The Moral Case to Defund Planned Parenthood

The Moral Case to Defund Planned Parenthood

(Even if you are pro-choice)

I speak from the uncountable number of arguments and apologies I have encountered from pro-choice people.  If I am somehow neglecting your argument, feel free to introduce it.

I doubt, however, that any pro-choice argument can be reduced past this:  You are pro-choice because you believe in a woman’s right to choose.  That is, you believe in rights.

Bear in mind, first of all, that “rights” in general must be more basic than “the right to choose.”  The set of all rights bestowed on human beings includes such things – in the pro-choice rendering – as the “right to choose,” but it also includes – in the general American rendering – the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Very well.

Now, the right to life is pre-eminent.  Without the right to life, you could not have a right to liberty.  Enjoying liberty entails being alive.  Likewise with the pursuit of happiness, or equal treatment under the law, or whatever.

(Be patient with me.  I am not sneaking in a pro-life argument.  We are simply understanding that upon which we already agree.)

So one who is human and alive has a right to life; and we agree, at least, that a human is alive when she is born.  Thus, even when the child is born prematurely, we make every effort to help her survive.


The first moral case is that Planned Parenthood allegedly permitted fetuses to be born alive – which makes them infants, for whom we agree the right to life is secure.

Then, they harvested organs.

Now, let me throw out the first offer, and make myself vulnerable in this discussion:  If this story is false, then the claim is invalid.  The story rests on the testimony of an eyewitness.  Eyewitnesses are notoriously imperfect.

And yet, their testimony is still accepted as evidence.  (Or do you not accept the testimony of rape victims?)  It is reliable enough that we consider it true, unless there is reason to believe it is false.

It is valid enough that an investigation is warranted, as it would be in a case of rape, or even a case of petty theft.

But if the testimony is true, what do you say?

If you are a person of integrity, you will say that Planned Parenthood has therefore committed an atrocity, murdering an infant in cold blood for the purpose of harvesting its organs.  Indeed – as we saw with the first two videos – for the purpose of making a profit.

You do not need to be pro-life to find this morally reprehensible.  You can be pro-choice and be every bit as disgusted and outraged (not petty outrage – real outrage) as anyone else.  You do not need to compromise on a woman’s right to choose in this instance.

If you are morally and logically consistent, you will want criminals to be held accountable.  There is a legal and moral law prohibiting the killing of infants, and it should be enforced.

We can stand together on infanticide.  If they are guilty, Planned Parenthood should be defunded and prosecuted.


NB – A possible objection is that, even so, the baby delivered in this instance was clinically dead, and one cannot kill what is already dead.  The beating of the heart is something like stored electrical energy, which was released, but this is not the same thing as being alive.

I answer that,

  1. This is in the context of the accusation that Planned Parenthood makes efforts to deliver fetuses “fully in tact,” which is essentially the definition of partial-birth abortion (illegal) and sounds perilously close to delivering born alive infants (resulting in infanticide).
  2. Even so, as my wife the PICU nurse said, every effort would be made to preserve and resuscitate the infant if it showed signs of life.  This certainly would have been true at the moment of delivery, even if, minutes later, the signs of life were incidental at best.  (She also notes that the rate of survival is not good in these cases, though neither is it zero).

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