That is the question raised in an op-ed over at the NYT (hat tip to The Gospel Coalition), covering the recent video sting of planned parenthood operatives calmly (while eating lunch!) discussing how they make sure to crush the unborn child in a manner that allows them to still harvest the vital organs to sell.
There are still 10 more videos to release, beyond the one above and this one, so we can expect more outrage. Modern technology is giving us the ability to bring to light what the world would prefer to stay in darkness. Yet it is very difficult for those on the other side of the debate especially to grapple with:
Because dwelling on that content gets you uncomfortably close to Selzer’s tipping point — that moment when you start pondering the possibility that an institution at the heart of respectable liberal society is dedicated to a practice that deserves to be called barbarism.
That’s a hard thing to accept. It’s part of why so many people hover in the conflicted borderlands of the pro-choice side. They don’t like abortion, they think its critics have a point … but to actively join our side would require passing too comprehensive a judgment on their coalition, their country, their friends, their very selves.
Sometimes we are called to make hard choices. While for those of us on the pro-life side this is a no-brainer, for those on the other side, it was easier when it was all hidden. Now it’s out in the open, and not in quite the “in your face” way of all those pictures of aborted babies that we used to see carried by pro-life protesters on the street corner back in the 80s and early 90s.
So what does this mean in political economy? When I was a much younger man, a nominal catholic co-worker friend confided to me that despite being very much in tune with Democratic politics (especially environmental issues), he had made a vow never to vote for a candidate that was supportive of abortion. He couldn’t cross that line. I think a question for us, is what do we make of the data on political contributions from Planned Parenthood? Please click thru to see the entire list (not easy to copy here–sorry)–but suffice it to say that pro-abortion groups give a lot of money (almost all to Democrats) and spend much money lobbying congress to maintain their brutal business, often with public funds.*
This ought to be a moment of clarity for Christians–if you ever were on the fence of the morality of planned parenthood, it ought to push you off the fence. I know of no way to defend what Planned Parenthood is doing, beyond the morally reprehensible “the ends justify the means.” Surely that cannot be an acceptable Christian response. So my challenge to all of us, is what do we do with this?
To our progressive readers especially, what will you do with this? Will you make peace with this, or will you rise up to challenge your fellow progressives that this evil must end? You have a slightly higher burden in the political process simply because you are part of the progressive polity–its possible you may have some ability to influence those in the Democratic party, whereas I and my fellow Bereans have almost none. And what will you do if they will not change? Of course there are many dimensions of our values, and abortion is simply one of those dimensions. While others are arguably gray, this is one that is remarkably black and white–at least in my eyes. But will Christians continue to insist that they see gray? What these videos do is remove our excuses: we now see, we now understand, and are now at least partially complicit if we do nothing.
*Money is fungible; do not fall prey to the deception that there are nice, neat little accounting lines that separate $$. That may be technically true, but it doesn’t overcome the fact that were federal funding not given to PP in one area, it would have to have been made up with private donations from another area, or PP would have had to stop it. I think the videos surely show that PP tries to find ways around any restrictions for their activities.