At the beginning of the staggered release of the videos by the Center for Medical Progress showing the abortion industry’s practice of selling baby body parts for profit, the question of whether the videos should have been taken in the first place rose up.
It’s still an issue with some, mainly, it seems, those who want to protect Planned Parenthood and believe they are a just organization. But by and large, the conversation has shifted away from the possibly unethical nature of the procurement of video footage, to the unethical practice of procurement of the body parts of children for profit.
In what seems to me an astute analysis of where the emphasis regarding morals in this situation should be placed, Crisis Magazine has laid it out quite nicely in this reflection. I do think the ethical questions need to be asked, but it can’t stop with the production details of the videos; too many lives are at stake to not look beyond that surface question.
Many have been aware for years that the abortion industry carries some dark secrets. Until now, we just haven’t really known the extent, or been given a long enough glance to really process the weight of it. The videos have opened up a whole new layer, and by now, it seems plain ignorance to look away. As a journalist, I believe in ethical integrity in our work. But I also believe that there are times throughout human history when we realize what we’ve deemed legal isn’t necessarily ethical. Case in point: slavery. And some would say abortion falls into that category too.
So how do we weigh all this out? Where does our moral obligation to one aspect of an issue become overridden by another?
In a way, the videos that have come out recently, courtesy of citizen journalist David Daleidon and his team at CMP, remind me of the final scenes in the Wizard of Oz, when Toto the dog pulls open the curtain on the “wizard,” exposing his deception. Of course, Toto was an innocent little dog, but in many ways, he is also the hero of the story. David and Toto have something in common, for it seems he’s uncovered a deception that has been quietly tarnishing the soul of our nation. Even though we struggle with what we are seeing, my impression is that most people sense that it’s better to know than live in ignorance.
I admire those who have sacrificed years of their lives for this cause, and am in awe at the power of a video to change the nature of a nation’s conversation. Because of the CMP’s arduous efforts, our discussion about abortion has shifted. In a matter of months, the American conscience has been awakened. Fewer are ducking this topic, and many have become more engaged and even moved to action.
My youngest son joined me the morning of the recent protest here in our city, which gathered with the rest of the nation in an uprising against this tragedy. He doesn’t understand all the implications, but like every other young person I know, he sees straight through to the wrongness of abortion.
“A person is a person no matter how small,” Horton said, and it’s true.
It was fun to see the sign of Pastor Lyle Kath, featured in a story for The Forum I wrote that ran on Saturday, with those telling words at the protests against Planned Parenthood this past weekend both in Fargo and our neighboring city of Moorhead, which together drew in about 300 protesters locally.
I admire people like Pastor Kath who are willing to give up a cozy Saturday to stand outside with signs for causes they believe in, and those from CMP who, like Toto, smelled something awry coming from behind the curtain, and decided to do something about it. Because of them, we have been enlightened to a heart-wrenching injustice. So far, nine videos have emerged, with more to come. We don’t have to like them. We don’t have to watch them all. But we would be ignorant now to turn away.
Abortion is a hard topic, but so have been other atrocities in our history. In those times, some looked away. And as we look back with a historical eye, we cringe to think of the opportunities that many missed to make a difference.
This is the one earthly life we have, and at the end of it, we will have to answer for our actions. Did we look away? Or did we take a stand? Did we go silent, or pretend what we knew was happening really wasn’t? What will we say? What will God say? It’s up to us to decide, each one of us, and the kind of evidence produced by these videos can help us choose rightly. Because now, we can see, even if it is hard.
Q4U: Were you ever stirred by a video, book or speech? What was it? How did you respond?