Several people have already addressed this “scandal” involving Planned Parenthood, in which a surreptitious video is used to depict that the women’s healthcare advocacy organization is engaging in trafficking body parts of fetuses, but i still want to comment on this issue.
First, here are several responses which are much better than mine:
-Michelle Goldberg writing at The Nation
-Jessica Valenti writing at The Guardian
-Andrea Grimes writing at RH Reality Check
I want to recommend you read all those pieces before reading mine. That being said, I also want to mention a couple of other things about this “scandal”.
First, doesn’t it say something about how desperate the pro-life movement is? Despite the numerous amount of laws passed by various States to curtail abortion access since President Obama’s win in 2008, they have gained little-to-no ground at the Federal level since the passage of Roe vs. Wade in 1973. The public’s opinion on abortion has not changed at all, and overwhelmingly the public wants to see abortion remain legal. The only way that pro-life advocates think they can move public opinion is to highlight the gruesome details of how abortion is performed. And even that won’t change anyone’s minds. The Gosnell trial that was supposedly the key to victory for those who want to see abortion eradicated got them nowhere. And no, it’s not because the mainstream media ignored it.
Second, the gruesome details of abortion do not have anything to do with the reasons as to why it is a public necessity. I’m sure people of all political ideologies would find the details of brain surgery to be discomforting, yet nobody in their right mind would sincerely advocate that brain surgery should be illegal. So why isn’t it the same for abortion? People need abortions just as they do surgery. Isn’t it also discomforting to force a woman who was raped to carry to term the result of that horrific incident? Isn’t it also discomforting to strip away women’s choice of when they should get pregnant? To me, taking away women’s reproductive rights is much more disgusting than any detail of how an abortion is performed.
Lastly, and I know this has already been pointed out by the women I linked to above, why isn’t anybody questioning the validity of the Center for Medical Progress? Unless I’m wrong, none of the people involved with this organization have any medical expertise whatsoever. In fact, the organization that does have overwhelming support from the medical community is Planned Parenthood. And sure, I get that their is a debate among those in the bioethics community over whether it is ethical to use the parts of fetuses for further advances in medical science. But let’s not pretend that’s actually the purpose of releasing this footage. This was released by a politically motivated group in a sad and pathetic attempt to move the public debate on abortion towards their way of thinking. It’s not like Republican politicians (both Congressmen and presidential candidates alike) aren’t already seizing on this video as an excuse to further roll back women’s reproductive rights.
This “scandal” will not have an affect on the public’s opinion on abortion. Sure, Planned Parenthood may get some bad publicity in the meantime. And yes, Republican politicians will continue to pass bills attacking a woman’s right to choose (see above). But people also know the truth. America already knows that Planned Parenthood does way more than just abortion, despite what past Republican politicians have tried to claim. Americans everywhere are dealing with the consequences of cutting back women’s healthcare services in places all over the country. We will not go the way of El Salvador and Ireland. Americans are way too smart for that, despite our squeamishness about the subject of abortion.