Cameron Slater has recently been posting a series of heavily edited, out of context, and faked videos made by a militant pro-life group in the USA, which claim that Planned Parenthood is illegally selling foetuses, that that is the reason behind their provision of abortion services, and demanding they should be shut down. He’s just been posting them up, without even bothering to mansplain why he has a sudden interest in US reproductive rights, nor what their relevance is to NZ.
As this is a USA-based situation, it makes sense to defer to investigations and analysis US media and reproductive-rights groups have undertaken into these videos. So here’s some links to the other, factual side of the story.
This was written when the video came out and is a good overview:
“Human tissue is widely used in research, and there is not enough of it available for that either. Fetal cells have in the past contributed to such breakthroughs as development of the polio and rubella vaccines. At its peak, polio paralyzed 1,000 children a day and threatened millions of people worldwide. Saving them and preventing a resurgence of polio is what the vast majority of people might consider to be a kind of a pro-life thing. Planned Parenthood legally helps people who wish to donate tissue to do so.”
Is foetus donation an awful subject to think about? Yes. It’s confronting. It’s emotional. It’s loaded – both donating tissue and the reasons & benefits of/for donation are both complex and hard-hitting. But, does that automatically make it wrong, let alone illegal? No.
I’m quite accepting of people’s personal sets of ethics. I’m not one of those people who automatically writes someone off because they have a different opinion to me. I have pro-life friends who I highly respect. I have no problem with people being against abortion. I have no problem with people speaking out against abortion in the public arena. That is your ethics, and I respect that, and your right to talk about them to whoever you please.
What I do have a problem with, is where an ideology takes over people to the extent where the ethic to be honest and truthful – and responsible to the community around you – is forsaken for lying, manipulating , and making up ‘facts’ because the real facts don’t suit you. There is no ethical basis, no matter what ideology you hold, to deliberately mislead because the actual facts don’t reflect your ideology. This case is particularly ironic – do I need to spiel off scripture about integrity and what happens to those who mislead? No. You know them already. WWJD? Not this, that’s for sure.
I know many people who are pro-life who abhor this kind of trickery. They wish pro-life organisations could do them a favour and behave honestly. I think that it’s a real shame that pro-lifers have to feel shame for their stance because it has been taken too far by extremists. I get that – I work in the animal welfare field. I do not appreciate the shame I feel when extremist groups like PETA (remember the foam ‘mutilated’ lamb & fake shock vid of brutal shearing? How’s that 99% kill rate working for you PETA? Actually – how’s that list of 8 murdered doctors & too many dead pregnant women denied an abortion tracking LiveAction?) and others launch campaigns that contain fakery and trickery that backfires and causes the world to rile against animal welfare activists. It belittles us. It embarrasses us. It takes away from what we do. It makes us all look like crazies.
The same applies here. The truth always wins out, and CMP & LiveAction, just like PETA, are guilty of elevating a legitimate ideology into hysteria based on spin, lies, manipulation and trickery. That does nobody any favours, but least of all their own cause.