Rob Schwarzwalder is Senior Vice President at Family Research Council. This article appeared in The Stream on August 27, 2015.
Dehumanization — the diminishment of human dignity through objectification and commodification — has become much too routine in American daily life.
Pornography is a moral epidemic. Sex trafficking is widespread, and among younger Americans, Web apps enable “casual intimacy” (an oxymoron, when considered for a moment) with the swipe of a finger.
We treat each other as objects instead of persons, means instead of ends, frivolous instead of sacred. And we wonder why families are broken, divorce is common and children are overtly sexualized.
Perhaps the most disturbing sign of our culture of dehumanization is the use of unborn children as commodities. The sale of the aborted unborn, in whole and in part, is quite profitable, apparently. The latest Planned Parenthood video (the eighth in this horrifying series), shows “a major buyer of fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood, admitting the company gets ‘a lot’ of intact fetuses, suggesting ‘another 50 livers a week’ would not be enough, and agreeing abortion clinics should profit from the sale.”
There is a point where outrage, pain and grief coalesce to render their expression almost too difficult. Outrage at the cruelty done to the little ones and the predation of their mothers by the abortion industry. Pain at what those babies have suffered and what their mothers will carry with them. And grief at the loss of so many lives and the brokenness that loss leaves in its wake. Words fail.
But sadness is not enough. We need action. “Five states have made moves to defund Planned Parenthood (New Hampshire, Utah, Louisiana, Utah, Arkansas, and Alabama) or end participation in the funneling of federal money to the unscrupulous organization,”reports Live Action News. “Thirteen states have launched investigations into Planned Parenthood.” And there is a measure pending in Congress to end all federal funding of the nation’s largest abortion-provider. My organization, Family Research Council, is calling on Congress to end federal supportfor Planned Parenthood.
President Obama has unswerving allegiance to unrestricted access to abortion-on-demand, so he would probably never sign such a bill into law. But passage of such legislation would at least signal that the conscience of government is not dead.
But what of the consciences of those involved in this macabre industry? Dehumanization of the unborn means that the officials captured in the videos can discuss the bodies of aborted babies with the detachment of someone haggling over the price of a used car. This does not mean that they do not feel emotion. No doubt they feel certain things very deeply. But it is mere sentiment. Tears, however copious, and laughter, however loud, are mere physical sensations when divorced from a moral core.
Too many people, including most in the media, are willing to look away from the gruesomeness presented in the videos. The fact that so many are willing to build a steel barrier between what the videos show and what they are willing to consider is a grim commentary on man’s capacity for inner moral divisibility: What bothers me, I wall off.
The Law Written on the Heart
Yet mother-to-be Serena Sigillito, writing in The Federalist, reminds us that the videos have awakened many Americans to abortion’s horror. “The Planned Parenthood videos have shown us that there are some people who treat aborted fetuses as nothing more than biological waste to be bought, sold, and experimented upon,” she writes. “Yet I believe that this type of hardened rejection of the value of human life is rare. The average pro-choice voter clings to the maxim of ‘safe, legal, and rare,’ precisely because it allows him or her to avoid thinking about the brutal reality of what he or she defends. These are the people whose minds can be changed. These are the people whose misplaced empathy cannot be allowed to blind them to the humanity of the unborn child any longer.”
This visceral disgust is a sign of what Paul the apostle called “the works of the law written on the heart” (Romans 2:15), the innate conscience built into our very essence as persons made in the image and likeness of God. Those who have this response, even though they may self-identify as “pro-choice,” are now more open to compassionate and thoughtful persuasion.
There are already signs that hearts and minds are changing. Planned Parenthood’s approval ratings are plummeting. The unease and even outrage of millions of Americans should activate every government entity in the nation to defund Planned Parenthood now.