Why Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Care Abortion Takes Human Life

There was some sturm and drang at The Corner yesterday. Andrew Johnson’s posted an entry noting Planned Parenthood’s abortion honcho sniffing that the humanity of the aborted fetus is irrelevant. Many angry comments ensued and Drudge put it on his front page. From the quote:

The president of the country’s largest abortion provider said she didn’t think the matter of when life begins is pertinent to the issue. “It is not something that I feel is really part of this conversation,” Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos on Thursday. “I don’t know if it’s really relevant to the conversation.”

Why is anyone surprised?  Planned Parenthood is really in the “right to a dead baby” business. Recall, for example, a lobbyist for Florida’s PP refusing to rule out infanticide after a botched abortion if that is what the mother wants. From my post of March 29, 2013: 

“So, um, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief,” said Rep. Jim Boyd. “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”

“We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician,” said Planned Parenthood lobbyist [Alisa Laport] Snow.

Note the (im)moral consistency between Richards and Snow. The real issues for PP are getting paid and the right to a dead baby.

What’s this all about? Pro-abortion leaders believe in an unfettered right to terminate at any time for any reason, which they see as the fundamental predicate to attaining true equality for women, This is the position, for example, of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. 

Under this theory, Roe v Wade should be overturned–but from the other direction–because it allows too many restrictive regulations.

This could easily be justifed by shifting the relevant moral criteria from “humanhood”–as in Roe–to “personhood,” e.g., possessing certain “morally relevant” cognitive capacities.

This is the perspective of many leading bioethicists, which is why some think the life of a pig has greater value than that of a baby. From my First Things column, “A Pro-Abortion Reversal of Roe?”

As an article in the UCLA Law Review supportive of the equal protection standard put it, “Crucially, once the Supreme Court recognizes that people have a right to [abortion] by virtue of equal citizenship,” the right would be “on a stronger legal and political footing,” making it far less susceptible to the current pro-life strategy of “chipping away.”…

But many powerful voices no longer consider “human life” to be a morally relevant category. For example, the mainstream bioethics movement argues that what matters morally isn’t being “human” but possessing sufficient mental capacities”such as being self-aware”to be considered a “person.” In this view, only persons have a right to life. Since a fetus does not possess personhood capacities at any time during gestation”contrary to Roe ”the state has no interest in protecting fetal life even after viability.

To Recap: The American People may believe that “when a human life begins” is very relevant to the question of abortion, but leaders of the pro-abortion movement don’t.

And here’s the problem: They are well ensconced among ruling class elites. What these neo Patricians want often becomes law–regardless of the contrary opinions of the American people.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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