Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in California..
[Update: Check out these columns by two of the best and most courageous writers on this issue:
"Crush Planned Parenthood" by USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers, and "deas for Reporters Struggling to Cover Planned Parenthood," by the Federalist's Mollie Hemingway.
With GOP on Capitol Hill poised to launch a fresh investigation into Planned Parenthood's role in the trafficking of fetal organs, Heminway suggets some useful questions,and here are a few:
How much money does Planned Parenthood receive via sales of baby organs? Do they keep records? Are those records trustworthy?
How far along in a pregnancy must a woman be for her child’s organs to be considered worthwhile for procurement, sale and transfer? How much does the value of a child’s liver, heart, lungs, etc., increase with time?]
These columns mark the release of a second video taping Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood's now notorious medical director, casually explaining her strategy for harvesting fetal organs destined for the research marketplace, left the international abortion provider running for cover.]
Produced by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, the first video features the medical director discussing her special technique for extracting valuable fetal organs destined for medical researchers:
So then you’re just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers, you try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact. And with the calvarium, in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex, because when it’s vertex presentation, you never have enough dilation at the beginning of the case, unless you have real, huge amount of dilation to deliver an intact calvarium.
Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, released a video that offered her solemn apology for Deborah Nucatola's "tone" of the medical director's remarks. Richards rejected allegations that Planned Parenthood was involved in selling fetal body parts to medical researchers.
And just as most major news organizations had jumped to Planned Parenthood's defense, without digging into the issues that surfaced in the video, so Richards' apology was posted by news outlets like Reuters with little or no independent analysis.
But Kathleen Parker, the Washington Post's consistently brilliant and no-nonsense columnist, wasn't prepared to let Richards -- or the rest of the fetal body parts supply chain -- off the hook.
"Planned Parenthood’s response to the video has focused on clarifying that no parts are sold for profit. The organization’s affiliates only seek to recoup the cost of doing business. President Cecile Richards also has apologized for Nucatola’s tone," noted Parker, who said the medical director's statements pointed to a broader commercial market for fetal body parts.
"Eventually, profits will be made — perhaps with medications enabled by research on a 24-week-old fetus’s brain stem. Just think: No unwanted baby; no burden to society; plus treatment for someone’s dementia — a perfect trifecta, made in hell."
Parker put her finger on the rationalizations that surfaced in most other news reports about the undercover video--to the degree that media websites actually permitted coverage of the story. See Mollie Hemingway's report on the media's adoption of Planned Parenthood's talking points here.
Said Parker: "And tone isn’t the issue. The issue is that we’re commodifying human fetuses and harvesting parts for distribution in the marketplace, using rationalizations that can justify anything."
And just in case you think that Planned Parenthood's cold-hearted medical director has confined her expertise to the abortion business, we now learn that she serves as a consultant for the Center for Disease Control and the Department of Health and Human Services "healthy baby" initiative. Read this breaking news report here.
Last week, when the video was released, the Washington Post acknowledged that it could damage Planned Parenthood
"The video threatens to reignite a long-standing debate over the use of fetal tissue harvested through abortions and could add fuel to efforts seeking to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy," explained the Post.
But no one, except for Kathleen Parker and her ilk, wants to confront the brutal truth that the real story here isn't Planned Parenthood's political troubles, but the increasingly mainstream work of trafficking in fetal organs. Depending on the crowd you run with, it makes perfect sense.
Now let's see if the CDC or HHS end their contract with Dr. Deborah Nucatola.