Predictably, abortion supporters are using the incident to maximum political advantage. From now on, anyone who references Planned Parenthood’s lucrative side business in baby parts will be dismissed as a terrorist sympathizer. Planned Parenthood can also blame pro-lifers generally, and the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) specifically, for inspiring the shooting. Never mind the fact that CMP condemned the attack on its website, they still have blood on their hands.
The idea that Dear took his inspiration from this summer’s undercover CMP video is unfair though not entirely untrue. I’ll depart here from a lot of pro-lifers and say that the videos are linked to the shooting, though not quite in the way that Planned Parenthood would have you believe. Robert Dear was likely driven into a fit of rage after seeing CMP-produced videos but it wasn’t the videos that angered him so much as their content. That’s a substantial distinction.
In any case, CMP cannot be held responsible for the actions of an unstable third party. Leftists, I believe, would understand this principle a little better if the shoe were on the other foot. Consider, for example, terrorism directed at military recruiting stations—the 2008 bombing in Times Square, the 2009 shooting in Little Rock, and the 2015 shooting in Chattanooga. The defeatist Left does not take responsibility for these acts of terror; but should they? Only if they want to be consistent.
There is no doubt, however, that their rhetoric amplifies the vitriol against our military. These are people who cavalierly toss around terms such as “war criminal” and “genocide” until they become meaningless noise. They claim that the Bush-era War on Terror was in fact a religious crusade to kill or convert all Muslims. They argue that President Bush lied us into war in order to steal Iraq’s oil—and even Afghanistan’s oil, which Afghanistan doesn’t even have. If one really believed that the War on Terror was a war of aggression, a calculated genocide, and a massive theft of natural resources, wouldn’t one be justified in killing a few military recruiters?
But Code Pink and International A.N.S.W.E.R. don’t think that their rhetoric makes them responsible for terrorism against military recruiters. And they’re right. Blaming them would only let the guys who actually did it off the hook. Rhetoric doesn’t kill people—people kill people.
What about CBS News? Surely it put our soldiers at risk, if only because their program 60 Minutes II broke the Abu Ghraib prison scandal? No, CBS News isn’t culpable either. It isn’t the media’s job to collude in silence just because the story might make someone angry enough to go off the edge and kill someone. The same principle applies to the baby parts videos—CFP was only the messenger, and for that we should be grateful.
Robert Dear did indeed act from a red-hot anger, though CMP’s role in stirring it up was limited to peeling back the veil of secrecy that Planned Parenthood very much wanted to keep in place. Their role in Baby Parts-gate was identical that of 60 Minutes II in the Abu Ghraib scandal—namely, as the messenger.
Through the use of undercover videos, CMP exposed Planned Parenthood’s harvesting and selling of baby parts—eyes, liver, brains, and more. Perhaps you’ve heard that the videos were deceptively edited. Wrong. A study by Coalfire, a digital forensic analysis company, found that the videos were “authentic and show no evidence of manipulation.” Yes, all the videos were “edited”—just like nearly everything else seen on TV, because they are hours long and viewers generally like to see the highlight reel. Anyone who wants to see the uncut videos can find those on CMP’s website as well.
Planned Parenthood even admits that it harvests “fetal tissue,” a horribly dishonest euphemism, though it claims not to profit from the practice, which is all it must minimally do to stay on the right side of the law. In the haze of this summer’s fracas over baby parts, the issue became confused, largely because Planned Parenthood tried to alter the definition of the word “sell.” Though it admitted that it provides “fetal tissue,” it claimed that it sought only reimbursement for the cost of procurement and shipping. Ergo, no profit. But the definition of selling has no relationship to profit. Selling is still selling even if the seller breaks even or takes a loss.
As the drip-drip-drip release of videos continued, the debate descended into abject silliness with Planned Parenthood defending its baby chop shops by falsely claiming that they operate on a strictly nonprofit basis. True to form, progressives implied that there is nothing morally suspect about killing children or divvying up their organs. The real evil is profit. As long as no one gets rich off the deal they’re as pure as the driven snow.
Except Planned Parenthood did make a profit and anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. One video features abortionist Mary Gatter haggling with prospective “buyers” over the price of organs. When Gatter is asked how much she would charge for “intact tissue,” she responds by saying, “Why don’t you start by telling me what you’re used to paying?” Odd. Why should that matter? If Planned Parenthood only wants to be reimbursed for expenses then it should have one non-negotiable price. When the “buyer” refuses to name a dollar amount, Gatter replies, “You know in negotiations the person who throws out the figure first is at a loss, right?”
Who cares who’s “at a loss?” This isn’t a used car that’s being bought and sold—it’s human organs. The fact that this representative of Planned Parenthood would try to drive a hard bargain is prima facie evidence that she was trying to get the best price for her organization. Considering the fact that it’s illegal to charge one cent more than the cost of procurement and shipping, one can only conclude that the video is evidence of a crime. This woman should be in jail.
So should a lot of people. In video after video we saw employees of the abortion industry discussing how to cook the books, how to avoid oversight, and how to alter the “medical procedure” to get the best saleable material. All of these are federal crimes. Other videos strongly imply partial-birth abortions and even children who are born alive while their mothers waited for abortions. These children were presumably the victims of “post-birth abortions.”
Yet no one has gone to jail. There were meaningless congressional hearings of course, and a few states tried to turn off the spigots of cash to this reprehensible organization but no one at Planned Parenthood is wearing an orange jumpsuit. So Robert Dear decided to exercise some vigilante justice. That makes him a(n alleged) murderer and he will likely be convicted and jailed for the rest of his life, unlike the Planned Parenthood execs who have thus far been allowed to skate.
Mark my words—in the coming weeks there will be an intense media campaign to marginalize anyone who dares to mention the fact that Planned Parenthood sells baby parts. That’s wing-nutty terrorist talk! But it also happens to be true, or at least it was until the videos debuted. No one disputes this, not even Planned Parenthood, though they deny that they ever made a profit.
It appears that Robert Dear didn’t care that much if Planned Parenthood was making dough from its organ sales. The mere fact that they were harvesting baby parts was enough to ignite this human powder keg. That doesn’t justify Dear’s rampage but neither does it negate the plain, undisputed fact that Planned Parenthood harvests all sorts of identifiable human body parts and exchanges them for money. Saying so shouldn’t require the payment of a steep social penalty but unfortunately it does and it’s only going to get steeper. Gird your loins and expect the worst.