Why Have Progressives Been Silent on the Planned Parenthood Video?

Very few progressives seem to be speaking out against what a Planned Parenthood doctor is saying in this video:

The progressives on my Facebook and Twitter feeds have said almost nothing.  The only person of the religious left who has commented is Charles Marsh, a religion professor at the University of Virginia.  Here is what Marsh said yesterday on Facebook: “So far only the conservative and right-wing media are treating the Planned Parenthood story as an ethical crisis. A missed opportunity for Democrats and liberals to affirm the sacred character of created life.”

(One exception is Arit John’s piece at Bloomsburg Politics). 

Ed Stetzer, writing at Christianity Today, wonders why evangelical progressives have been so quiet. Here is a taste:

The Planned Parenthood video has received (and deserved) wide coverage. It should been seen by all who can handle watching it. Actually, if you care about justice, I think you should take the time to watch the whole video. The entire unedited version is available, despite many only referencing a “heavily edited” version.
Many have commented and that’s encouraging. Yet, some have been conspicuously absent, when they’ve spoken up on so many other issues.
In my last post, I was very clear the video does not say quite what the “Center for Medical Progress” wants it to say. However, along the same lines, the video doesn’t say what Planned Parenthood wants it to say either.
There are plenty of people pointing out the discrepancies in both statements, but the people who are strangely silent are the leaders of the Democratic Party and some progressive Christians who are often aligned with them.
To date, no high-ranking Democrat in the United States has commented on the video. That’s unfortunate, because progressives should be leading the fight against this grotesque act of selectively removing and preserving aborted fetuses’ organs for scientific use…
Deeply rooted in the foundation of our nation is the belief that every human being has dignity and the right to live in that dignity. As progressives, we further believe that the government plays a crucial role in protecting that dignity, especially among those who face adverse societal conditions: the poor, the unemployed, the uninsured, immigrants, the LGBT community — and yes — pregnant women and their unborn children.
And he is right. The silence has been deafening.
Stetzer continues:
Many others will debate the politics and the next steps, but I am wondering: where are the religious voices from the left on this issue?
Where are those bloggers, and speakers, and social justice organizations who have spoken up on so many injustices? (I will happily post those who’ve spoken up for the unborn child in this situation.)
Where are the mainline denominational leaders speaking up, while millions of people in their churches have heard the news or watched the video and wonder where their church stands?
And, most of all, where’s the voice of some of those progressive evangelicals who once promised that, though they were broadening the pro-life agenda to include peace, the environment, and social justice, assured us they would not lose sight of the life of the unborn?
And one more time:
Sadly, the outrage over the contents of this video has mostly been found among conservative voices, mainline voices are largely absent, and progressive evangelical voices are few.
Many appear concerned about the source and the editing of the video. But let’s not discount the tragedy because we don’t like those who brought it to light. “The video is misleading and heavily edited!,” you say, but is what’s clear in the unedited version is not horrible enough for your to say something?
At the end of the day, we have a video over two hours long discussing what really takes place in the world of the abortion industry. And, that’s a justice issue.
What do you think?  Is Stetzer onto something here?  
Is it possible to separate the obvious editing of the video and the fact that it was made with a hidden-camera under false pretenses, from the serious ethical problems with Dr. Nucatola’s comments?  

I am with Christopher Hale on this one.
And speaking of hiding a camera and catching someone saying something inappropriate, no one seemed to let Mitt Romney off the hook when this video appeared in 2012.
I have not been able to find anything about this video at Sojourners or Slactivist, two progressive evangelical blogs that I read regularly and often find to be very useful and sometimes even “prophetic.”
And now I will return to my usual fare of history-related posts….

10 thoughts on “Why Have Progressives Been Silent on the Planned Parenthood Video?

  1. Just FYI, here are the two posts I wrote on this topic in the days before this post here. It's all somewhat predictable and repetitive — the same thing I've been writing about this video for the past decade — and it's kind of long-winded, but two posts =/= silence:



    And here's the post I wrote the day after this one:


    OK, then.


  2. Any minds that haven't changed yet won't change now just because the free market has entered the equation. Dr. Gosnell has got to be wondering why he's rotting in prison when this stuff still goes on. And in the name of consistency it's hard to tell him he's wrong.


  3. Anonymous Warren Throckmorton said…
    I know you are referring to progressive writers and pundits but pro-choice folk are speaking loudly at my blog: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2015/07/16/crushed/

    “This is hard to process.

    This video (see below) may lead to an investigation and discovery of wrongdoing. But it will almost certainly lead others to reflect about what happens in an abortion. I doubt any laws will change but I suspect some minds might.”

    How brave you are, Dr. Throckmorton.


  4. MSC:

    But the anti-life crowd over at Planned Parenthood wants us all to remember that it's nothing more than tissue. If a “fetus” were a human being, then killing it would be murder in every case except for saving the life of the mother. Hence, it can't be anything more than a clump of cells. And selling it is no more harmful than running a lemonade stand.

    Heck, even good old Republicans–the party that defends life!–know this to be true. Here is a GOPer affirming what I wrote:

    Hon. Sue Hartley (R)

    Board Member, Fifth District

    San Diego County Board of Education

    I am pro-choice because I believe in letting women control their own fertility and decide for themselves when they are ready to be a parent. – See more at: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-pacific-southwest/get-involved-locally/take-action/why-am-pro-choice#sthash.DnpgimPA.dpuf


  5. Anonymous' words parallel what liberal commenters are saying all over the internet: This is just fetal tissue (cells) used for beneficial scientific/ medical purposes. Using words like 'fetus', 'tissue' and 'cells' seeks to de-personalize the horror of what is described in the video. We are talking about late term babies that are partially birthed so that as their bodies emerge from the mother's womb, their heads can be cut-off; heads with fully functioning eyes, ears, nasal passages, and brains. Depending on what fully functioning organs can be useful for sale, the chest cavity is ripped open and the heart removed. Or the abdomen is ripped open so that the liver, kidneys or other organs can be removed. Then the rest of the body is delivered dead so as to avoid a complete live birth, which in the pro-choice parlance some how magically turns the fetus into a human being. As long as one foot remains inside its mother, it is not a human being – it is just tissue. The person who can look askance at such a procedure with indifference is a person who has gone great lengths to justify unmitigated evil. The reason no serious pro-abortion liberal/ progressive wants to take this on is because the evil of it is so plainly spelled out by the beloved leaders of Planned Parenthood.


  6. I detest abortion. I do not support it at all. I am not surprised at all about this event. In fact, it supports the claims made by the pro-life side that abortion is about business. So I am not going to defend something I detest.


  7. Why should the anti-life crowd respond at all?

    If abortion is nothing more than removing a clump of cells, then what's wrong with subsequently selling those cells to the highest bidder at a price that clears the market with all profits going to the most efficient provider of said cells?

    If my dermatologist told that me he sold the cells from my latest skin cancer biopsy then I would only ask him where my cut of the take was. There may be legal rules surrounding the sale of cell tissue, but the ethical rules are not in dispute.


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