Pro-abortions groups will say it’s a political move. Pro-life groups will say it’s about time. Planned Parenthood has found itself in the Justice Department’s cross hairs for their alleged sales of baby parts for profit.
A report by DailyBeast details what is expected to be a very public investigation. After undercover video revealed infuriating practices by Planned Parenthood proxies in 2015, they became the center of attention in just about every abortion discussion. Now, they’re the center of attention of the DoJ:
The Justice Department’s request refers to a report that the Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans released last December, called “Human Fetal Tissue Research: Context and Controversy.” That report discusses how biomedical research corporations contracted with Planned Parenthood affiliates for fetal tissue. It mentioned contracts between those corporations and several Planned Parenthood affiliates, including Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, and Planned Parenthood of Northern California. The report detailed the “specimen service fees” that biomedical researchers charged for tissue from a 20-week-old fetus –– $325 for a fetus’s brain, $650 for two eyes –– and questioned whether the biomedical research corporations ultimately profited from their disbursement of fetal tissue. It called for the Justice Department to investigate the matter.
Pro-life advocates are ecstatic. They should look at this news with caution, though…
Two problems with this move for pro-lifers
As a pro-lifer myself, I have very mixed feelings about this move. The Senate Judiciary Committee report released late last year wasn’t exactly the smoking gun we’d hoped to see. It was potentially damaging for four branches of Planned Parenthood, but not link the entity as a whole to wrongdoing.
This poses two problems. First and most obviously, if the DoJ is unable to catch the greater organization in wrongdoing, there’s a risk of compartmentalizing the repercussions. Individuals at local branches may get charged, but that won’t do anything in the fight against the organization as a whole.
The second problem I have with this is that it changes the conversation. Pro-lifers have the high ground when it comes to morality. Every day, science is bringing us closer to an understanding that abortion is murder because the aborted demonstrate characteristics of personhood. This is a fight that we can win. Turning into a battle of whether or not Planned Parenthood broke the law will not help change the laws themselves. The best result from this would be defunding them. While this is a righteous goal, it won’t actually prevent abortions. When Planned Parenthood does finally get defunded, they will be able to ramp up private fundraising to a degree that they’ll actually end up with more money.
Don’t take that as a reason to not defund them. Taxpayers should not be involved in paying for abortions.
The last thing to note is that we do not need an investigation to defund Planned Parenthood. The GOP has the power to do it today. They’ve held onto it as a nugget to include in future Obamacare repeal and replace bills because it lends conservative credibility to it, but if they wanted to, it would take less than a week and two lines of legislation through filibuster-proof reconciliation. It’s the dirty little secret in Republican circles on Capitol Hill. They could defund them right now. They just choose not to for political reasons.