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Planned Parenthood’s Organ Harvesting Should Be Outlawed, Says Bioethics Lawyer

John Burger - published on 07/22/15

Many will object that organ donation can help research.

Of course there’s a big difference between a woman donating her aborted baby’s body parts and a person deciding to donate his own body to science. When we’re dealing in the organ donation industry, usually we’re dealing with people who have terminal illnesses. They may sign something that says “Upon my death I donate my body to science.” That’s allowing the natural dying process to take place, and anticipating that your own organs can be used after natural death.

In this instance, we’re dealing with a healthy mother of a healthy baby, and we’re presenting her with an option to sign a form that says, “If you sign here, we will directly kill your baby and then harvest the organs.” That completely violates every ethical norm when it comes to organ donation. There’s an ethical norm called the dead donor rule. So, for example, if I found out I had terminal cancer, I couldn’t say, “Before my organs get too bad, go ahead and kill me so you can take the organs.” That is highly unethical; it would not be allowed. And yet here we are allowing Planned Parenthood to kill unborn human babies for the purpose of trading on their organs. And they’re trying to make the women who are in desperate situations feel better about abortion by telling them that they’re helping science. That is incentivizing direct killing. It’s completely wrong, it’s immoral, it’s evil, and it should be illegal.

What is the nature of the payments made to the clinics? Is it ethical for them to accept payments if they claim it’s simply to reimburse for operating expenses?

The way the federal law is currently worded, there is a legal structure set up for this trade in human body parts from aborted babies under the guise of “reimbursing reasonable expenses." However, the law does provide several hoops that organ traders would have to jump through. So state and federal investigators should be inquiring into whether Planned Parenthood is engaging in this practice in a way that is not legal.  For example, if Planned Parenthood doctors are changing the way that they manipulate the baby, and changing the way that they terminate the pregnancy and kill the baby in order to make sure that they get the most intact organs possible, that may be a violation of the federal laws. The reason is that a doctor should not put the woman at greater risk of harm by manipulating the child and its position in a way that endangers her health. 

For example, if you have a regular pregnancy that a woman intends to bring to term and her doctor finds out that the baby is breech—the baby’s feet are down toward the cervix instead of head down—then if the doctor decided to do something called "version," where they turn the baby into that head-down position, that would be considered a risky process because it could rupture the uterus.  That is why the doctors often elect to do a Caesarean section in order to deliver the baby—because flipping that baby around endangers the woman’s health by increasing the risks of uterine rupture or tearing of the cervix. There are many known risks that could hurt the woman.

But in the first video the Planned Parenthood doctors seem to be discussing manipulation of the baby inside the woman’s womb in a way that they can make sure they are crushing above and crushing below so that they get the intact organs in the middle.  It may well be a violation of federal law if investigations actually find that this has happened.

That "version" would be dangerous if it were done at full term, but would it still be dangerous if done much earlier, say, at 15 weeks or 18 weeks?

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Tags:
AbortionPlanned Parenthood
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