July 21, 2015

Planned Parenthood Channels Adam Smith

One of my best arguments in support of "fossil fuel" as a commercial energy source relates to the fact that it comes from substances that occur in nature, and needs merely be harvested instead of manufactured. I compare it to my hay farm, where the grass grows due to natural forces of rain and sun and biology, and I just have to collect and process and store it. A valuable trade commodity is the result - naturally.

Typically I am engaged in this debate with one or more folks who lean left. They tend to favor nature over man-made, equality over individual wealth, and non-profit over profit. Their worldview predisposes them to resist any commercial effort. So it was quite an irony to learn that the leading provider of human abortion services in the United States, Planned Parenthood, regularly engaged in the "collection, processing, storage, and inventory and records management for specimens" of what is clinically referred to as "human gestational tissue" or sometimes more specifically referred to as hearts, lungs, livers, or "calvarium" i.e. heads.

Defenders of the practice have been quick to point out that any funds that change hands are strictly to cover the "very high" costs of preserving the parts (which are clearly more valuable to everyone involved than was the sum of those parts.) But now we learn that one Planned Parenthood doctor joked that "I want a Lamborghini" when discussing the funds that change hands in return for the "tissue." As morbid and cavalier as all this is, there is at least some vindication here for the concept of free trade, even on the part of those who can be relied upon to dismiss the marketplace as *ahem* vile and inhuman, at least to the extent that anyone benefits beyond the point of break-even... to the point of profit.

Perhaps she only meant for the Lamborghini to be used as a company car, shared equally by everyone? No, no. She did say, "I want..."

Economics and Markets From the other side Posted by JohnGalt at July 21, 2015 2:49 PM

"Oh Sweet Jesus the Jew!" As Penn might say. We are going there.

As one who vocally calls for legalization of selling one's own Kidney, I do find myself disappointed that the actual scandal is commerce in body parts rather than body parts.

I champion the trafficking in adult kidneys under Randy Barnett's fundamental "Inalienable right to property in one's own person." My kidney, my decision.

But, I am still squishy on whose property is being trafficked here. If the fetus is developed enough to have brain activity on its own, then I would suggest it has the deed to its liver and kidneys. Not having reached majority age, he or she cannot contract for the transaction, but nor can the parent.

As happens in this great nation, we are arguing about the wrong thing, but one cannot reproach pro-lifers for making good use of indelicate speech of opponents. This makes Mitt Romney's 47% speech look like the pledge of allegiance.


Posted by: jk at July 21, 2015 3:25 PM

I'm not yet comfortable with the notion that an unborn child is property, to be bought and sold, and at the cost of his or her life -- or "potential" life, depending on which side of the abortion debate one chooses to take.

The next logical step would be that the father has a fifty-percent ownership stake in said livestock (and can you just imagine THAT lawsuit?) -- oh, wait, except for one point that's not being addressed. When Planned Parenthood sells those body parts to "research labs," the mother (and father) never got paid for the raw materials. This isn't an issue about the parent selling the organs; PP has harvested the organs which they didn't have to buy from the previous "owner."

Consider THAT.

The funny thing is, it wasn't that long ago that those on the pro-abort side were hectoring us that it's not a live human, but merely a "clump of cells." Do you remember the "clump of cells" line? This past week, we've suddenly learned that this "clump of cells" includes a developed liver, lungs, a heart, and a whole payload of other valuable organs. I swatted a mosquito last week with a shoe. THAT'S a clump of cells now - an undifferentiated melange of former parts.

I'm troubled at the sanguine demeanor of a person who can casually haggle the price of baby guts while nibbling at a Caesar salad. It seems to me that the act would require a Mengele-level sociopath. Godwin's Law be damned, I don't play that card often, but I think in this case it's merited.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 21, 2015 5:04 PM

jg's dad, the right-communitarian is no pro-choice advocate but is willing to tolerate legal abortion because of the infanticide that occurs in countries that ban it. Now THAT is sociopathic: Abandoning, or worse strangling, a newborn to death with your own hands in front of your own eyes removes any "clump of cells" or "human gestational tissue" abstraction. It is murder in cold blood.

I didn't set out to prove or disprove the morality of abortion, however. I still don't believe it is the purview of government and its laws and its guns. I set out to show that even if one accepts the inevitability of abortion at some rate, and even if one accepts the medical use of fetal tissue for certain scientific purposes, very few will accept "BabyPartsRUS" as a legal commercial activity. And Planned Parenthood knows it, or else they would embrace these video exposes rather than hide from them.

And as an added bonus I took the opportunity to show that commercial "profit" is as natural to the human race as quinoa. Okay, more natural than quinoa.

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2015 6:08 PM

One potential point to push back on brother jg is Caesar Salad Chompin' lady's admission that she changes her procedure to preserve the most valuable parts. That is a disturbing part of the calculus. Were a more painful or degrading procedure used to preserve profit, then involving cash is ipso facto immoral. I heard that what she described was actually illegal.

Barring this, I would suggest that the exchange of money is not the worst part of this grisly tale. If we determine the procedure to be legal, it is not made worse if involves financial trade.

In reference to clump of cells, Keith, I have struggled with discerning the interstice which defines a human life. If the question is embryonic research, I find clump of cells compelling. An early-term abortion is its own tragedy as potential human life is intrinsically valuable, but the presence of distinct organs does not denote human life.

I have stolen (I believe from Brother nb) the presence of brain waves, which I understand to be ~22-weeks. We accept their absence as defining death. On either side of that line, I'm uncomfortable, but accept that as a rational interstice to use to confer birthright liberty.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2015 6:16 PM

Well, well; of all places for this to pop up! Yes, I think I've stipulated based on my own research and feelings that the 1/2 way point in any pregnancy is a logical compromise to this awful debate. 20 weeks is a nice, round number.

Personally, I support the voluntary dispensation of body parts.... and rather prefer that there is no market to support a profit motive.

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 22, 2015 12:14 AM

Naturally I support profit wherever it is possible without harming others. "Harvesting" a "waste product" seems to fall into this category but as NB rightly observes, the profit aspect creates a perverse incentive to perform more abortions. This is what makes it immoral - when one or more doctors counsels indecisive mothers to abort so they can buy their Lamborghini.

The financial trade itself is not the perversion, the predisposition toward abortion and away from full-term birth is the perversion, on the part of the abortion "doctor."* Planned Parenthood has long been accused of seeking to increase the amount of abortion procedures conducted in this country. Perhaps now we are learning the true cause of that behavior. Does this not discomfit?

* See Hippocratic Oath

Posted by: johngalt at July 22, 2015 11:48 AM | What do you think? [6]