The Ray of Hope in Planned Parenthood Video No. 8

By JORDAN ECARMA

The Planned Parenthood executive who thought that “the headlines would be a disaster” needn’t have worried.

The media were prepared with soothers and explainers to lull the public back into forgetting that to Planned Parenthood, the phrase “women’s health” means ending 327,643 tiny lives in a year before they get to take a first step or say a first word.

Phrases like “terminate a pregnancy” and “fetal tissue” shield us from remembering that Planned Parenthood’s definition of “women’s health” encompasses a procedure that involves counting little arms and legs in glass baking pans to make sure every piece is there. Because that’s the real horror of the videos—we gasp when we watch them not primarily over the question of legality, but in response to the callousness toward human life.

In one of the videos, StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer expresses her lab’s desire for “another 50 livers a week.” (Incidentally, StemExpress has cut ties with Planned Parenthood and removed references to “financial benefits” in relation to fetal tissue and organ harvesting from its website in the wake of the videos.)

That was the quote that made headlines among conservative media. But it was Dyer’s comments on the medical researchers who supposedly love doing life-saving work with fetal tissue that struck me the most when I first watched the video.

Dyer jokes about warning medical labs when an intact baby head is on its way: “Tell the lab it’s coming, so they don’t open the box and go, ‘Oh, God!’”

According to Dyer, researchers practically beg the organ and tissue supplier to make baby parts unrecognizable—because they can’t take it.

“So many of the academic labs cannot fly like that; they’re just not capable,” Dyer said during a discussion of how baby brains should be transported in an intact calvarium (head) so they survive the trip.

“It’s almost like they don’t want to know where it comes from. I can see that. Where they’re like, ‘We need limbs, but no hands and feet need to be attached.’ They want you to take it all off, like ‘Make it so that we don’t know what it is’ … But we know what it is.

“And their lab techs freak out and have meltdowns and so it’s just like, yeah. And I think quite frankly that’s why a lot of researchers ultimately, some of them get into a lot of other things right? … They want to look at adult human, kind of adult-based sampling because they sort of want to get away from having to publish a picture—a paper—that says they derived this from fetal tissue.”

We don’t have definitive proof that Planned Parenthood sells baby organs (although “line items,” “benefit” the clinic, “profitable” and “do a little better than break even” sound awfully suspicious to me).

We don’t have definitive proof that clinics routinely harass women into getting abortions (although I don’t see women coming forward to refute technician Holly O’Donnell’s eyewitness testimony).

But at least we know that some of the people involved in this horrific process are aware of what they’re doing. Their humanity hasn’t become desensitized yet. They know they’re cutting up tiny limbs that belonged to a person whose life was forcibly snuffed out. It’s a ray of hope in the exceedingly dark world exposed by the videos—a very tiny bit of light, so small it’s comparable to the little hands and feet researchers want sliced off before they work with what StemExpress supplies.

“We know what it is.”

Jordan Ecarma is a former journalist now living the millennial dream: getting paid for writing Facebook statuses (that is, digital PR). She watches her use of the f-word (“feminism”) around conservatives and the c-word (“conservatism”) around feminists. Find her under @JordanEcarma.

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