On Planned Parenthood, ‘New York Times’ whiffs


When The New York Times editorial board remained silent for an entire week amid a fierce Planned Parenthood controversy, I looked at my watch and assumed they must be out to lunch. Today, the historic newspaper's editorial board published a response to the situation and proved that, yes, indeed they are. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the fury started when an anti-abortion activist group, The Center for Medical Progress, released a nine-minute undercover video showing Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services flippantly discussing the practice of selling aborted baby parts. On Tuesday, a second video was released showing a similar situation with another doctor haggling over tissue prices. Both detail the gruesome procedures used to terminate a pregnancy and harvest organs from newly deceased babies.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans were outraged by the videos’ content. Prominent conservative politicians and religious leaders called for Planned Parenthood to be stripped of their federal funding, which led to the hashtag #DefundPP trending on social media.

But The New York Times editorial board, whose members are almost all pro-choice, decided that those who are providing the baby parts are the real victims. In a story titled “The Campaign of Deception Against Planned Parenthood,” they characterized the videos as nothing more than “the latest in a series of unrelenting attacks on Planned Parenthood.” By sidestepping the elements of this story that have outraged Americans, it’s as if the editorial board is trying to prove true the conservatives who claim that their paper is run by left-leaning elitists.

The thrust of the article’s argument is that it is perfectly legal for Planned Parenthood to offer “fetal tissue” from aborted babies for research. That may be true, and as more facts become available, we will likely discover whether these transactions are illegal “sales” or legal “donations." But this is not the primary issue for the pro-life advocates I have spoken to. These conservatives are calling for defunding, not incarceration.

The central matter for pro-life Americans is not whether Planned Parenthood's practices are legal, but whether they are just. There is often a difference. Many pro-life advocates, myself included, agree with the Times that “tissue donations” are “potentially lifesaving.” We are not opposed to organ donations outright. Our major objection is that the process by which these organs and tissues are collected and sold is unethical.