defenses of Planned Parenthood and critiques of the videos, go here. It addresses the four categories of allegations: (1) it’s a hoax; (2) the videos are edited; (3) the means are dishonest; and (4) pro-lifers are trying to take away the good things Planned Parenthood does.

Yesterday (August 3, 2015), the U.S. Senate failed to invoke cloture on S.1881, a bill to prohibit federal funding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Joe Carter has a handy FAQ:

  • What was the legislation being voted on?
  • What is a cloture motion?
  • What was the outcome and who voted in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood?
  • Why did Sen. McConnell vote against the motion?
  • What happens next for the measure?
  • Wouldn’t a government shutdown be a worthy price to pay for defunding Planned Parenthood?

Joe concludes:

Historically, the average age of retirement for Supreme Court justices is 78. By 2017, when the next president takes office, four justices (Scalia, Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Bryer) will be over the age of 78. If there is pro-abortion president in the White House and 60 pro-abortion lawmakers in the Senate, then they will block the appointment of any justices who might vote against pro-abortion laws. The result is that a pro-life loss in the next election may mean the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade will be lost for another two generations.

You can read the whole thing here.

As Joe noted on Twitter, “No matter what Senate does, Obama will veto any effort to #DefundPP. As long as he’s in office, PP is safe.”

On July 31, David Daleiden—the 26-year-old undercover investigator who started The Center for Medical Progress, appeared on CNN’s New Day show to discuss the findings of the first four videos in the “Human Capital” series.

For more interviews with Daleiden, see this conversation with Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review Online and this exchange with Bob Smietana at Christianity Today Online.

All of the videos released thus far can be watched here.

What Can Christians Do?

A few years ago, Scott Klusendorf—president of Life Training Institute and author of the book The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture (Crossway, 2009)—suggested four ways Christian leaders can help us think clearly about this question—the most pressing moral issue of our day:

1. Clarify the nature of moral reasoning.

As Francis J. Beckwith points out, when pro-life advocates claim that elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being, they are not saying they dislikeabortion. They are saying it’s objectively wrong, regardless of how one feels about it. Consider the popular bumper sticker: “Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one!” Notice what’s going on here. The pro-life advocate makes a moral claim that he believes is objectively true—namely, that elective abortion is unjust killing. The abortion-choice advocate responds by changing that objective truth claim into one about likes and dislikes, as if the pro-lifer were talking about a mere preference. But this misses the point entirely. Pro-life advocates don’t oppose abortion because they find it distasteful; they oppose it because it violates rational moral principles. Imagine if I said, “Don’t like spousal abuse? Don’t beat your wife!”

2. Clarify the one question that really matters.

So what is the real issue, if not likes and dislikes? Pro-life advocates contend that elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being. This simplifies the abortion controversy by focusing public attention on just one question: Is the unborn one of us? If so, killing him or her to benefit others is a serious moral wrong. Conversely, if the unborn are not human, elective abortion requires no more justification than having a tooth pulled. This is not a debate between those who are pro-choice and those who are anti-choice. Every pro-life advocate that I know is vigorously “pro-choice” when it comes to women choosing a number of moral goods. They support a woman’s right to choose her own doctor, her own school, her own husband, and her own career—to name just a few. But some choices are wrong, like killing innocent human beings simply because they are in the way and cannot defend themselves. We shouldn’t be pro-choice about that.

3. Clarify the scientific and philosophic case for life.

The science of embryology establishes that from the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. True, they have yet to grow and mature, but they are whole human beings nonetheless. Leading embryology textbooks affirm this. Meanwhile, pro-life advocates use philosophy to show there is no morally significant difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today that would justify killing you at that earlier stage of development. Differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not good reasons for saying you had no right to life then but you do now. Stephen Schwarz suggests the acronym SLED as a helpful reminder of these non-essential differences:

  • Size: You were smaller as an embryo, but since when does your body size determine value? Large humans are not more valuable than small humans.
  • Level of Development: True, you were less developed as an embryo, but why is that decisive? Six-month olds are less developed than teenagers both physically and mentally, but we don’t think the former have less of a right to life.
  • Environment: Where you are has no bearing on what you are. How does a journey of eight inches down the birth canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from a being we can kill to one we can’t?
  • Degree of Dependency: Sure, you depended on your mother for survival, but since when does dependence on another human mean we can kill you? (Consider conjoined twins, for example.)

In short, humans are equal by nature not function. Although they differ immensely in their respective degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal because they share a common human nature made in the image of God.

4. Clarify the path to forgiveness.

Post-abortion young people do not need an excuse. They need an exchange: Christ’s righteousness for their sinfulness. Indeed, the starting point for human healing is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and as D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out, you can never preach it enough. That gospel tells how God made humans to worship and enjoy him, but they willfully rebelled against their creator. Although the rebels deserved God’s righteous wrath, he poured it out on a substitute—Jesus, the sinless one. Like all sinners, post-abortion men and women need this gospel. With it, they live each day assured God accepts them on the basis of Christ’s righteousness, not their own. Without it, they perish.