Results tagged “Planned Parenthood” from Reformation21 Blog

Committed to the Cause of Life

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At this point it is impossible to doubt the raw power of the undercover videos unmasking Planned Parenthood's monstrous practices, videos that are effectively turning the organization into an atrocity exhibition for everyone to see (but only some to comment on). The Center for Medical Progress, the group responsible for the videos, deserves our deepest gratitude not only for uncovering this evil but also for modeling what a sustained commitment to the ethics of life looks like. Spending years deploying a covert offensive against one of the most politically entrenched organizations sounds thrilling, until you realize what is involved is largely unglamorous investigative minutiae.

Here is a description of what went into generating these videos. I'm sure movie studio execs will be tripping over themselves to secure the rights.

"[We] spent two-and-a-half years logging thousands of research hours to painstakingly gather hundreds of hours of undercover footage, dozens of eye-witness testimonies, and nearly two hundred pages of primary source documents."

Sounds like quite an adventure. Simply electrifying.

The reality is that the world is not often altered by spectacle but by persistence. The videos themselves are explosive, but the work that went into them, the work that made them possible, was in many ways the antithesis of the showy activism emblematic of our age. Our outrage is ephemeral and fleeting precisely because we have not learned that what it takes to uphold life is to give up one's own.

This is why it's important to highlight the Center's behind-the-scenes labor, and not just the videos the labor produced, as especially worthy of recognition. They have modeled for us what an undaunted commitment to upholding the sacredness of life can accomplish. There is a fervor that is wide-eyed and composed, a kind of renewable moral energy, powered by the willingness to champion the cause of life that is on display here. But you miss it if all you see are the videos and not what it has taken to produce them.

Though I am not privy to the private motivations of the journalists involved with the Center, it's not hard to see what this project has required. History is replete with examples not only of moral courage but moral patience. Indeed, if history is any guide, it is the focused durability of men and women to a cause that has effected real and lasting change. It is the refusal to acquiesce to apathy; a refusal to look away; a willingness to remain haunted by inaudible voices whose capacity to ask for their right to life to be honored is not yet developed.

Our reactions to the various injustices daily broadcasted on social media are often fierce, but uncostly. The Center has exemplified what it requires to take up the cause of life. If we are not animated by the same level of commitment -- each in our own ways, of course, since journalists  are hardly the only ones who can make a difference here -- we fail to uphold the glory of life. For the videos to do their purifying work, we will need to replicate the vigilance that the Center's journalists have shown, a commitment that remains even when the relevant hashtags no longer trend so well.

Berny Belvedere is a professor of Philosophy and writer who lives in Miami, Florida. Follow him @bernybelvedere on Twitter

After Outrage, What?: From Outrage to Outreach

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Recent effects of despotic decisions by the Supreme Court have properly produced outrage. But outrage can subside, and it can become all too easy for us to slide back to our everyday routines. In the midst of our outrage, then, it might be worth pondering the question, "After outrage, what?" The abortion issue rightly focuses on the senseless death of the baby. If we zoom out from that focus, however, we'll notice someone else in the picture as well. Taking a wider view of the situation can give the church an effective, gospel-driven, way to address this tragedy. 

It was John Adams who said "Facts are stubborn things." If Adams lived in today's America, he would have to amend that statement to something like, "Facts are stubborn things, but their stubbornness pales into insignificance compared to the stubbornness of  folly." As the recent Obergefell decision, as well as the less recent Roe vs. Wade decision, show, the intractable darkness of foolishness can suppress the stubbornness of facts in the blink of an eye. In Obergefell, foolishness suppresses the obvious facts of gender, substituting in its place a vacuous and intentionally undefined notion of "love." In Roe vs. Wade, foolishness suppresses the obvious facts of human life, and substitutes a penumbral notion of privacy. In each case, foolishness covers facts like a slimy, diseased blanket.

Washington, now thoroughly adept at causing and celebrating the destruction of a nation, will not solve the problems of folly that it has sanctioned. Instead, it will continue to feed itself by stoking its perpetual survival with whatever fuel is in vogue on a given day. The only solution in the midst of our inevitable decline is the gospel. It is the only good news that has the power to stand against the bad news that now overflows the airwaves like a clogged sewer pipe.

By now, people who are even minimally cognizant of the daily news know that Planned Parenthood is, yet again, exposed for their bloody and torturous trade. For any Christian, outrage is the first and proper response. But, then what? What can Christians do other than be sickened and saddened by the destruction of little, defenseless children, and the sale of their body parts?

This is where outrage can turn to outreach, and tragedy can turn to triumph. When I was in pastoral ministry in Texas, in the late 80s and early 90s, I and a few others determined that the way forward in the abortion disaster was to seek to minister to the mothers who were considering aborting their children. The first thing we had to accomplish was education. Many in the city were supporting Planned Parenthood, and it was thriving. In those days, there was no internet access, so no media clips, etc. But, we had something as powerful. The repentant abortion doctor, Bernard Nathanson, made a film of an abortion that was entitled, "The Silent Scream." It showed the beginning of an abortion as a sharp instrument was inserted into the mother's womb, and into the baby's head. What the film also showed is that the moment the instrument was plunged into the baby's head, his mouth opened -- a "silent scream." I remember showing the film to a group of influential people one evening. After the film was over, a woman raised her hand and asked, "Why didn't they arrest the doctor that did that?" When I said to her, "Because the Supreme Court said this was entirely legal," there was a collective gasp in the room. The reality was setting in.

After a while, the crisis pregnancy center began with full and enthusiastic support. It has been thriving ever since (see http://www.thehopechoice.com). Its mission is to help women who feel trapped, who may not want their own babies, or who have already had an abortion. Each and every one of the women who come to the center hear the good news of Jesus Christ. They are instructed, through the use of ultrasound and of counseling, about their own pregnancies. But they are also instructed about the Way of Life in Christ, the glory of forgiveness in Him, and the reality of real and lasting support in and among His people.

The way forward for the protection of human life is to significantly decrease the demand for Planned Parenthood and other abortionists. That can only happen when the church, in earnest and en masse, determines to spend the time and the money to minister to women who, for a variety of reasons, have been convinced that the destruction of their children is the best, or only, path for them. It's a slow process. It won't grab headlines. It takes a substantial amount of time and money. It takes organization and perseverance. It is a commitment for the long haul. But it is a commitment to the reality that the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, is the only, and glorious, solution to the carnage of 1.5 million babies a year.

Only a fool could ignore or suppress the cold, hard and brutal facts of the abortion industry. But fools abound presently. The one solution to folly is the wisdom and power of God, in the gospel of His Son. Will the church rise up in support of women who need another option? If not, we should expect that the fools who operate and support Planned Parenthood will continue to thrive, even as our momentary outrage, like the daily news, gives way to more folly.