Thursday, July 16, 2015

You can’t have it both ways (with apologies to Jonathan Swift)

As every pro-lifer who has been active for more than a decade knows, Planned Parenthood does not give the remains of the children they are paid to kill a decent, dignified burial.  They either throw them away, or sell them for medical research.  Even more unsavory uses have been alleged.

So this story isn’t surprising to anyone on the pro-life side.  It seems to have surprised a few on the pro-choice side, especially since they like to think of the “choice” they support in vague, fuzzy terms like, “Oh, a woman who doesn’t want to be pregnant shouldn’t have to be!” not in real, concrete terms like, “Once you’re done dealing with your ‘choice,’ can we buy her liver or calvarium?”

Rod Dreher has written a couple of great posts on this.  In that second post, Rod asks:
What if people were buying aborted fetal body parts for use in gourmet cooking? Would that be okay with progressives? If there’s no moral problem with using these parts for medical research, what would be the problem using them for soup?
In the spirit (though not the talent) of Jonathan Swift, I answered this way in the comments over there, and am posting it here too:

A Swift poem

At the chic progressive diner where
The glitterati go
They have a secret menu
In a hidden room below
And the dishes on this menu please
The palates dull and jaded:
They may partake of all of it
And never be surfeited.

Let’s start with appetizers; here’s
A crisp Caucasian boy,
His limbs fried to perfection
(Served with bacon and Bok Choy)
Why, of course, my dear, it’s legal,
He’s not exactly real,
He was killed at eighteen weeks or so,
Less valuable than veal.

We’ll go from there to soup, and the
Selection’s always nice!
French onion made from fetal bones–
That would be my advice.
There’s a hot chili con carne
With some tender Latin meat,
Or the daily harvest special is
A soup du jour to beat.

Oh, don’t be silly, darling–these
Were never people. No,
Their mothers paid to have them killed,
And we enjoy them so!
They say you are just what you eat:
To satisfy our hunger,
We eat this young sweet human flesh,
And it will make us younger.

Such an array of choices on
The main course side of things!
Whole-roasted, boiled, sauteed, and more–
We truly eat like kings.
To quibble over such delights
We’d have to be absurd,
Though some may call them “children,”
The line is really blurred.

So eat, drink, and be merry! And
Eat Carrie’s child, or Ruth’s!
Let dour faces judge and scold–
We live by our own truths.
You’re not a person till you’re born,
(If then–we’re mostly phony!)
And fetal meat is far too sweet
To shun from sanctimony.


Now, lots of people have complained that comparing medical research to cannibalism is too much. But that’s not the point.  If the principal is that it is okay to pay someone to kill your own developing human embryo or fetus because the embryo or fetus is not a person--certainly not your child or your baby--and then it’s further okay to sell that human embryo or fetus' body parts for medical research, why on earth shouldn’t it be perfectly legal to sell your human embryo or fetus for food, for art, for cosmetic manufacturing, or for any other purpose at all?  Some have quibbled that we don’t allow people to sell their own organs (e.g., you can donate a kidney but you can’t sell it), but most organ donations don’t require you to kill the donor first.  And some have objected that we don’t sell other corpses for food or commercial use even if the deceased wished to donate his body to science, but that implies that the deceased embryo or fetus is a human corpse, worthy of some sort of respect--and how can that be, when her humanity wasn’t worthy of being respected enough to let her live, to make it, in fact, illegal directly and intentionally to kill her?

Either the human embryo or fetus is really nothing at all, in which case it’s perfectly okay to make art, jewelry, lampshades or food out of her, or she is a person, in which case it is vastly morally wrong to kill her in the first place.  You can’t have it both ways.


Hans Georg Lundahl said...

most organ donations don’t require you to kill the donor first.

Heart transplants kind of do.

If you are clinically dead (old sense) when heart is taken, it can't be used.

John InEastTX said...

>You can’t have it both ways.

Only if nuance is not a thing.

Red Cardigan said...

Guess what, L.? I chose to abort your comment. No, you're not banned or anything, and you know I still find you a barrel of laughs. But I don't have time to host your usual game of "Say something outrageous so pro-life readers/bloggers will have conniptions in the comment box" here. Sorry! Better luck next time.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Can't have what both ways?

I understand there are vegetarians who think its cool to cook and eat the placenta because it is "unkilled meat." But, it is HUMAN FLESH, even if it was never a distinct organism, merely an organ no longer needed by the organism that it expelled it, or, perhaps, shared by two organisms that both no longer need it.

I don't expect any arrests over this practice, but I find the concept of cooking and eating human flesh rather gory, whether it was ever a whole organism or only part of one.

Nobody ever denied that a fetus is HUMAN tissue. Whether it is an independent organism, or, in legal language, a person, is the issue. On this we are deeply divided of course. One can't get much further apart than the fundamental premise being "This is a person" vs. "No it isn't." But in any event, our culture has a deep aversion to cannibalism. I think the menu violates that taboo just as clearly as if, say, you chopped off someone's arm to make a roast without taking the rest of them.

As the dust has settled, it is becoming clear that the video was cunningly edited, that the woman interviewed is a clueless idiot, that only a very small number of abortions contain discernible whole livers or hearts, that the women concerned agreed to DONATE the tissue for research purposes, that the payments were for costs of storage and transportation, and that in the end...

...Those who sincerely believe that is a human being, a person, are shocked, and those who do not, are less so, or not at all. Nothing new about either half of that.

I believe it remains a valid issue that "the health of the mother" standard is being abused, with questions such as "does being pregnant give you suicidal thoughts?" I think a consortium of pro life and pro choice people who are capable of speaking to each other civilly should organize an objective investigation of that point. I would like for such abuse to be prevented, without condemning a woman who has a septic fetus with a faint heart beat in her womb to die of secondary infection because the doctors are afraid to remove it.

Such a reform would, of course, reduce the number of livers available for donation.