Unless you get your news strictly from mainstream news sources, you’ve probably caught wind of the undercover video in which a top Planned Parenthood doctor discusses harvesting human organs from aborted babies while munching on lunch and drinking red wine. It’s pretty gruesome stuff, including the pro tip of using ultrasound to ensure that the doctor’s forceps don’t “crush” valuable organs that clients have selected from the menu. (That’s a word Dr. Deborah Nucatola actually uses, but in context, she might mean a menu of affiliates around the country that will harvest the organs for the trafficking company.)
For the most part, the mainstream media appears to be waiting to report the story until it can be spun in a pro-Planned Parenthood, anti-conservative/GOP way, but online defenders of the abortion provider have characterized it as an almost altruistic activity of a bunch of non-profits using medical waste to develop medical breakthroughs. Of course, to the pro-lifer, that doesn’t make the practice any less disturbing, and other parts of Dr. Nucatola’s dialogue raise questions about legality (such as using partial-birth techniques for a better harvest).
Watching the full footage of the interview used for the report, it becomes clear that the defenders’ focus isn’t on the practice, but on a different way of talking about business. The Planned Parenthood affiliates, Nucatola says, just want “to break even” or, if they can “do a little better than break even,” then they can put that money back into the practice. But “break even” means paying everybody’s salary. It means expanding.
Putting the money back into the practice means increasing the amount of activity, which is a salable point for donors and grant-givers. Moreover, Planned Parenthood is engaged in political activity. If the sale of baby body parts can contribute resources to expenses that the non-profit and activist wings share, then the activists can use their dedicated resources for other things. Money is fungible, and the ways in which large organizations can move it around are plentiful.
A very telling part of the discussion comes at around minute 8 of the full footage, when the ostensible buyers initially ask about pricing. Nucatola doesn’t describe it as a process of calculating expenses to make sure that no profit is made. Rather, she talks about setting a price that would be defensible if the abortionist were audited. In other words, this isn’t a moral distinction. The restrictions on profiting from the killing of unborn children are just a regulatory consideration in setting the market price for organs.
The “non-profit” aspect may provide legal cover for an immoral activity, but motivation is separate. The fact that no shareholders draw a direct profit from investments isn’t much of a distinction.