Charlie Danaher: Barbarism started long before the body parts

Let’s Not Misdirect Our Outrage

Charlie Danaher
In Boulder’s Daily Camera, Sept. 4, ’15

Anti-abortion activists rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol last month protesting the use in medical research of tissue samples obtained from aborted

Anti-abortion activists rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol last month protesting the use in medical research of tissue samples
obtained from aborted fetuses. (Eric Gay / AP)

Barbarism started long before the body parts

Major outrage has followed the revelations of Planned Parenthood’s side business of parting out the bodies of little ones. The sheer callousness and the nonchalant manner are disturbing for sure. The reducing of a deceased baby to merchandise and commodity is certainly barbaric. And the ability to lightheartedly desecrate and dismember a human being is depraved, to say the least. But I think we need to step back and check our outrage.

The outrage doesn’t belong with the fact that people who are hired to destroy the lives of the smallest, then try to “break even” by selling the remains of the deceased. (BTW: You can call it “getting reimbursed for expenses,” I call it “selling.” And you can call it just “breaking even,” I’m calling it making a profit.) No, the outrage is owed to the original idea that we can be justified in taking those lives. The outrage rightly lies with the fact that a so-called civilized people have stood by and allowed this killing to continue. The outrage lies with the fact that we can look at such killing and call it “choice” or “sexual liberty.”

As sick as it is, it’s tempting to think — as the Nazis did — that if we’re just going to throw the bodies in the garbage, why not put them to good use? The reasoning goes: if it’s ok to kill them, why not at least turn some part of the tragedy into a good for society. The idea is tempting. But of course, as in the case of the Nazis, the real dilemma started with the flawed and evil premise, “if we’re going to kill them anyway.

Any reasoning person will quickly conclude that the reason that we don’t “at least put them to good use” is that in doing so we legitimize the killing and encourage its future practice. The abortion apologists can claim all they want that Planned Parenthood selling body parts doesn’t encourage abortion. Wrong. Certainly the procedure’s price will be affected by the fact that they now have another revenue stream. And it doesn’t take an Einstein to see how being able to sell the “tissue” would result in the PP “counselors” steering the “patients” toward an abortion, instead of toward adoption, for instance.

By the way, about 99 percent of women with unintended pregnancies that go into PP seeking “counseling” get an abortion. So much for encouraging “choice.”

Let’s get real here. Can we really be surprised at this situation? Can we not follow the money? What the heck did we think would happen when we allowed seven black robed officials to tell us that the unborn had no protection, clear up until their birthday? Can we not anticipate how doctors will react to the knowledge that healthy, fresh human tissue is readily available for experimentation?

No, none of this is any big surprise. And no, the outrage shouldn’t be placed on the fact that an abortionist seeks to maximize the profit of their business by selling the remains. How far have we sunk that babies are discussed as commodities over salad and wine?

As barbaric as it is, we shouldn’t be outraged that it’s legal for doctors to sell the dead bodies. And as cold and brutal as it is, we shouldn’t be outraged that PP schedules their day, and each killing, so as to match that day’s order for organs, etc.

As awful as it is, the outrage shouldn’t even reside with the fact that the killer chooses to do the job so that the body is fully intact upon removal. Do we think that it’s any less horrific for Junior to have her brains sucked out while inside the womb versus outside? Do we think that it’s less gruesome to die from having the your appendages ripped off, than to have your brain harvested by having your face cut open?

No, the horror started with the idea that those lives weren’t worth protecting. The rest is just details. Unintended consequences, maybe. But foreseeable consequences, nonetheless.

But we can turn away from such insanity. We can wake up and realize that we’ve been sold a bill of goods. We can come to realize our complicity — either by omission or by commission — and decide to do something about it.

We can mourn the loss of those whose fate was abortion. We can seek forgiveness and repent. And we can renew our outlook and begin to cherish the lives of the unborn.

It is possible.

Charlie Danaher lives in Boulder.