Numb to the sale of body parts? Pretend they’re flags

The Center for Medical Progress isn’t finished documenting Planned Parenthood professionals talking about trafficking in body parts. Here’s today’s release.

News coverage? Journalist and commentator Mollie Hemingway has a piece in The Federalist today headlined “Ideas for reporters struggling to cover Planned Parenthood,” which indicates the apparent trouble her professional colleagues are having with the PP news.

Hemingway sees a difference between press coverage on CMS’s Planned Parenthood videos and another recent news story. Nine people in Charleston, South Carolina were murdered on June 17 by a white supremacist (I’m not even going to say “alleged,” in view of the shooter’s statements). The murders were followed by a controversy over the Confederate flag that (God help us) has virtually eclipsed the people who were murdered. What Hemingway cites from The New York Times gives you an idea of what she found:

“The New York Times has run stories and essays on the Confederate flag 149 times since June 17 (and only 39 of those mention [the murderer]), 41 of those in the first six days. That compares to three stories on Planned Parenthood during the same window, just 7 percent of what you’d expect if the New York Times considered those stories merely of equal importance.”

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What would it take for the Planned Parenthood medical professionals in these videos to get the same kind of attention as the Confederate flag, never mind the Charleston murderer? Maybe if the health care [sic] professionals been discussing the sale of Confederate flags rather than body parts, they’d have been hounded out of their jobs and even professions by now. Would PP’s president have apologized merely for the “tone” of the conversations? Would she have doubted the veracity of a video showing her own employees if they’d been discussing procurement of a symbol of the slave-dependent Confederacy?

But no, Dr. Nucatola (the physician in the first video) wasn’t talking about flags. She was talking about intact livers from preborn children. She still has her job, and PP has circled its wagons. And now there’s a new phrase in PP’s vocabulary: “lifesaving medical research.” That’s what intact organs are for, and if you have a problem with that, then … I’ll let PP lobbyists finish the sentence.

Hemingway doesn’t stop with noting a disparity in news coverage. She goes on to suggest to her colleagues that there are some unexplored angles to the PP story. She lists a couple of dozen. For example:

“How far along in a pregnancy must a woman be for her child’s organs to be considered worthwhile for procurement, sale and transfer? How much does the value of a child’s liver, heart, lungs, etc., increase with time? Do the sales of baby organs form a significant enough part of Planned Parenthood’s business model to result in, say, filibustering of protections for late-term unborn children?…How did the Center for Medical Progress obtain the video? Who are they? Why haven’t the media ask[ed] tough questions of abortion clinics, historically? When Indiana passed a religious freedom bill, various media outlets roamed the countryside searching for vendors with religious objections to same-sex marriage, such as the owners of Memories Pizza. What questions might be posed to abortion clinic owners and managers around the country? Does the failure of the media to cover abortion well encourage undercover journalism operations, such as the one by Center for Medical Progress?”

I think this is too important to leave to The New York Times. It took a national reporter (Kirsten Powers) to shame major media outlets into covering Kermit Gosnell – but while the press benches at the Gosnell trial were nearly empty, the Philadelphia Inquirer was there to cover the trial, albeit as a local story. Maybe local reporters need to ask questions of local PP officials – questions like the ones Hemingway proposes.

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Not forcing you to look, Senator(s)

I’m warning you up front: I am NOT forcing you to scroll down to the bottom of this page. Nope. Not me. I will NOT force anyone to see the image that New Hampshire’s senior senator finds so scary. This is, after all, a kinder, gentler blog than the kind in which you’ll find abortion advocates described as “bat-guano crazy.” “Crazy” is such a freighted word. No, I’ll just NOT force you to scroll down.

I laughed through heartache yesterday as candidate Scott Brown stopped just short of jumping up and down and saying “I am TOO!” to Jeanne Shaheen’s claims that he just ain’t pro-abortion enough. Excuse me, “pro-choice.” He had the unmitigated gall to support an informed consent bill in the Massachusetts legislature back in 2005 when he was just a wee lad. He apparently thought then that pro-choice and pro-information were perfectly compatible positions. Makes sense to me. Not to abortion advocates, though.

Shaheen has an ad out now – the one to which Brown was objecting yesterday – announcing in dark tones that Brown would “force” women to look at fetal pictures, since part of the Massachusetts informed consent bill would have required that abortion providers give a woman the opportunity to take a look at images conveying the size, formation and gestational age of her fetus (has a tender ring to it, no?) before proceeding with termination of said fetus. Not bloody baby pictures, mind you. Not, in spite of Shaheen’s claims, forced viewing. Just providing the images for a woman to consider. Informed consent. Get it? This reminds me of the inserts we all get when we have prescriptions filled. Show of hands: how many of us actually read all that verbiage? That’s what I thought. Just give me the medication. The pharmacist and the prescribing provider OWE me full information about the drug. They just can’t make me read it. Informed consent, not forced viewing.

Shaheen knows she would sound like a patronizing schoolmarm if she were to suggest that women are too delicate for such intimate self-knowledge as knowing what’s inside our uteruses, so she is resorting to accusations that Brown is somehow anti-woman. This is all of a piece with the Senate Majority PAC’s ad saying “Scott Brown will restrict women’s access to health care” because he is not in favor of compulsory universal taxpayer funding of abortion.

Hence the spectacle of Brown fighting back. In one sense, good for him. He’s the only high-level Republican candidate in New Hampshire this year who has hit back on way-out-there claims by abortion advocates. Right attitude, even if he has the wrong answer. He’s out there, just not way out there, is what I hear him saying. He knows that for a woman concerned about access to abortion, jobs-and-the-economy is just a diversionary squirrel.

This is a defensive election. Neither of New Hampshire’s major candidates for U.S. Senate is pro-life. Incumbent Shaheen needs to be retired, though. I won’t leave that spot on the ballot blank, and I’m not writing in anyone. I don’t want to explain to anyone how a woman opposed to informed consent and in favor of compulsory universal taxpayer funding of abortion got elected yet again. She’s pro-women’s health? I don’t see it. Pro-women-who-agree-with-her is more like it. She wants abortion providers to operate in a regulation-free environment; you may recall that as governor she signed repeal of New Hampshire’s antiquated nineteenth-century abortion laws, knowing that nothing was there to replace them. In perhaps the sharpest distinction between her and Brown, however, she opposes the conscience rights of individuals (including female business owners) who don’t want to be forced into helping provide abortion-inducing drugs and devices under Obamacare. And then there’s her contempt for Catholic women who take issue with being forced to pay for other women’s contraception. Out, I say.

Look at it this way: in New Hampshire, I could set up shop as an abortion provider, right in my own home. (If Kermit Gosnell ever gets out of prison, he could go right back to his butchery just by moving from Pennsylvania to the Granite State, and he wouldn’t even have to rent an office.) As long as I didn’t hold myself out as a medical professional, I’d be clear of fraud accusations. As long as I had an abortion-minded woman’s permission to perform the abortion, I’d wouldn’t be subject to assault charges. It would be nice if I had a clean environment for her, but if she said she didn’t care about anything but ending her pregnancy, I’d be off the hook. Disgusting, but that’s the law. Nothing in New Hampshire law says an abortion provider has to be qualified in any way. Medical professionals who provide abortion must answer to state boards and medical societies, but non-professionals don’t. Women’s health? Abortion  providers, amateurs and pros alike, enjoy protection that abortion-minded women are denied. Don’t blame me. This is Shaheen’s doing, and it’s been ratified ever since by legislators who have rejected informed-consent-for-abortion laws.

Scott Brown has no trouble with any woman who wants to abort. He just thinks – or at any rate he thought in 2005 – that women have the right to know what’s involved.

The 2005-vintage Brown wasn’t afraid to offer images like this to abortion-minded women. Those women would have been free to say “no” to the offer, under the Massachusetts bill that has Shaheen in such a snit.

Human fetus, 7 weeks. (Priests for Life photo)
Human fetus, 7 weeks. (Priests for Life photo)

Scary as hell, isn’t it? Scarier. That little image could stand between Jeanne Shaheen and her next term as Senator. No wonder she wants it kept out of view.