A letter writer with an opposing viewpoint has surfaced once again, telling us, in effect, that abortion is a good thing, that physician-assisted suicide/euthanasia is a good thing and that Planned Parenthood is being unjustly maligned by deceptive anti-abortion activists.

Such a barrage of sweeping generalizations, of course, calls for a book-length response. That aside, we can at least counter her contention that the Planned Parenthood tapes were selectively edited. The truth, rather, is that a full nine hours of the recordings have been made available to anyone who cares to listen to them: and editing was to provide a manageable overview of the salient procedures. So, unless one assumes that the tapes were fabricated out of thin air, we can dismiss certain conspiracy theories. 

A letter writer asserts that Planned Parenthood does not profit from the sale of fetal tissue. The tapes obviously tell a different story. Haggling over prices, for example, does point to profiteering. In any event, the letter writer herself admits that Planned Parenthood is deeply involved in the sale of fetal tissue. Predictably, she defends Planned Parenthood by claiming that fetal tissue research has helped in finding cures for a number of diseases. Maybe. But is it ethical? Or legal? There is a reason that informed consent is not always given.

In any case, the tapes, even if edited, tell the story - a story that no amount of spin can sweep under the rug.

The letter writer remarks regarding euthanasia/assisted suicide, however enchanting they sound, reflect a reductionistic utilitarian worldview - the view that human behavior is guided solely by our desire to avoid pain and pursue pleasure. Moreover, the letter writer’s desire to avoid “intractable” suffering leaves a definitional gap wide enough for an 18-wheeler.

In fine, those included to follow the letter writer’s proffered path to happiness should check the contents of the Kool-Aid before they swill it down.

Thomas St. Martin


Editor’s note:  Thomas St. Martin is writing in response to a letter that was published in the Sept. 30 print edition of the Woodbury Bulletin.