An Open Letter to Planned Parenthood: Discussing fetal body parts over lunch

An Open Letter to Planned Parenthood: Discussing fetal body parts over lunch

By David Goehring from San Francisco, CA, USA (Footsies) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Dear Planned Parenthood,

We don’t care about your labels.

After the surfacing of an undercover video showing a director of yours discussing fetal body parts over lunch, you’ve mutated it into a debate about labels. In your official statement in response to the undercover video, you apologize for a lack of “compassion.”  But, your word choice is telling.

You say they aren’t “body parts,” just “tissue.” And, you aren’t “selling” the tissue, just “donating” it. You claim you are simply collecting “actual costs,” not incurring a “financial benefit” from the transactions.

Why all this meticulousness over labels?

This is due to the fact that the whole legality of your actions in the video hinges on whether they fit within these labels. If you are just “donating” and receiving “reasonable payments” for the tissue, your actions may be legal. However, if you are “selling” or “receiving a profit,” then your actions may violate the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 and other federal law.

But, perhaps your biggest failure is to ask the most important question—is it right? In the midst of your legalese flurry, you’ve overlooked the bigger picture. Putting laws aside, should we as a society be doing this?

It is barbaric. All things legal aside, dismembering children by extracting their hearts, livers, and lungs is Nazi-like—whether they are donated or sold. Crushing the skulls of living children in the womb is inhumane—whether you collect actual costs or incur a financial benefit. “Donating” or “selling” human body parts, or whatever label we want to slap on it, is desecrating human life. It is objectifying the most innocent members of society—those who have no voice.

And, this is why we are outraged. We don’t care what the labels are. We don’t care if it’s legal after your assiduous labels render it such.

We don’t want to argue the transitory parameters between “selling” and “donating.” We don’t want to exploit the boundaries between “reasonable payments” and “profits.” We don’t want to parse words and politicize legal verbiage all under the name of “science.”

We don’t care how so-called progressive interpretations of legal jargon adjudicate fickle definitions of morality. In our gut, we are abhorred. We are disgusted. We know deep down that no matter what label legal contortionists slap on it, it is inherently wrong.

We don’t care if the “tone” of your director was not “compassionate.”

We don’t care about labels. But, we do care about one thing. We care about the dignity of human life.

Instead of launching into a probe of the “ethical editing” of the videographers, why don’t we investigate the ethical ramifications of dismembering aborted children for science? Instead of coining body parts “tissue,” how about we call it what it really is—a child? Instead of placing value on a child’s body parts after an abortion, how about we place value on the child’s life?

Instead of apologizing “for the staff member’s tone and statements,” why not apologize for objectifying a child’s body parts?  Instead of apologizing for a lack of “compassion” in the way the remarks were given, why not apologize for a lack of compassion for the unborn?

Instead of fretting over labels, let’s fret over our legacy.

What will our legacy be? We launch spacecraft into the beyond in search for the smallest cell we can dub “life,” yet annihilate the skulls of those in the womb.  We are concerned about a lack of compassion in the tone of your director’s statements, but overlook the compassion given to the unborn.

In our age of technological advances, we now know that life begins at conception. We should know better—especially when the life is more than a lump of cells and has human body parts in the form of hearts, lungs, livers, and skulls. Tissue is not body parts.

We can exhaust the labels all we like, but the fact remains the same—we are killing and dismembering human beings in genocide proportions.

It is easy for us to justify our actions in the myopic and instant age of iPhones and Facebook newsfeeds where marketing firms can slap labels on something and everything is OK. But, history isn’t as forgiving.

So, let’s ditch the labels. Let’s stop the elusive and impotent attempts to categorize actions under the guise of legality and science. Instead, let’s do what’s right.

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About Emily Brandenburg

Emily Brandenburg
Emily Brandenburg holds a J.D. from Pepperdine School of Law, and is a full-time attorney practicing in California. A former Miss Hollywood, she has been published in various media sources and maintains a Facebook Page and a blog She enjoys spending time outdoors, fellowshipping with family and friends, making new friends, and always having a good laugh.

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