Organs, Tissues, & Planned Parenthood

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Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 10.24.50 PMThe recent debacle surrounding planned parenthood has been… well, uproarious to say the least. Some people are saying that PP is selling organs for profit, some are saying that PP is not making a profit but using the money for processing fees. I am not going to try to parse through the competing information on this. What I want to do is something similar to what I did with my post on genetic engineering and human children… I want to go through the possible scenarios and come to a reasonable conclusion that can be applied, no matter what the truth of the situation is.

I’d also like to make an important suggestion. Before we say “I disagree”, we should seek to understand what is really happening. Once we understand it, we can point out the problems with it. There’s no need for us to fabricate evil… if the evil truly is there. For those unaware of my stance on abortion, I am pro-life. I wrote about it here.

In case you’ve been living under a rock (or perhaps you are a recently recovering Luddite) a video recently came out that allegedly shows that Planned Parenthood is making a profit selling fetal organs and tissues (btw it is legal).
Here’s the video:

There was a whole bunch of responses saying that PP isn’t actually selling body parts, responses dismissing what was said because of who said it (LOLfallacies), and there is a longer, unedited version of this (that I have not watched yet) that supposedly shows that there was some sneaky editing going on. Which I guess doesn’t totally surprise me. We all know what we can do with video editing.

And even more recently, another video seemed to reveal even more stuff regarding Planned Parenthood’s dealing with selling organs and tissues. This video (I chose it because of this) starts off with Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America saying “I want to be really clear. The allegation that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation is not true”.

Now that we’re all up to speed, I want to take a look at the meta-issue behind the question. Why is it that so many people were repulsed when they heard that people were selling organs? Was it because people don’t like the idea of making money by selling tissues? Well, probably not. I’m not aware of any decent arguments against donors being paid for their donation, but that’s an entirely different topic.

It seems to me that the real issue behind this is, just like every other discussion revolving around unborn human beings, whether or not abortions are morally justifiable. If we start with the position that abortions are morally permissible, then I see no real reason to object to selling the tissues and making a profit from those tissues. Especially if the tissues are collected prior to ‘viability’ of the unborn. If the unborn human can be removed from the uterus (and thus, killed) without moral hazard, why can’t women get pregnant for the purpose of donating fetal tissues and making some extra money? I genuinely don’t see the problem. And if there is an organization that removes and stores the tissues and organs, they should be able to charge a fair price for their services, as well as ‘haggle’ over price with potential customers. Why not? That’s how the market works.
Heck, if I could donate a kidney for some extra money, regrow that same kidney and donate it again for some more money, I would totally do consider doing that. I seriously do not believe that people are outraged by people making money.

If the unborn human being’s life can be ended without blinking a moral eye, so be it. If this affords women the ability to donate or sell tissues/organs from fetuses, great. More money for the women, more tissues for the scientists.
However… abortion is not morally permissible.
To re-phrase a quote by Scott Klusendorf, I am totally in favor of fetal organ and tissue donation… IF… the unborn isn’t valuable. If the unborn has value, then I am against this procedure 100%. Not because I am against organ or tissue donation/sales, but because these organs and tissues came about by the deliberate destruction of valuable, unborn human persons.

For this reason, I’d like to make a practical suggestion.
Talk about this Planned Parenthood issue, but use it to talk about the real issue behind it; abortion.
Use the disgust that people feel to ask why they are disgusted by it.

But please don’t just call Planned Parenthood evil.

For a really, seriously great post on this topic, check out Josh Brahm’s thoughts on the topic. I also think J.W. Wartick did a great job showing how the recent PP debacle should make us rethink the [in]famous violinist analogy.



3 thoughts on “Organs, Tissues, & Planned Parenthood

    Jul said:
    August 26, 2015 at 7:09 am

    Would you say that if an activity is not morally permissible, that engaging in that activity is evil? If so, than one can certainly make the argument that the inception of the PP organization was evil, and continuation of that activity through that organization is, by extension, evil.

    You ask in your conclusion for PP not to be referred to as evil, which appears to be the summary of argument. However, your own argument that abortion is not morally permissible seems to defy that conclusion.


      ElijiahT responded:
      August 26, 2015 at 9:57 am

      My suggestion was meant as a “please don’t merely call PP evil”

      Too many people will just throw that word out there without proper justification. I am encouraging people to show that PP is evil and in doing so, you won’t even have to use the word. You can if you want, but merely calling them evil and leaving it at that is rarely helpful.


        Jul said:
        August 26, 2015 at 10:56 pm

        Thanks for the clarification!


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