Editor's Note: This column was co-authored by Dr. Kathy Raviele, a practicing ObGyn and past president of the Catholic Medical Association.
Planned Parenthood now claims it will stop taking payment for harvesting the hearts, brains and other organs of preborn babies. But the shocking revelations of the depraved harvesting industry itself should give everyone pause, particularly medical professionals.
Does a woman’s right to choose abortion in America now include approval of the carefully calculated dismemberment of her unborn child as a “humanitarian undertaking” to advance science, as Planned Parenthood asserts? This is eerily reminiscent of the rationales for unethical human experimentation condemned in the past. Whether or not any laws have been broken (and it seems likely they have), the conversations recorded with Planned Parenthood physicians talking about fetal livers while munching a salad clearly demonstrate an unconscionable disregard for human life.
Tragically, the response of major medical associations and organizations has been a deafening silence. Not only must our legislators seriously consider redirecting Planned Parenthood’s funding to real health care clinics in light of the outrageous disclosures contained in these videotapes, all physicians and medical professionals committed to the intrinsic dignity of human life must take the lead in vociferously denouncing Planned Parenthood’s inhumane practices.
Scientific evidence has established that preborn babies have well-developed pain receptors by 16 weeks after conception and are capable of experiencing pain by 20 weeks. Therefore, we know that many of these preborn infants feel intense pain during the abortion procedures performed by practitioners in Planned Parenthood facilities.
These are human beings at a stage of development through which all of us have passed at one time. Who is safeguarding the well being of these tiny children? Planned Parenthood has consistently resisted all attempts to place any restrictions on abortions throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy, including late term partial birth abortions. Certainly there would be a tremendous public outcry with demands for legal and legislative action if baby seals or pandas were subjected to such treatment and inflicted with such pain.
Planned Parenthood and its proponents insist they need to continue receiving over $500 million dollars in annual taxpayer funding to provide adequate healthcare services to women. They warn that without this funding, medical care for women in the United States would be jeopardized. This simply is not the case.
In fact, there are 209,000 primary care physicians and over 21,000 obstetrician- gynecologists available in the United States to provide comprehensive medical care for all women’s health care needs. For those women who cannot afford health insurance and are not eligible for Medicaid, there are 13,540 community health clinics throughout the country, including federally qualified health centers that actually provide comprehensive care for women—compared to only 665 Planned Parenthood centers nationwide that provide a very narrow range of services.
The fact is Planned Parenthood is in the business of abortion and is the single largest provider of it in the United States, performing one in every three abortions. Abortions account for about 95% of their pregnancy-related services and the abortion-to-referral-for-
Deeply disturbing is the knowledge that there appears to have been an incentive in certain Planned Parenthood facilities for selectively harvesting human organs for sale. Of equally grave concern is the evidence that abortion practitioners alter surgical procedures, and fail to necessarily obtain the informed consent of the patient, to ensure the harvesting of organs intact. Current law governing the procurement and use of fetal tissue strictly prohibits abortionists from altering the conduct of a procedure in order to harvest fetal tissue or seek reward for obtaining it.
It is clearly time to re-direct the $528 million dollars in taxpayer funding that Planned Parenthood now receives to community health care centers providing a wide range of health care services for women. We implore all physicians and medical professionals who have sworn an oath to “do no harm” to join with organizations like the Catholic Medical Association in condemning these unethical practices of Planned Parenthood.
Women who have had abortions in the past and were told that their unborn child was just a “blob of tissue” must be horrified by these videos and are rightly feeling greatly betrayed. All women and babies deserve much better than this. We must speak out in defense of both women’s and children’s health and to end the exploitation of women in crisis pregnancies.