by Reid Fitzsimons
Somewhere in the early 1980’ I switched from being pro-abortion to pro-life. I wasn’t any kind of firebrand pro-abortion activist, just one of the tens of millions of Americans who didn’t want to be troubled by thinking too hard. It took no great empathetic powers to comprehend an unexpected pregnancy can put a severe damper on life’s plans and, as Americans, we didn’t and don’t suffer interruptions to our ambitions or life-styles easily. Additionally, the feminists and social justice people of the early 80s, personified especially by Planned Parenthood, assured us we weren’t talking about ending a life but that abortion was more akin to picking boogers out of our noses. I recall three terms The Great Progressive Minds used when describing that troublesome entity residing in the uterus- a blob of tissue, a clump of cells, and, for the more intellectual among the mindless masses, the products of conception. What person in their right mind could possibly be opposed to sucking out a blob of tissue? It would be like being against hacking up a big loogie.
At this time I was a PA (Physician Assistant) student in Cleveland and I certainly possessed a cursory knowledge of embryology, so academically I knew the blob of tissue paradigm wasn’t entirely accurate, but everyone wants symbols and terminology to comport with their worldview; it allows us to not be troubled in our beliefs. During the clinical year I did a month-long inpatient gynecology rotation at hospital downtown, one that frequently did abortions. No problem for me, and I was perfectly fine with observing and assisting. Assuming most people can’t really envision the procedure, it is not one that requires high-level surgical skill. In other words, abortionists may be wealthy but are unlikely to be world-class physicians. Essentially a hollow plastic tube (curette) is passed through the cervix while attached to a suction machine and, with a little scraping and vacuuming of the uterus, viola’! problem solved. The thing is the suction tubing is transparent, and I happened to notice the promised blob being sucked into oblivion looked quite a bit like little arms and legs, with feet and fingers and things. Was it possible the progressives and good people at Planned Parenthood had engaged in a bit of deception?
But life went on. Well perhaps not for the entities that had their bodies sucked apart, but it did for me, and what could be more important? Yes, there was some discomfort perhaps, but out of sight in the clinical waste bag and out of mind. It wasn’t my fault they weren’t wanted.
A few months later I did an outpatient gyn rotation at none other than Planned Parenthood (PP). No problem for me- still pro-abortion with maybe a little wavering. It would take too much space to recount the entirety of my experiences there but it wasn’t overly dramatic and in general the employees were nice enough, though I was part of the philosophical clan. On the whole their attitude towards their patient/client base was condescending and paternalistic. Much of the work of PP consisted of routine gyn medicine- the three P’s (Pelvic exam, Pap smear, and breast Palpation, followed by a bagful of oral contraceptives or the occasional IUD insertion). Not rocket science but a real service if they could contain themselves. But of course restraint is not in the progressive DNA. I wonder how much of what is called pregnancy counseling ends in the recommendation, or coercion, for an abortion. I couldn’t find any referenced stats but I ran cross this number recently: PP aborts more than 327,000 babies each year, while referring just 1,880 pregnant women to adoption agencies. Kind of shows where their head is.
My final conversion to pro-life happened in the PP clinic in the east side of Cleveland. I was briefly introduced to a client by I believe the clinic director. This mother was extremely pregnant and the PP person was lamenting the Hyde amendment and all the other unfairness in the world that disallowed for fully government subsidized abortions, in this case a truly late-termer, you know, hacking off the arms & legs and sucking out the brain to collapse the skull, or perhaps the chemically burn until dead hypertonic saline method. But not to fear, the PP person took me aside and happily confided they had special or secret fund to deal with such situations. This was an educated, well-coiffed, probably upper middle-class woman with all the trappings of success who felt charity consisted of the destruction of an innocent baby, perhaps only days from its live birth, all the while smiling. Maybe the fact the client was black was a consideration in her satisfaction.
Now if Spock (the Vulcan, not the wealthy elitist social justice activist and author) were to apply his immutable logic it would go like this: for many years we were assured abortion was okay because the entity being terminated was merely a blob of tissue. However with, for example, the advent of annoying advanced technology such as high-resolution ultrasound, we can clearly see the entity has all those things inconsistent with blobs- legs, heads, arms, hearts, etc. Therefore basic compassionate humanity should inform us that abortion is terminating not an amorphic mass but something that looks quite a bit like a person, only little, so therefore logically… Beyond ultrasound, we are presently learning the freaky powers that be at PP are in the business of marketing baby offal, just not the crunchy parts. Liver, lung, kidney tissue, etc is highly complex and well differentiated and by definition not blob-like, hence I ask again- is it possible PP misled us? But perhaps PP is taking cues from its environmentalist brethren- a reuse and recycle kind of thing.
One’s mind can’t help but drift to the reuse and recycle philosophy as applied to concentration camp victims from an earlier statist progressive era. In researching this I learned the rendering of corpses into useful soap program was done only on an experimental scale. The concern was that if the bodies were used for commercial purposes it would have been difficult to keep the Holocaust secret, hence Himmler directed they be buried or incinerated and not abused; perhaps he was an unappreciated humanitarian after all. Unfortunately for PP a group called The Center for Medical Progress is at the moment releasing a number of videos demonstrating PP’s trafficking of fetal tissue, capturing not just the money aspect but rather grotesque comments and behaviors at the same time- PP got their hands caught the baby body parts jar! If smart phones and the internet existed back in the day of national socialism and videos of the concentration camp slaughters were somehow disseminated, one wonders if Himmler would have impugned the integrity of the concentration camp inmates by claiming it was unfair his brutality was secretly recorded and then tried to get court orders to block the release of the videos. More likely they just would have been shot- how nice that we live in a civilized time.
PP exists in the ethereal world of IRS tax-exemption in addition to receiving over a half-billion in tax dollars a year. The current fetal tissue for sale scandal has, predictably, engendered renewed calls to defund PP. This will not happen, of course, because the Republican Party, supposedly the party that protects those who can’t speak for themselves, sold its spine along with its soul long ago. Nevertheless, the argument is entertaining. PP supporters talk about the important health services it provides to women and those opposed to funding it are vile hate-filled misogynists. In the beloved spirit of compromise, something that always polls well, why can’t we fund PP, even at the levels that allow for their elites to receive their accustomed generous salaries, if they simply agree to dissociate themselves from the abortion industry. Is it possible not a single Republican politician ever came up with this concept?
Considering the rather obscene and twisted universe of PP’s existence, a reasonable person might ponder the basis for government support, especially since tax money is ostensibly barred from funding abortions. We are told, “Don’t be ridiculous, PP doesn’t use the government money for abortions.” Now imagine a local tax-exempt organization whose noble mission is to provide musical theater to the well heeled of their community. Say they apply for a government grant of $15,000 on top of their $100,000 a year budget. Some government arts council bureaucrat lauds their great charity and happily hands over the tax dollars with one stipulation- they can’t use the money to sponsor wine tastings. Previously they spent $10,000 per year on fine and rare wines out of their general funds, but now they can move $15,000 from general funds, replace it with the grant money, and buy even more expensive wine, maybe hire a band. Such is often the world of many non-profit/tax-exempt/grant receiving organizations. It can be sweet!
A couple thoughts in closing. For years I’ve chuckled when some blowhard politician piously declares the decision for abortion is between the woman and her doctor and clergy. In reality, probably approaching 100% of the time, it’s an assembly line- prep her, have some anonymous masked abortionist suck out the baby, get her money, and move her out, or more likely the money part comes first. For as long as I can remember to the present PP has euphemistically used the phrase, “products of conception,” which is scientifically accurate and sounds kind of sophisticated as well as sterile- can’t feel bad about terminating “products of conception.” Needless to say, if one has even the most rudimentary thinking ability, pretty much every living thing is a product of conception.
Planned Parenthood is truly a cruel and corrupt organization that relies on misdirection, euphemisms, and overt lies to maintain a favorable, even Teflon, public image along with generous public funding. In line with progressivism historically, it does enough actual, or ostensibly meaningful, work to protect it from criticism (think Kraft durch Freude, or Strength Though Joy). Its arrogance, selfishness, and contempt for even minimal morality is easily discovered if someone is willing to look. If they were accused of not just selling organs from aborted babies, but cooking them and marketing them as healthy snacks it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.