If planned parenthood is selling body parts, that is patently illegal and needs to be stopped and the perpetrators prosecuted. The contents of the video which has been in the news, and which I have not watched, are being contested. In the end, it will all be sorted out and if anything illegal is going on, those performing illegal actions will be dealt with accordingly.
Regarding the services of Planned Parenthood: they have almost 11 million patient contact each year. Testing and treatment of STDs is about 4.1 million of those. Providing contraception accounts for another 3.1 million; cancer screening about 1 million. They provide about 300,000 abortions each year—around 3% of their services. They provide many valuable and needed services to the women of the country.
Many Conservatives often describe liberals as wanting to kill unborn babies. Patently not true. I know no one who, as a general belief wants to kill unborn babies. To put it bluntly, those who say such things are lying.
The estimates are that nearly 40% of the women in the country have had abortions by the time they are 50 years old. Given the demographics, this means a significant number of those aborting babies are Christian.
The uproar in recent years—more and more since Roe v. Wade—is due to the advancement of science. We now know when a heart begins to beat, and a few states have decided that life begins at conception, even going so far as to prosecute women who fall and spontaneously abort a baby.
Some are saying that a fertilized egg is a life and to destroy them is tantamount to murder. So when in vitro fertilization is done to help people have babies who otherwise could not, and many fertilized eggs are not brought to term, is that murder? Many believe so. Should we stop this process?
The IUD—used by millions of women since the 1950s—prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall, thereby denying it life: killing the life which began at conception. Should these women be prosecuted for murder?
The issue of when life begins has scientific and moral aspects to it. One general rule of science is fetal viability—that is, when can a baby life on its own? What about babies born without brains? What is the definition of a life?
The moral side of the equation is in some ways easier and in other ways more difficult to decide. One can rely on religious belief to make this decision, and this is appropriate. What one cannot do is rely on the Bible to make it, because the Bible—as with many things—in notoriously indecisive about the concept.
But in many ways, to ask the Bible to answer a scientific question like this is to misunderstand the nature of the Bible. There was no concept of sperm fertilizing an egg at that time. To have said so would have had no meaning to anyone. Instead, the growth of a baby was thought of as a seed growing inside a woman, planted in her fertile ground, so to speak. Just as a seed becomes a plant when it emerges from the ground, so too a man’s planted seed becomes another human being when it emerges from the womb. This is not hair splitting. We know, through scientific learning, that the new life is the joining of parts of existing life of the mother and father. In the Biblical concept, the idea was the father planted seed—his seed—and the woman’s role was to nurture and grow it until it became life.
In Genesis, God breathed life into Adam and Eve, and most people believes this Ruach was considered the source of life. So, in this regard, life begins with breath.
In the law books, this gets interesting.
Exodus 21:22-25, describes a case where a pregnant woman jumps into a fight between her husband and another man and suffers injuries that cause her to miscarry. While any injuries to the woman are treated as an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life. Killing the woman is murder. The miscarriage is as property loss, not murder. The assailant must pay a fine to the husband. The law of a life for a life does not apply. The fetus is important, but it’s not human life in this section of the law.
Further, the Bible condones the killing of an unborn child in the case of adultery (Leviticus 13). If a man suspects his wife of adultery, he is to take here to a priest and pay for the test. The priest mixes a potion and causes her to drink “bitter” water, which brings a curse. If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse. If, however, the woman has not made herself impure, but is clean, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children (verses 27& 28). If those who believe life begins at birth and that killing an unborn baby is murder, then the Bible called for the murder of a baby for being unfaithful—this goes way beyond “eye for eye” justice.
Now many will say that Jesus did away with the law, we are not under it anymore. What Jesus did away with was the ritualistic law, the cleanliness laws, but the ethical laws were retained. The concept of cleanliness and uncleanliness was done away with, so we can now eat shellfish and wear garments made of cotton and silk, or polyester, I suppose (the horror).
As an aside, this is one of the issues I have with using Leviticus to say that homosexuality is a sin—the passage a few chapters after this one is a listing of ritualistic or cleanliness codes, not ethical laws, but even if one believes the passage on homosexuality is an ethical law, it is still not sin, but “abomination” in this passage. Abomination is not sin, it is more akin to something uncomfortable or perhaps contrary to the mores of the society at that time (when Joseph took his brothers to Egypt, he told them not to tell the Egyptians they were shepherds because to the Egyptians, shepherding was an abomination—Genesis 46:34.)
I am not sure which set of laws the adultery test falls under—cleanliness or ethical—but either way, even of it was done away with, it was at one time the law. Killing an unborn baby was just and appropriate—legal— according to this law if the wife had been unfaithful. This should appall all people in this day and age. The Biblical literalist who believes the Bible is inerrant and in a moral and just God has a problem because even if Jesus suspended it, for at least several hundred, if not more than a thousand years, this was God’s law for the Israelites. There are a lot of other knots in this thread about inerrancy and literalism and a just God in this one area alone, and while worthy of discussion, this is not the place.
Jesus said exactly zip about abortion or, what may be even worse, the practice of the exposure of children. It was common practice from before the time of the Exodus through the Middle ages to abandon unwanted children up to the age of four in the wilderness, and this was not a crime. The horror of leaving a child to starve, alone, in the world, is unimaginably cruel to most of us, but it was practiced and largely done so without comment or punishment (unless the person deciding and abandoning the child was a woman). True, the Torah prohibited the killing of live children, but as can be seen from above, abortion was permitted. So possibly few Jews did this, but the others living around them probably did, and Jesus said nothing of it.
Believe abortion is bad. It is. It takes a terrible toll on most of the women who have had one. But do not base this on the Bible. Base it on your moral belief system made possible because of what we now know because of scientific advances.
For me, I wish for no baby to be aborted, but I am not going to make these decisions for another human.
As for the sale of body parts, whether it is of a fetus or an adult human, it is a detestable practice. I pray that Planned Parenthood has not done this. We need them to provide all the services to women who otherwise would be alone and helpless.