Bioethics Blogs

Tissue Donation and Barbarism

Much has been written about “the Planned Parenthood videos” taken by the activist group Center for Medical Progress (CMP), far beyond my poor power to add or detract.  But I can’t help but think that, as with organ donation at the end of life, once practitioners start looking beyond the death of a human being, their mindset is on a procedure, not on humanity.   The concern is being expectantly ready to procure and process “tissue” once the individual is dead, and there is necessarily pressure to hasten or control that moment.

I also can’t help think that many people who might have considered themselves at least somewhat “pro-choice” are a bit startled to see what these videos expose.  Or maybe they don’t follow the news outlets that have covered the story, and so are unaware.  But this is a sort of package deal: once one buys into abortion on demand, one buys into this sort of barbarism.

And barbarism is what we have been shown.  One of the clearest and best pieces on the recent developments was George Will’s column for the Washington Post.  I recommend it.

And so, what to do about it?  There is a steady, unrelenting drumbeat of exposure of the truth.  I can only suppose it will take rather more time, but I expect it will advance.  One way to get people to stop doing something is to make it repulsive.  Look at smoking.  I think the CMP people get this.

And certainly, end the taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.  The politics of representative government, and the force of PP’s supporters being what they are, a stand-alone measure stalled in the Senate.  And so we move on to the increasingly well-worn alternative:  to “shut down the government,” that is, for the Congress to refuse to appropriate funds until this one item is removed, with subsequent sniping about whether the president or the Congress is to blame.  I generally am not a fan of this tactic.  It strikes me as overreaching, ultimately counterproductive, more a means of complaining than reforming, more vainglorious than effective.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.