Bioethics and Planned Parenthood

by Tom Wacaster

The September 21st issue of The Weekly Standard had a most interesting article titled, “Our Utilitarian Medical Elite.” It is a well written editorial by Wesley J. Smith, taking not only Planned Parenthood to task over the recent revelation that they were harvesting body parts for so-called medical reasons, but focusing the reader’s attention on the present non-ethical position that now seems to be the standard for what he calls the “medical intelligentsia.” When The Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973 many of the proponents thought that would be the end of the matter—it was now “law,” and all of the critics who predicted some kind of “slippery slope” would be silenced. The High Court’s decision drove a wedge between those who were determined to devalue life and those of us who are even more determined to restore a sense of right and wrong to a nation that is, indeed, on the slippery slope to her own destruction. Who would have imagined that the “elite” among doctors would or could have fallen so far? The Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors upon their entry into medical practice is as follows— pay close attention to the part I have emphasized:

I swear by Apollo the physician, and Aesculapius the surgeon, likewise Hygeia and Panacea, and call all the gods and goddesses to witness, that I will observe and keep this underwritten oath, to the utmost of my power and judgment. I will reverence my master who taught me the art. Equally with my parents, will I allow him things necessary for his support, and will consider his sons as brothers. I will teach them my art without reward or agreement; and I will impart all my acquirement, instructions, and whatever I know, to my master's children, as to my own; and likewise to all my pupils, who shall bind and tie themselves by a professional oath, but to none else. With regard to healing the sick, I will devise and order for them the best diet, according to my judgment and means; and I will take care that they suffer no hurt or damage. Nor shall any man's entreaty prevail upon me to administer poison to anyone; neither will I counsel any man to do so. Moreover, I will give no sort of medicine to any pregnant woman, with a view to destroy the child. Further, I will comport myself and use my knowledge in a godly manner. I will not cut for the stone, but will commit that affair entirely to the surgeons. Whatsoever house I may enter, my visit shall be for the convenience and advantage of the patient; and I will willingly refrain from doing any injury or wrong from falsehood, and (in an especial manner) from acts of an amorous nature, whatever may be the rank of those who it may be my duty to cure, whether mistress or servant, bond or free. Whatever, in the course of my practice, I may see or hear (even when not invited), whatever I may happen to obtain knowledge of, if it be not proper to repeat it, I will keep sacred and secret within my own breast. If I faithfully observe this oath, may I thrive and prosper in my fortune and profession, and live in the estimation of posterity; or on breach thereof, may the reverse be my fate! (

Compare that with the response that Planned Parenthood made when questioned with regard to the ethics of what they were doing: “We thank the women who made the choice to help improve the human condition through their tissue donation; we applaud the people who make this work possible and those who use these materials to advance human health. We are outraged by those who debase these women, this work, and Planned Parenthood by distorting the facts for political ends” (The Weekly Standard, page 19). The response is a feeble attempt to justify what is obvious: Planned Parenthood is nothing more than an instrument of death and destruction of human life, operating under the guise of health services for women. “Tissue donation” of the woman? It is not some “tissue” that is aborted! It is a living, breathing, baby! Planned Parenthood applauds every abortionist and every nurse that willingly violates that Hippocratic Oath and reaches into the womb of the child to destroy life. It is not the pro-life movement that debases women or who have “distorted facts for political purposes.” Where are the voices of those in the medical field who swore to uphold the sanctity of life? Why is it that the unethical are being allowed to define ethics as some kind of ever-changing, evolving standard? The tragedy is that most bioethicists are reluctant to define the boundaries that designate when human life becomes morally relevant, leaving the most extreme to determine what course of action we shall follow. Consequently, the field’s predominant view has come to endorse an approach that redefines when life begins, and whether or not any individual life has any value. The new call is to base the value of a person’s life on each individual’s “cognitive capacities.” Only those who can demonstrate that they are self-aware or able to value their own life are to be deemed “persons.” Those insufficiently mature—i.e. embryos, fetuses, infants, and those who have lost their mental capacities—are deemed less than “persons” and do not deserve to live! This nightmare of a journey down the slippery slope toward complete disregard for life is a reality; and it is being played out in the medical field by those who no longer abide by the Hippocratic Oath. Smith shared the following with his readers:

Princeton’s Peter Singer is the foremost proponent of this view, but he is far from alone. A few years ago, an article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics caused a public furor when it advocated “after-birth abortion.” The authors inflate what is often blandly called the “right to choose” into a putative right not to be personally inconvenienced by an infant. Thus, since an abortion can be obtained for convenience purposes, and since newborns have no greater self-awareness than fetuses, babies should also be killable (and, one presumes, harvestable by Planned Parenthood), just as the unborn are abortable (Smith, The Weekly Standard, page 19).

If we think this twisted way of thinking is limited to the beginning stages of life, think again! Again, I quote from Smith:

It’s not just fetuses and babies that are viewed broadly in bioethics as killable and harvestable. There is increasing advocacy—although it is important to emphasize that this isn’t yet happening—for killing those with profound cognitive impairments for their organs. Here is one typical example, published in the New England Journal of Medicine: “Many will object that transplantation surgeons cannot legally or ethically remove vital organs from patients before death, since doing so will cause their death. Whether death occurs as the result of ventilator withdrawal or organ procurement, the ethically relevant precondition is valid consent by the patient or surrogate. With such consent, there is no harm or wrong done in retrieving vital organs before death, provided that anesthesia is administered” (Smith, page 19).

Who can believe it? Impossible? Radical? Yet the videos showing the crass attitude that Planned Parenthood has toward life not only indicate we have reached this point, but that some actually defend the practice of aborting a baby intact, still living, still breathing, so that they can harvest organs for medical science. Smith closes his article with the following observation: “It is a very short journey from considering babies—whether unborn or born—to be an inferior stage of human life to believing they have no rights that fully developed persons are bound to respect.” I would add one more observation. If we can devalue the life of an infant one minute after he is born, why not one hour? One day? One year? Oh yes, the slippery slope is upon us, and the only cure for our sin-sick society is repentance and a return to God.