What does it take to awaken the conscience of a nation? I have always hoped, when it comes to extending human rights to the unborn, that appealing to our better nature--to tenderness, dignity, beauty, the recognition of ourselves and our children at our beginnings--should take precedence over gruesome images of dismemberment and death, over polarizing accusation and labeling.
And some things disturb me about the campaign by the Center for Medical Progress to secretly record and disseminate video footage of discussions of "fetal tissue" procurement by Planned Parenthood personnel and the middlemen who farm this harvest of shame to researchers. Not the hidden-video gambit, that's a technique from legit broadcast journalism. Nor any deceptive "editing" (they've released full versions). But perhaps the campaign's narrow insistence on finding evidence of illegal for-profit activity that is probably well-protected by legal technicalities...when the real story is the utter deadening of human decency.
That's been the story all along. It was the story when Bernard Nathanson released an ultrasound video (primitive compared to today's "windows to the womb") called "The Silent Scream." He described how abortionists like himself must fish out the child's head; it was called "Number One" in his practice, and in Planned Parenthood's clinics is called "the calvarium."
My own little apostolate for life has been based on winning hearts and minds...and in not violating the trust and friendship of the women I love who have lost unborn children to this terrible choice, under circumstances I can never claim to have experienced. That mission is inconsistent with leveraging horror. The politics of this movement are so polarized and ugly that I have virtually recused myself from them. I heard a radio interview recently about legalizing drugs in which a reasonable man said, "I would be content with a world in which drugs were legal but no one ever used them." I would be likewise content with a world in which abortion was almost unthinkable, in which all of us loved and supported both mother and child. A world where we all, to quote Cate Dyer of StemExpress, "know what it is."
And we do know. And, if we practice denial long enough--for abortion (and research on its discarded casualties) seems so necessary, for so many good, sane reasons--we can let our sanity slip away, and laugh about the shocking sight of a tiny human body in a box while we drink wine at lunch.