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Opening Arguments

It's not just the tone

Two senior Planned Parenthood officials were caught on undercover videos calmly talking about "crushing" the fetuses of late-term abortions to get their body parts and finding "less crunchy ways" to perform abortions while preserving salable fetal tissue. Kirsten Powers isn't exactly a rightwing fanatic, so her views on the ensuing controversy do not come from blindly following conservative orthodoxy:

 This is stomach-turning stuff. But the problem here is not one of tone. It’s the crushing. It’s the organ harvesting of  fetuses that abortion-rights activists want us to believe have no more moral value than a fingernail. It’s the lie that these are not human beings worthy of protection. There is no nice way to talk about this. As my friend and former Obama White House staffer Michael Wear tweeted, “It should bother us as a society that we have use for aborted human organs, but not the baby that provides them.”

[. . .]

Mississippi abortion doctor Willie Parker — who was lauded by Esquire for his “abortion ministry” — ran with the trope that direct quotes from a Planned Parenthood doctor constitute a vicious attack, but went a step further: He compared Nucatola to Jesus. “It's no secret that my frame of reference for the work that I do and in terms of generating compassion is related to my religious understanding and, in particular, my Christian religious understanding,” Parker told Cosmopolitan magazine. “I'm thinking about a strong parallel between what's happening to my colleague (Nucatola) and the trial week of Jesus before he was crucified (as) he was marched from place to place, asked to answer allegations.”

When abortion doctors are elevated to gods who may not be questioned or held accountable, society has officially gone off the rails.

To be fair, pro-life warriors commit the same sin on the other end, insisting that those tiny clumps of cells right after inception are just the same as a fully developed, late-term fetus, and obviously they are not. But the sin on this end -- insisting that a fully formed fetus, no matter how late in the preganncy, is the same as those clumps of cells -- is the far greater one. You can't think like that without abandoning your humanity, without straying so far from decency that you don't understand what a monstrosity you're condoning.

Remember the raging controversy over the ethics of embryonic stem cell research? How quaint and tame that seems now.

Republicans are always getting ambushed by the press with the "exceptions for rape or incest" question on abortion. Democrats never get ambushed with something like "How late in the pregnancy does it have to be for abortion not to be OK?" If this doesn't bring us some balance in the questioning, nothing ever will.