In the wake of a series of damning videos, Congress is taking up legislation to eliminate federal funding of Planned Parenthood.
Whether the secretly recorded videos are accurate portrayals of private conversations or are misleading, connivingly edited ambushes is an issue that will be hashed out over the weeks and months to come. But the impact of the videos may be greater than the $528 million in federal money Planned Parenthood receives or the future of Planned Parenthood.
These videos — more are said to be on the way — expose a practice of harvesting fetal body parts for research laboratories. The discussions on the videos show a focus on money and a lack of humane concern for the very human body parts that are being discussed. The videos reveal abortion in a way that would make almost anyone cringe. The practice is a business, not a medical procedure, in much the way that slavery was a business to its practitioners, not a demeaning and inhumane categorization of humanity.
The right to an abortion and America's comfort level with abortion practices have waned in recent years as medical advances have made premature babies viable earlier and earlier in the gestation process, which makes late-term or even mid-term abortions look more like infanticide. State legislation and court decisions have pruned back a more expansive right to abortion without eliminating abortion altogether. That compromise leaves absolutists on both fringes surrounding a broad middle ground of uneasy discomfort.