Erasing the Truth About Planned Parenthood

Original Article

When videos were released of Planned Parenthood executives apparently admitting that fetuses are harvested for their body parts for pay after abortions, many pro-lifers were hopeful that—at last—a tipping point had been reached that would discredit the organization responsible for more than 300,000 feticides in the United States each year.

Dream on. As I wrote elsewhere at the time, a nation that embraced Jack Kevorkian as a “compassionate” crusader—even though his stated goal was to conduct experiments on living people he was euthanizing—and that also supported the cruel intentional dehydration death of Terri Schiavo at the orders of her husband—living at the time with his “fiancé” by whom he had sired two children—was unlikely to remain upset for long by the utilitarian use of fetal parts obtained in an abortion. And indeed, righteous rage soon cooled into resigned apathy, as the story disappeared from the mainstream public discourse.

But burying the truth wasn’t enough for our ruling class. Planned Parenthood is more than an abortion provider and dispenser of contraception. Its more potent role is as a potent cultural symbol—to both supporters and detractors of the ongoing cultural contest between what is often called traditional morality around sexuality and the sanctity of human life and modern mores that extol abortion as essential to ensuring women’s equality.

The mainstream media is adamantly on the side of the modernists. Thus, it didn’t take long for newspapers like the New York Timesand television journalists to claim—without factual substantiation—that the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress had been edited to create a false impression and were, thus, “discredited.” How? The videos accurately depicted the conversations the undercover investigators had with the PP executives, and moreover, the raw footage of the entire conversations were released concomitantly with those edited for time.

As I said, that wasn’t a surprise. But what did cause this writer’s jaw to drop was aggressive tactic of Planned Parenthood-supporting law enforcement officials to use their police power to attack David Daleiden, the undercover activists who filmed the PP officials chirpily discussing performing abortions in a less “crunchy” manner to obtain usable parts. Indeed, proving the old adage that a DA can get a grand jury to indict toast—Daleiden was charged with felonies at the urging of a Democrat DA in Texas. (In this regard, contrast the manhunt by officials of Daleiden with the pampering of undercover animal rights activists who obtain jobs in animal industries under false pretenses for the purpose of surreptitiously videotaping supposed cruelty. A law prohibiting such “undercover” activities has been declared unconstitutional by a federal court based on the First Amendment.)

Daleiden’s home was also raided at the orders of California’s pro-abortion Attorney General, Kamala Harris—now running for the U.S. Senate—who has, not coincidentally, received Planned Parenthood political donations. Daleiden’s computers were seized in a raid of his home as well as unpublished videos that the pro-life activist has said provides further proof of Planned Parenthood’s alleged illegal fetal body part trafficking.

It is in this atmosphere that a Congressional committee just held hearings trying to get to the bottom of Planned Parenthood’s activities—the group announced it will henceforth provide fetal parts to researchers without cost, adding heft to Daleiden’s charge that the organization profited from sold fetal parts. We also learned at the hearing, that obtaining fetal parts did not add to Planned Parenthood’s costs, thereby disproving their original defense that the cost of procurement the group used to charge merely reimbursed its incurred expenses. (For more on the hearings, see Mollie Hemingway’s sterling summary and analysis in The Federalist.)

Didn’t really hear much about those hearings, did you? That’s not surprising. The media has decided not to cover the Planned Parenthood story except when it cuts against Daleiden and the pro-life movement. Concomitantly, the ruling elite has dedicated itself to protecting Planned Parenthood from the consequences of its actions. Worse, a strong message has been sent that not only is Planned Parenthood potentially above the law, but that concerted efforts to discredit the organization will be met with criminal charges or investigations against those seeking to undermine the organization.

A Congressional hearing here and there can’t do much to counter those hurricane winds. That chill in the air doesn’t have anything to do with the weather.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.