By Stephanie To | Respect Life Apostolate, Archdiocese of St. Louis
“She has one of her instruments and she just taps the heart and it starts beating. I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus and its heart is beating and I don’t know what to think.”
In these words, Holly O’Donnell, a former procurement technician for StemExpress, LLC, describes the sheer horror of what happened in the back rooms of Planned Parenthood. This seventh video, released today, describes fetuses born alive and cut open so that their organs and tissues could be harvested. By far, it is the most graphic and disturbing revelation uncovered. We are seeing an industry that is focused on making money, not on caring for the woman or child.
“Human beings too are creatures of this world, enjoying a right to life and happiness, and endowed with unique dignity,” wrote Pope Francis in his recent encyclical Laudato Si’. Our Holy Father goes on to say:
“On the other hand, it is troubling that, when some ecological movements defend the integrity of the environment, rightly demanding that certain limits be imposed on scientific research, they sometimes fail to apply those same principles to human life. There is a tendency to justify transgressing all boundaries when experimentation is carried out on living human embryos. We forget that the inalienable worth of a human being transcends his or her degree of development.”
The depravity towards human life shown in these videos is offensive in the most profound way. The act of selling the tissue further denigrates the respect that ought to be accorded to human life as well as to the human body after death. As the Missouri Catholic bishops recently stated, “Even the ‘donating’ of fetal body parts from aborted babies is wrong. It compounds the evil of abortion…The unborn child is killed, dismembered and then his or her remains are treated not as sacred, but as if they were a commodity.”
Knowledge of Church teaching on this matter is not enough. Our baptismal call to holiness includes a call to evangelization, to speak the truth in charity. We have an obligation to do what we can to reawaken our culture to the dignity each and every person has from the moment of conception.
Take the time to watch these videos. Do not turn away simply because it makes you feel uncomfortable; rather, use the sadness and anger you may feel to take constructive steps to end these practices. There are a number of things you can do:
- Pray and fast for the conversion of hearts and minds. We need to storm heaven with prayers for the conversion of so many in our society who, whether through ignorance or choice, fail to understand the gravity of what happens in an abortion. Ultimately, it is through the God’s grace that women will choose life for their child. It is God’s grace that will convince our elected officials will establish policies that protect the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. It is God’s grace that will convert that those affiliated with the abortion industry.
- Share this with everyone. The secular media has done a good job trying to keep these videos out of the public eye, but with social media and email, we don’t need to wait for them to do their job. Share these videos on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
- Be courageous and talk about what these videos show. These videos have armed us with a powerful tool to begin conversations about our cultural values. Are we truly a society that is okay with cutting the face of a 20 week old fetus, a human being that feels pain and has a heartbeat? Should we be funding companies who willfully go against the wishes of the mother by taking her deceased child’s tissue? Is it okay to think of body parts like car parts, simply to be bought and sold?
- Stand up and show that you are not okay with what is happening. Public rallies and demonstrations are happening in our archdiocese. Attend and voice your support for the truth with your presence. Write letters and op-eds to local news outlets to raise public awareness.
- Contact your elected representatives. In Missouri, the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life has been established to investigate Planned Parenthood’s activities in our state. Contact the senators and thank them for their work. Write to your elected representatives at the state and federal level to encourage them to support other legislation that holds Planned Parenthood accountable for their actions.
Now is the time to be courageous in our witness to the Truth. As Archbishop Robert J. Carlson exhorted in his pastoral letter on evangelization, “The time has come to challenge our culture and ourselves…It is time for us to stop conforming to the world and accommodating the culture, and time for us to start transforming them.” Working together, we can transform our culture so that what is shown in these videos will never happen again.