If abortion were the respectable medical procedure its proponents insist it is, there would be no such thing as "Planned Parenthood", anymore than there is a Planned Hernia megacorp. We are told constantly that abortion is a very teensy-weensy, barely statistically measurable, all but undetectable micro-sliver of the wide range of "women's health" services Planned Parenthood provides. So it only does an estimated third of a million abortions per year - or about as many abortions as the combined total of half the remaining G7 nations (Germany, France, Canada). It is the single biggest aborter on the planet.
So the "right to choose" has facilitated the rise of a characteristically American racket: a billion-dollar "non-profit" that gets over half its funding from the US taxpayer and pays its eight top executives an average of 300 grand in order to serve as the paramilitary wing of reproductive liberalism. Planned Parenthood is an abortion-industrial complex: America is, alas, the abortion mill of the western world, and Cecile Richards' organization is its Standard Oil, US Steel and American Tobacco combined. Its ministrations fall disproportionately on minority women, so in that sense it is still true to the racist and eugenicist theories of its founder, Margaret Sanger: among blacks in New York City, there are more abortions than births - a grim ratio one otherwise has to go to Russia and its satellites to find.
Will the recently released undercover videos change the perception of what Planned Parenthood does? In USA Today, Kirsten Powers (a rare pro-life Democrat) notes that PP head honcho Cecile Richards has apparently apologized for "the uncompassionate tone her senior director of medical research, Deborah Nucatola, used to explain the process by which she harvests aborted body parts to be provided for medical research". "Dr" Nucatola's "tone" is certainly arresting. As she explains to a potential organ client over lunch:
You're just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers, you try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I'm not gonna crush that part, I'm gonna basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact.
That's the easy part. But these days a lot of customers are interested in harvesting an intact brain to work on, so you gotta keep your graspers away from crushing the head - or, as "Dr" Nucatola prefers to call it, the "calvarium":
With the calvarium, in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it's not vertex, because when it's vertex presentation, you never have enough dilation at the beginning of the case, unless you have real, huge amount of dilation to deliver an intact calvarium. So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there's dilation that happens as the case goes on, and often, the last, you can evacuate an intact calvarium at the end.
The chit-chat's all nice and medical, isn't it? If it's "vertex presentation" - ie, the baby comes out head-first - it's hard to get a nice clean intact skull. But, if it's "breech" - feet-first - then "you can evacuate an intact calvarium".
If it is, as Ms Richards says, merely a "tone" problem, it's a revealing one. It's not possible to "crush" as many nine-month-old "fetuses" as "Dr" Nucatola does and still retain your humanity. If would be an unbearable burden to regard the "fetus" as a baby and the "calvarium" as a head and the "evacuation" as a birth, and still go to work in the morning. So the de-humanization is part of what's necessary to survive as an abortionist.
And, once you accept that, what won't you accept? During the trial of "Dr" Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia reproductive-rights provider, the blogger Pundette compiled a list of questions she hoped that prosecuting counsel might ask him:
Why did you routinely suction out the brains and crush the skulls of babies after they were fully delivered?
Indeed. Usually the suctioning of the brains and crushing of the skull has to occur when the "calvarium" is still in the uterus. If you do it on the table, people might get the icky idea that it's infanticide or something. So the trick is to get to the head before it's cleared the cervix. "Dr" Tracy Weitz of the University of California, San Francisco explains:
When a procedure that usually involves the collapsing of the skull is done, it's usually done when the fetus is still in the uterus, not when the fetus has been delivered. . . . So, in terms of thinking about the difference between the way abortion providers who do later abortions in the United States practice, and this particular practice, they are completely worlds apart.
But Kermit Gosnell wasn't that good a doctor. So he preferred just to snip the spinal column. Which certainly kills the fetus. But then he additionally suctioned out the brain and crushed the skull.
Why? To make sure the dead baby was really, truly dead? Or just because he could? Or, like "Dr" Nucatola, once you've de-humanized what you do to get through the day, and you've decided that killing a healthy gurgling newborn isn't really killing at all, why restrict yourself to merely killing her once when you can kill her thrice? The Pundette posed another question of "Dr" Gosnell:
Why did you chop off and preserve baby hands and feet and display them in jars?
Which he did, like pickled eggs by the cash register of an English pub. There's no compelling medical reason for "Dr" Gosnell's extensive collection, but bottled baby feet certainly make a novelty paperweight or doorstop.
In the end he never took the stand, and the Pundette was obliged to provide her own response. "I think we already know the answer," she wrote. "He enjoyed it."
Kermit Gosnell was the most successful mass murderer in American history, but because he was a "women's health care provider" nobody knows that. The case barely made the papers. The enterprising and indefatigable Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney are crowdfunding a feature film about Gosnell mainly because no Hollywood studio or TV network ever will.
Gosnell was a nickel'n'dime abortionist so he turned baby parts into the abortionist's version of a Damien Hirst Turner Prize-winner. For Cecile Richards and "Dr" Nucatola, it's about market share and subsidiary rights and sub-licensing and diversifying your business model to leverage growth opportunities. So they sell baby parts. Once you're in the dehumanization business, each of us dehumanizes as he can.
In her USA Today column, Kirsten Powers adds:
It's a measure of how damning the video is that Planned Parenthood's usual defenders were nowhere to be found. There was total silence from The New York Times editorial board and their 10 (out of 11) pro-abortion rights columnists. Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi — both recipients of Planned Parenthood's highest honor, the Margaret Sanger Award — have been mum.
The silence is not from shame, or from having to defend the indefensible, but part of a much colder calculation: Silence is how you kill the story, for Planned Parenthood as for Gosnell.
And that's part of the dehumanization, too. When kids are slaughtered in a Connecticut schoolhouse or churchgoers are shot down in Charleston, the media jump straight on the public policy implications: gun control, Confederate flags at state buildings... But when baby parts are sold by an organization that receives half-a-billion in taxpayer funds, there are no public policy questions at all, and it is necessary to look away. Because the realities of abortion have to be crushed and smothered by the slick, blurry evasions of "a woman's right to choose". That's a dehumanization strategy, too. When the pro-choice rally ends and Cameron Diaz, Ashley Judd and other celebrities d'un certain age return to Hollywood, and the upper-middle-class women with the one designer baby go back to their suburbs, poor and minority and under-age women are left in the abortion-industrial complex's pro-choice back alley:
In December 2009, Metropolitan Medical Associates, based in Englewood, New Jersey, settled a $1.9 million lawsuit out of court filed by a woman who was comatose for one month following a botched abortion she received there.
Newark resident Rasheedah Dinkins had an abortion in January 2007 at the Metropolitan Medical Associates abortion business that went horribly wrong.
Dinkins, who was 22 at the time of the settlement, became severely ill following the abortion and was transferred to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center where she needed blood transfusions and had her uterus removed. She also suffered a stroke due to the serious blood loss and had one of her lungs collapse.
At the time Metropolitan Medical Associates was performing 10,000 abortions a year - or about as many as Switzerland. Among developed nations, only America kills on this scale and in this manner. You can't do it and retain your humanity.
The most forceful part of Kirsten Powers' column is the headline: "Crush Planned Parenthood." But to do that is to ask American liberals to confront honestly the metastasizing evil they have loosed upon the land. It is easier, under the cover of "choice", to go on crushing the parts of babies with no retail value.
~Today I will be keeping my weekly radio date with Hugh Hewitt, live coast to coast at 6pm Eastern/3pm Pacific.