Pope John Paul II on the Culture of Death at Planned Parenthood

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Planned Barrenhood Parenthood is getting hammered with evidence that they profit off of the sale of the body parts of fetal remains from abortions.  And it’s about time.  Three undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress reveal Planned Parenthood representatives haggling over prices for body parts and even suggesting they alter their abortion techniques so as to preserve more “valuable” parts for greater financial return.  The phrase “less crunchy” was actually used.  In response, Women Betrayed rallies have popped up across the country, calling for Planned Parenthood to be held accountable for its corporate culture of death and for them to be defunded (they receive over $500 million every year in government funding).  While the videos are certainly shocking—especially the most recent video (CAUTION: HIGHLY disturbing content)—the ideology that led to a cultural acceptance of these practices shouldn’t surprise us.  In his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Pope St. John Paul II warned about where just such an ideology would lead.  Here, from Evangelium Vitae, is Pope John Paul II on the Culture of Death at Planned Parenthood.

In what way is this an offense against human life?

“Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others like them are infamies indeed. They poison human society, and they do more harm to those who practise them than to those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonour to the Creator”. (Gaudium et spes n. 27, quoted in Evangelium Vitae n. 3, emphases added)

Planned Parenthood claims this is just a question of simple tissue donation.

“…evident [is] the tendency to disguise certain crimes against life in its early or final stages by using innocuous medical terms which distract attention from the fact that what is involved is the right to life of an actual human person.” (11)  “Especially in the case of abortion there is a widespread use of ambiguous terminology, such as ‘interruption of pregnancy’, which tends to hide abortion’s true nature and to attenuate its seriousness in public opinion.” (58)

Why does Planned Parenthood use misleading language to disguise what they do?

“Perhaps this linguistic phenomenon is itself a symptom of an uneasiness of conscience. But no word has the power to change the reality of things: procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth.” (58)

In the videos, the Planned Parenthood representatives talk about specific prices for intact organs.

“Within this same cultural climate, the body is no longer perceived as a properly personal reality, a sign and place of relations with others, with God and with the world. It is reduced to pure materiality: it is simply a complex of organs, functions and energies to be used according to the sole criteria of pleasure and efficiency…others are considered not for what they ‘are’, but for what they ‘have, do and produce’. This is the supremacy of the strong over the weak…for no reason can [human beings] be made subject to other men and almost reduced to the level of a thing.” (23)

Planned Parenthood began as a eugenics organisation founded by the racist eugenicist Margaret Sanger.  Does this bear any resemblance to eugenics?

“…eugenic abortion, [has become] justified in public opinion on the basis of a mentality…which accepts life only under certain conditions and rejects it when it is affected by any limitation, handicap or illness…In this way, we revert to a state of barbarism which one hoped had been left behind forever.” (14)

Is this just a matter for Christians to be concerned about?

“Although faith provides special light and strength, this question arises in every human conscience which seeks the truth and which cares about the future of humanity. Life certainly has a sacred and religious value, but in no way is that value a concern only of believers. The value at stake is one which every human being can grasp by the light of reason; thus it necessarily concerns everyone.” (101)

What if what Planned Parenthood does was legal?

“One of the specific characteristics of present-day attacks on human life — as has already been said several times — consists in the trend to demand a legal justification for them, as if they were rights which the State, at least under certain conditions, must acknowledge as belonging to citizens. Consequently, there is a tendency to claim that it should be possible to exercise these rights with the safe and free assistance of doctors and medical personnel…no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the Law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church.” (68, 62)

Why haven’t I heard more about this from mainstream media?

“Nor can it be denied that the mass media are often implicated in this conspiracy, by lending credit to that culture which presents recourse to contraception, sterilization, abortion and even euthanasia as a mark of progress and a victory of freedom, while depicting as enemies of freedom and progress those positions which are unreservedly pro-life.” (17) “An important and serious responsibility belongs to those involved in the mass media, who are called to ensure that the messages which they so effectively transmit will support the culture of life.” (98)

Aren’t doctors and lab technicians just doing their job?

“A unique responsibility belongs to health-care personnel: doctors, pharmacists, nurses, chaplains, men and women religious, administrators and volunteers. Their profession calls for them to be guardians and servants of human life. In today’s cultural and social context, in which science and the practice of medicine risk losing sight of their inherent ethical dimension, health-care professionals can be strongly tempted at times to become manipulators of life, or even agents of death. In the face of this temptation their responsibility today is greatly increased.” (89) “In this way the very nature of the medical profession is distorted and contradicted, and the dignity of those who practise it is degraded.” (4)

What does this mean for society?

“A society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized.” (101)

What’s the most disturbing part of all this?

“The end result of this is tragic: not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life.” (4)

Where do we go from here?

“The first and fundamental step towards this cultural transformation consists in forming consciences with regard to the incomparable and inviolable worth of every human life. It is of the greatest importance to re-establish the essential connection between life and freedom. […] It is therefore essential that man should acknowledge his inherent condition as a creature to whom God has granted being and life as a gift and a duty….Where God is denied and people live as though he did not exist, or his commandments are not taken into account, the dignity of the human person and the inviolability of human life also end up being rejected or compromised.” (95)

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