TNR docsplains Planned Parenthood organ harvesting: Fetus parts are nothing but "products"

Normally we’d be tempted to finish the week with a palate cleanser, but … this hasn’t been that kind of a week. With that in mind, let’s go fully down the rabbit hole with The New Republic’s explainer of why the chilling conversations captured on video about the commodification of human organs from abortions shouldn’t bother anyone at all. Don’t you know that these organs, which seem to be valuable enough for Planned Parenthood to haggle over compensation, are nothing but “products”?

I … don’t think this helps the cause, frankly:

These are not “baby parts.” Whether a woman has a miscarriage or an abortion, the tissue specimen is called “products of conception.” In utero, i.e. during pregnancy, we use the term “embryo” from fertilization to ten weeks gestation and “fetus” from ten weeks to birth. The term baby is medically incorrect as it doesn’t apply until birth. Calling the tissue “baby parts” is a calculated attempt to anthropomorphize an embryo or fetus. It is a false image—a ten to twelve week fetus looks nothing like a term baby—and is medically incorrect. 

Hearing medical professionals talk casually about products of conception may seem distasteful to some, but not to doctors. Medical procedures are gory by nature. Surgeons routinely cut skin, saw bones, and lift the uterus out of the abdominal cavity and then put it back in. We stick our hands inside people and it is messy. We handle broken limbs, rotting flesh, and cancers that smell. We talk about this calmly because this is what we are trained to do. It doesn’t mean that we are heartless; it means we are professionals and this is our norm for a clinical conversation. There is no reason a conversation about products of conception requires more or less reverence than one about a kidney or a biopsy specimen.

For a quick explainer about the Orwellian nature of the phrase “products of conception,” here’s former Planned Parenthood “products of conception technician” and now pro-life activist Abby Johnson in a talk I recorded in October 2011:

“You can’t say ‘baby’ in an abortion clinic,” Johnson said. That’s the same kind of dodge that Dr. Jen Gunter tries to use in this piece, and it fails for the same reason that the videos horrify. Planned Parenthood and Gunter want to dehumanize the fetus while commodifying the “products” because they are human. If they were not human, they would not provide value to Planned Parenthood in the marketplace.

Gunter tries another sleight of hand by equating the aborted child to a biopsy specimen or a kidney, presumably for a transplant, although Gunter doesn’t clarify that. Removing a kidney or a biopsy specimen doesn’t necessitate the termination of the human being from which they come. If removing those human parts from a patient resulted in its death, it would be actionable malpractice, if not criminal. The sale of such tissue would definitely be criminal. It would, in fact, reduce human beings to a collection of “products” for others to manipulate — which is exactly what the Planned Parenthood videos demonstrated.

TNR presents Gunter as an OB/GYN, but one has to wonder about the expertise of such a specialist if she writes that “a ten to twelve week fetus looks nothing like a term baby.” Kirsten Powers expressed shock over that claim:

Actually, as this from Consumer Health Digest and many other resources explain, the baby is very much recognizable as a human being at 12 weeks. Its structures have all developed, and the child will increase its activity at this stage, even though it weighs about half an ounce (the graphic does not have the decimal in the “.49 ounce” label):

If this looks “nothing like a term baby” to an OB/GYN, then she’s in the wrong profession — or at least may need a vision check stat. But of course Gunter and her fellow abortion apologists know that a human being at 12 weeks of gestation not only looks human, but is human. That’s dictated by science and observation. It’s absurd beyond belief, and an offense on both humane and linguistic considerations, to use the phrase “anthropomorphize the fetus.” The fetus cannot be anthropomorphized because it is already human. If it wasn’t, Planned Parenthood wouldn’t get any interest in the “products” for which it transacts.

By the way, if abortion for 12-week-old fetuses OK only because it supposedly doesn’t look like a “term baby,” then what’s the rationale for abortions at 16 weeks? 20 weeks? Beyond?

As D. C. McAlister correctly deduces, they’re flailing for rationalizations to explain away the inhumanity of abortion in general, and Planned Parenthood’s executives specifically:

Despite Gunter’s arrogant scolding, the fact of the matter is you can call something by any name you like, but it doesn’t change the fact of what it is. A human liver is a human liver. A human brain is a human brain. It doesn’t matter if it’s inside the uterus one minute (call it a fetus) or outside the next (presto, it’s a preemie baby); it’s still human.

But Gunter and the butchers at Planned Parenthood don’t want to use that term or any designation that will prick their darkened consciences. They don’t want to “anthropomorphize the fetus.” Of course, that makes perfect sense. If they were ever honest about the humanity they’re crushing, crunching, grinding, and dissecting, they’d be monsters. They’d be psychopaths. But they’re not psychopaths. They’re stable, normal human beings. To remain that way, they have to use terms like “products of conception.” They have to, in a word, dehumanize. …

The road to atrocity is paved with dehumanization. It’s necessary. It’s a normal part of all genocide, and it’s exploited and propagated by propaganda, by the use of seemingly harmless terms like products of conception. ­“All political and nationalist propaganda aims at only one thing,” Aldous Huxley wrote, “to persuade one set of people that another set of people are not really human and that it is therefore legitimate to rob, swindle, bully, and even murder them.”

It goes against our nature to kill a person like ourselves, so we have to dehumanize others to overcome the normal human aversion to murder. “Most people would hesitate to torture or kill a human being like themselves,” Huxley wrote. “But when that human being is spoken of as though he were not a human being . . . we lose our scruples.”

Gunter cannot confront the humanity of the fetus, so she and her allies at Planned Parenthood call it a “product,” and set up markets to trade the product for compensation. It’s ghastly enough to do this, but it’s even more so to read Gunter’s scolding over attempts to recognize the humanity extinguished by abortion while defending Planned Parenthood’s machinations to profit off of that humanity.

This might be even more disgusting than the video’s casual discussion of prices from their organ harvesting. And oddly, more revealing.