Jul 29 2015
By U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Marjorie Dannenfelser
“[Y]ou know, we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not going to crush that part. I’m going to basically crush below, I’m going to crush above, and I’m going to see if I can get it all intact.”
With these words, Deborah Nucatola, national medical director of Planned Parenthood, made the best closing argument for legislation to end the grisly practice of late-term abortion in the United States. More than 2.6 million Americans have watched a video of this young doctor blithely dining on wine and salad while discussing how her organization selects babies for brute destruction. Every American old enough to read a biology text should see this video to understand the stakes not just for this legislation, but for the core values of our civilization.
The second video shows Dr. Mary Gatter, president of Planned Parenthood’s National Medical Council, negotiating the price of fetal parts obtained from Planned Parenthood facilities. Gatter urges her interlocutors to make an offer because, as she explains, “Well, you know in negotiations, the person who throws out the figure first is at a loss, right?” Gatter then suggests “$75 a specimen,” which can be adjusted if it proves lower than what Planned Parenthood’s California clinics fetch. The third video, with more to come, may be the most devastating yet. In it, Holly O’Donnell, an ex-procurement specialist at an organ and tissue processing corporation, describes how she passed out while being shown organs from unborn children being teased apart and tweezered in a laboratory dish.
Congress is responding to these revelations in a variety of ways. Comprehensive fact-finding hearings are needed so that Americans can see what the trade in baby parts is all about. But fortunately there is legislation that will deal frontally with this horror.
The momentum behind the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which has passed the U.S. House of Representatives twice, is already formidable, and for good reason. Abortion in the United States is legal up to the moment of birth — through all nine months of pregnancy — by judicial fiat. As legal scholar Angelina B. Nguyen has documented, only six other countries on the entire planet — including North Korea and the People’s Republic of China — permit elective abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Our nation’s radical policy was never chosen by the American people, and whenever given the opportunity to express their convictions, they reject that policy. The pain felt by unborn children is alone enough to justify a new direction. Advances in perinatal medicine, including fetal surgeries for children in utero as early as 18 weeks of pregnancy, fill the medical journals. Millions of Americans now know a child whose life or health was saved by medical interventions unknown a generation ago. The ultra-skilled perinatologists who develop the techniques and do these surgeries are heroes.
The bedrock of human empathy is the ability to feel another creature’s pain. With the Center for Medical Progress’s videos, our empathy is automatic. The doctor who uses ultrasound to guide his forceps to crush a small baby’s body, but leave its vital organs intact for laboratory use, is inflicting horrific pain. Planned Parenthood’s defense that these mortal blows are all about science is hollow. No one can kill an innocent victim and pretend that donating their hearts, livers and lungs to science redeems what they have done, justifying their charitable status and tens of millions of dollars in government grants.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is a small beginning on the road to recovering our humanity. It will save the lives of 15,000 girls and boys each year and prick our consciences to save others. We are proud of the 45 members of the Senate who have cosponsored this just and compassionate bill. We thank the 242 members of the House who passed this bill in May and moved it closer to the statute books. Now we challenge every public official, including President Barack Obama, to ponder the excised hearts of these babies, then look into their own hearts. We are a better nation than this, one that welcomes every child as a precious gift from God, to be loved and nourished by family — and protected by law.
This Op-Ed was first published by The Des Moines Register on Wednesday, July 29, 2015