Planned Parenthood has been accused of selling the parts of aborted babies. An account of this can be seen here.
Some years ago, here in Britain, there was a huge scandal about the way Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool was retaining certain parts of deceased children without their parents’ knowledge. This regularly made the main news of the day.
There are, of course, serious moral questions to be asked about organ donation, most of which centre on the question of consent. In other words, was this organ donation in the true sense, where organs are given, or was it where organs are taken, or “harvested”, to use the sinister term preferred by journalists?
With regard to the use of body parts from aborted babies, which are sold on to buyers, where does the principle of consent come in? Nor is this a stupid question, as the principle of consent is one of the underlying principles that govern a liberal society.
Again, should human body parts ever be sold? We sell animal body parts, which is quite acceptable, because animals are not human beings. But human body parts are not to be sold, if we are to have any sense of human dignity, and what it is we owe in respect to the human body.
Another question arises. We know there are powerful lobbies that support abortion on demand. Why? To what extent, if any, are these body parts from aborted children of use to anyone? To what use are they being put, and is that use necessary or of benefit to mankind? I doubt it very much, but let those buying baby parts tell us, if they can.
Finally, it must be observed that the idea of harvesting the parts of dead children is repulsive in the extreme: but this is not a moral argument. Lots of perfectly moral medical procedures are repellent – I personally would not choose to witness anything that happens in surgery, as I am naturally squeamish. But my objection to the selling of the parts of aborted children is not based on any “yuck factor” but rather, I hope, on moral and rational grounds.
Abortion represents the ultimate commodification of human life: it is something to be disposed of when deemed unwanted. The selling of the remains of aborted children, which Planned Parenthood is allegedly engaging in, should not surprise us in the least. It is quite in keeping with the organisation’s grim philosophy – a philosophy that the Church can, must and will continue to challenge.