Suggested Readings: Selling Fetal Organs

July 25, 2015

Woman in Blue Reading Letter (Johannes Vermeer)

Woman in Blue Reading Letter (Johannes Vermeer)

When I introduced “Suggested Readings,” I said that I would offer articles and essays on difficult subjects. The revelation that Planned Parenthood regularly sells fetal body parts to various medical and research organizations has been difficult for many to consider. But the ethical and legal issues involved make this worth discussing.


For those not wanting to view the videos directly (available on YouTube), the best summary I’ve found is an article on (Obviously, this website has a particular perspective on the issue, but document their information well.) Planned Parenthood’s response is available here. Charles Krauthammer has a concise analysis of the moral issues in his essay, “The Price of Fetal Parts.” Finally, here are official comments from the White House (during the July 22nd press briefing):

Q Josh, congressional Republicans have voted to introduce legislation to defund Planned Parenthood. Senator Paul introduced an amendment to the highway bill today to eliminate all taxpayer funding for it. I know you said you didn’t want to issue any veto threats, but would the President veto any legislation with language defunding Planned Parenthood?

MR. EARNEST: Well, obviously we do not all support a measure like that. And you’ve heard me take a pretty dim view in the past of ideological riders that are unrelated to the baseline bill, and I think, in this case, that rider that seems to be floated by Senator Paul would fall into that category.

Q Is the President concerned at all about the reports surrounding the video that surfaced last week?

MR. EARNEST: Well, as I previously indicated, I haven’t spoken to the President about the actual videos. I have read the reports, and I’m confident that he has, too, raising significant concerns about the way in which those videos were selectively edited to distort not just the words of the individual speaking, but also the position of Planned Parenthood. They have made very clear that they subscribe to the highest — they subscribe and implement the highest ethical standards in carrying out their operations. So for questions about that, I’d refer you to Planned Parenthood, obviously.


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