‘We were at one, blood to blood, as no other kind of union could make us,” the English essayist Malcolm Muggeridge wrote, recalling giving blood to his wife during a medical emergency.
“At no point in our long relationship,” he recalled, “has there been a more ecstatic moment than when I saw my life-blood pouring into hers to revivify it.”
“To give life,” he continued: “this was what love was for; to give it in all circumstances and eventualities, whether God creating the universe, or a male and female creating another human being; whereas to destroy life, be it in a fertilized ovum one second after conception, or in some octogenarian or sufferer from a fatal illness, was the denial of life and so the antithesis of love.”
This “antithesis of love,” masked in rhetoric of faux sanctification, can be heard in much of our oftentimes-bipartisan political and cultural adulation of Planned Parenthood.
Exhibit A might be the mutual gushing at a 2013 conference organized by the country’s biggest abortion provider.
“I love you!” one audience member said.
“I love you back!” the president of the United States replied.
President Barack Obama ended his ode to Planned Parenthood — a master and commander, in many ways, of the Democratic party — with: “God bless Planned Parenthood.”
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Planned Parenthood, according to reports, is a leading reason why the White House will not relent and has kept the Little Sisters of the Poor in court fighting the coercive Obamacare insurance mandate for abortion pills, contraception, and female sterilization. Is there any reason but a blinding ideology why you would want to victimize self-sacrificial women who serve the elderly poor?
And, during his celebration of Planned Parenthood, President Obama took time to criticize the organization’s enemies: “The fact is, after decades of progress, there’s [sic] still those who want to turn back the clock to policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century. And they’ve been involved in an orchestrated and historic effort to roll back basic rights when it comes to women’s health.”
“A lot of people want liver” is a very different kind of conversation caught on camera in an undercover investigation by the Center for Medical Progress. “Yesterday was the first day she said people wanted lung,” explained Deborah Nucatola, the senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood, while eating lunch with actors posing as representatives of the Fetal Tissue Procurement Company. They were discussing the business of harvesting body parts after an abortion. During a late-term abortion, she explained, Planned Parenthood doctors take some care to make sure, while killing a vulnerable unborn child, to keep parts intact. It helps local Planned Parenthood affiliates “do a little better than break even.”
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Planned Parenthood also believes that this work of harvesting organs from aborted children is a “humanitarian undertaking,” as a public-relations firm associated with the organization explained upon the release of the video.
Which makes one pause — doesn’t it? — to consider what it even means to be human.
As Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, puts it: “In this instance we see conscience dulled to the point of extinction. The people taking the developing child’s organs first took the child’s life. Forgetting who these small human beings are, they forget their own humanity.”
“The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any higher instance than ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves,” as Pope Francis, in his recent encyclical on creation, quoted his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
“Pointing to God as the common father of all creation, and to the unity of the human family, Pope Francis is also able to stress the interconnectedness of all living things,” says Chad Pecknold, associate professor of theology at the Catholic University of America. “And thus in calling us to care for creation he leaves nothing out. If we care about how orca whales are treated or mistreated, then we also ought to care for unborn babies in the womb.”
And yet: We often see nothing but ourselves and our wills. Choice, you know. Choice as an end and a great height of existence. Choice that ignores who we are and what we owe one another. What gratitude we ought to feel for our lives — such a wonder to behold, even with its headaches and hurts, its imperfections, failures, and challenges.
This happens when we become overwhelmed by reality and seek to control it, even if it means destroying it. And destruction is a poison in the bloodstream of Planned Parenthood.
“Love toward men, ” — Muggeridge quotes Dostoevsky — “but love without belief in God, very naturally leads to the greatest coercion over men, and turns their lives completely into hell on earth”
A window into something of hell can be seen in that lunch conversation about the commodification of discarded human life, in the Center for Medical Progress video.
When President Obama said, “God bless Planned Parenthood,” he wasn’t so much offering a petitionary prayer as he was invoking God’s seal of approval.
When President Obama said, “God bless Planned Parenthood,” he wasn’t so much offering a petitionary prayer as he was invoking God’s seal of approval. With this sentence, he made official what we knew already: He is all-in when it comes to the ideology of Planned Parenthood, the sexual revolution gone establishment, driving our politics and our culture and the lives of our elites, but pressing also the poor and desperate, those feeling most alone and vulnerable, not sure whom to turn to.
Although people have debates about animosity toward Planned Parenthood and the ethics of pretending in an investigation to be someone you aren’t, it is nonetheless a moral necessity to confront the reality of the commodification of human life and the subjection of creation to our confused wills.
“We must move beyond the ubiquitous culture of relativism in which everything around are mere objects to use and then throw away as so much trash,” says Fordham University professor Charles C. Camosy, the author of For Love of Animals: Christian Ethics, Consistent Action and Beyond the Abortion Wars: A Way Forward for a New Generation.
“The moral reality of the babies is simply erased from these scenarios, and they are sources of things we can harvest, while the rest gets crushed and discarded,” Camosy tells me.
#related#In his 1980 Human Life Review essay, “The Humane Holocaust,” Muggeridge wrote: “We should never forget that if ever there was a killing without mercy, a death without dignity, it was on Golgotha. Yet from that killing, what a pouring out of mercy throughout the subsequent centuries! From that death, what a stupendous enhancement of human dignity!”
“We are confronted today with the essential question of what it means to be human,” says Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life. “How we answer affects us all. This is a moral flashpoint for our country that will define our generation.”
Sexual revolutionary ideology can’t be our guiding star. The harvesting of the organs of innocents who were sacrificed on the altar of choice is where that gets us. Seeing this can be a moment that revivifies, like that gift Malcolm Muggeridge gave his wife. And it shows us a life-giving North Star, one that inculcates gratitude and restores life in a civilization of love.
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review Online, and an alum of the Catholic University of America. She is co-author of the upcoming revised and updated edition of How to Defend the Faith without Raising Your Voice. This column is based on one available exclusively through Andrews McMeel Universal’s Newspaper Enterprise Association.