By now you have probably seen the video (link), or excerpts from it. A hidden camera shows Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood senior director of medical services, sipping on wine and eating a salad while calmly discussing the removal of body parts from aborted fetuses in a way that maximizes their “value.” She blithely talks about obtaining “intact hearts,” lungs, “intact livers,” and even “lower extremities, that’s easy.” And all of this in a way that seems designed to reassure and impress the two research company “buyers” she’s having lunch with (actually two actors with a hidden video camera).
Pro-life advocates across the nation are understandably upset. It’s hard to count the number of groups that have expressed their outrage: National Right to Life, Americans United for Life, First Things, the National Review — I’m just getting started. In my state, the Ohio Attorney General has called for an investigation, along with AGs and governors throughout the country. I was interviewed for a piece in TheBlaze.com (article link).
In the midst of the shock and hype, we need to find some balance. Was Planned Parenthood really violating federal laws and selling body parts? Here are my reactions:
It’s cynical, crass, and callous, but it’s probably legal. Making donated human tissues available for research does not violate the law. Even the money discussed (“$30 to $100”) is not necessarily an issue, if that is just the cost for processing and / or shipping the specimens. On the other hand, Dr. Nucatola seems awfully interested in making her case to the supposed “buyers.” It may not actually be a business, but it sure looks like she was trying to make a “sale.”
I get really disturbed when she recommends that the procedure be done under ultrasound guidance, and suggests modifying the approach to better preserve the removed organs. This is a clear conflict of interest, where commercial concerns trump the care of the woman patient. Even pro-choice voices should condemn this afront to clinical ethics.
Then things take a turn for the worse, when the doctor actually suggests rotating the fetus away from a vertex (head-down) position, in order to better allow for dilation of the cervix so that the head can be delivered intact. This description comes perilously close to intact dilation and extraction, otherwise known as “partial-birth abortion,” now a felony for many years.
No matter how you look at it, the video provides an opportunity to see the procedure for what it really is: a brutal, degrading, horrific procedure that destroys a human life. This is the ugly underbelly of abortion.