Like many in the Christian community, I’ve found the recent string of undercover videos revealing the butchering and subsequent selling of aborted babies at Planned Parenthood facilities… troubling, to say the least. As if abortion itself was not enough of an atrocity, now so-called “doctors” are in the business of chopping up the just-murdered babies’ bodies and selling their parts for money. The fact that it’s done in the name of “science” is somehow supposed to excuse it all. On social media, the defenders of Planned Parenthood can only talk about how the practice is “legal,” since the pay they received was only for “reimbursements.” That’s a highly questionable claim in itself.
But what the videos reveal is not just disturbing to those of us that are considered “conservative.” Camille Paglia is a self-described “dissident feminist.” She said in a recent interview, “Now I am a former member of Planned Parenthood and a strong supporter of unconstrained reproductive rights.” Translation: she supports abortion on-demand. She continued, “But I was horrified and disgusted by those videos and immediately felt there were serious breaches of medical ethics in the conduct of Planned Parenthood officials.” Now, I’d like to know exactly to what ethics she’s referring, as I have no doubt my ethics differ from hers. But still, at least there is some sense that she sees wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood.
Since the first of these videos came out, the question I’ve asked is not “why,” but rather, “how?” How can my fellow human beings believe that this is okay? How could they possibly excuse this, which is inexcusable?
To make matters worse, which I’ve learned is always possible, many who have had nary a word to say about this issue are now up in arms about a lion that was hunted and killed in Zimbabwe. Again, I have to ask, “how?” How could you say nothing about babies being literally butchered, but speak up loudly about a lion being killed? How can the media ignore the atrocities committed by Planned Parenthood, but give glaring attention to the death of “Cecil the Lion”? Even worse, some not only spoke out against the death of this lion, but also spoke up in support of the evil committed by Planned Parenthood.
If you’ll bear with me, imagine you’re in a courtroom where a trial is about to begin. The lead prosecutor begins his opening statement with these words:
The defendants in this case are charged with murders, tortures and other atrocities committed in the name of medical science. The victims of these crimes are numbered in the hundreds of thousands. A handful only are still alive; a few of the survivors will appear in this courtroom. But most of these miserable victims were slaughtered outright or died in the course of the tortures to which they were subjected. To their murderers, these wretched people were not individuals at all. They came in wholesale lots and were treated worse than animals.
Does that sound like a good start to a trial of some abortionists? It does to me. But those are words from history. Those are the words of prosecutor Telford Taylor at the start of the 1946 Nuremberg doctors’ trial. “Twenty doctors and three administrators — twenty-two men and a single woman — stood accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. They had participated in Hitler’s euthanasia program, in which around 200,000 mentally and physically handicapped people deemed unfit to live were gassed to death, and they performed fiendish medical experiments on thousands of Jewish, Russian, Roma and Polish prisoners.”
The experiments conducted on these people were horrifying. “Some of these human guinea pigs were deprived of oxygen to simulate high altitude parachute jumps. Others were frozen, infested with malaria, or exposed to mustard gas.” Doctors intentionally infected some with gangrene, typhus, and other diseases. All the while, “medical personnel conscientiously recorded their agonized screams and violent convulsions.”
In the opening statement above, Mr. Taylor states that, “these wretched people were… treated worse than animals“. How is this possible, for one group of people, the Nazis, to treat another with such callous disregard? To treat them as subhuman? To answer this question is to also answer regarding how we treat the unborn. From the article:
“A rough answer isn’t hard to come by. Thinking sets the agenda for action, and thinking of humans as less than human paves the way for atrocity. The Nazis were explicit about the status of their victims. They were Untermenschen — subhuman — and as such were excluded from the system of moral rights and obligations that bind humankind together. It’s wrong to kill a person, but permissible to exterminate a rat. To the Nazis, all the Jews, Gypsies and others were rats: dangerous, disease-carrying rats.”
We have biblical support for this idea, that how you think will determine how you act.
Romans 8:5-6 [ESV] “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.“
Colossians 3:2 [ESV] “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.“
So for the supporters of Planned Parenthood, I have to conclude that they are simply deluded. They simply do not see the unborn as human. Instead, they see “tissue,” or a “clump of cells.” The only way to treat another human so inhumanely is to convince yourself that they’re not human. For Christians, the bible tells us otherwise.
Jeremiah 1:5 [ESV] “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.“
This verse, told to the prophet Jeremiah, shows that we are indeed fully human before we are born. Further, it is because we are created imago dei— in the image of God— that we are more valuable than the animals. In the ancient world, to assault an image-bearer of a king was the same as assaulting the king himself.
Genesis 9:6 [ESV] “Whoever sheds the blood of man,by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”
As for “Cecil the Lion,” I don’t agree with the manner in which he was killed. I agree that it was cruel, and the people responsible deserve some level of punishment. But let the punishment fit the crime. A lion, as beautiful and majestic as one is, is not an image-bearer of the Almighty. Killing a lion is not equal to, and certainly not worse than, the murder of an unborn human baby.
In closing, let us pray for Planned Parenthood and their supporters. If not for the grace and mercy of God, I would probably count myself among them. Let the following serve as a reminder of that:
“The Holocaust is the most thoroughly documented example of the ravages of dehumanization. Its hideousness strains the limits of imagination. And yet, focusing on it can be strangely comforting. It’s all too easy to imagine that the Third Reich was a bizarre aberration, a kind of mass insanity instigated by a small group of deranged ideologues who conspired to seize political power and bend a nation to their will. Alternatively, it’s tempting to imagine that the Germans were (or are) a uniquely cruel and bloodthirsty people. But these diagnoses are dangerously wrong. What’s most disturbing about the Nazi phenomenon is not that the Nazis were madmen or monsters. It’s that they were ordinary human beings.”