In the past couple of weeks, disturbing videos have surfaced showing Planned Parenthood’s practices regarding financial compensation for the donation the organs of unborn children. These videos have rightly troubled the consciences of many. Before further comment, it must be said that such stories may well bring up pain and trauma for those who have had an abortion, or journeyed with someone who has. Our communities must be ready to offer support through groups such as our own Hope and Healing After Abortion ministry. Our Church is committed to offering confidential, nonjudgmental help.
It is heartening to see grassroots responses across the country responding to the betrayal of women, men and children through these and other practices by what can only be called an abortion industry. For decades, Catholics and other Christians have founded and run selflessly agencies with the sole mission of caring for women, men and children in crisis, not only the at the time of pregnancy but also during the ongoing financial social, and other struggles that may be faced by any given individual. We need a different conversation about what constitutes real care and genuine life-affirming choices.
Last year, while funding for basic healthcare remained cut, leaving millions struggling for basic services, California increased funding for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood by 40 percent. Americans are right to be morally troubled by these callous practices regarding organ donation, the insulting cost-benefit “choice” of abortion as cheaper than health care, and the taking of a life in the womb itself. The central moral question around these practices is not one of legality but the morality of these denials of what those of us within and without the womb share: a common humanity.
The glimpses of the denial of our common humanity seen in these videos are examples of what Pope Francis calls an economy that kills. Inasmuch as all persons in society contribute to this throwaway culture through our own over-consumption, as well as the unquestioned acceptance of the commodification of human persons for biomedical research, the lack of provision for basic health care and services to make easier for women to welcome a child, and the indifference and hardness of our own hearts–in our common humanity we share a common responsibility. May God give us the grace of repentance and renewed commitment to the gift of life.