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American values do not support Planned Parenthood

Frank Beckmann
Special to The Detroit News

Throughout the course of civilization’s history, countries evolve with the object of improving themselves. Changes occur according to changing norms and we hope those adjustments are always helping to improve conditions for all.

In the United States, that has included an end to slavery, and equal rights for people of each race, sex, and now even sexual persuasion.

But a recent news story has exposed a major stain on American culture, one involving an issue that has severely divided the country for decades, the topic of abortion.

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 — giving women the right to end pregnancies through abortion — our nation has been deeply split on the topic.

Proponents say abortion is nothing more than the right of a woman to determine what’s best for her own body by eliminating a growing fetus.

Opponents say a woman takes on the responsibility for nurturing that baby to term, and life, once she involves herself in the physical relationship that produced that growing human, and that she has no right to end the life of a helpless baby.

But no matter which side you take, pro-choice or pro-life, it’s difficult to picture support for America’s biggest abortion mill, the taxpayer funded organization known as Planned Parenthood, which reported that it conducted 327,653 of the procedures in 2014.

Various right-to-life groups say Planned Parenthood has conducted almost 7 million U.S. abortions since 1970, and that more than 58 million fetal lives have been ended by the procedure in our nation since the Roe v. Wade decision.

This column is likely not going to change your mind on the moral efficacy of abortion because Americans seem to hold entrenched positions on the subject, but one would hope we can all agree that the undercover videos we’ve witnessed in the past week beg for a reappraisal of at least one legal part of the abortion universe — the harvesting of fetal organs and tissue for scientific experimentation.

Several top Planned Parenthood executives were captured on camera, one describing the process of avoiding the crushing of baby organs that are intended for sale.

Another was shown negotiating prices for such sales and expressing the wish to earn enough to buy a Lamborghini.

Amazingly, such free market sales by Planned Parenthood, which receives more than $500 million in annual government grants, are perfectly legal under federal law, so long as an abortion provider only charges for costs arising from the transfer of lawfully donated tissue to medical research centers.

It’s that law, unknown to many Americans, that needs immediate rescission.

The very fact that fetal organs and tissue are sold to research centers serves as an admission that the donor body is alive, and not just a mass of random cells.

But the moral case here goes even deeper, and should remind us of the outrage we still feel over similar activities carried out during one of the darkest times of any nation’s history, World War II Nazi Germany — and that’s no overstatement.

Back in the ’40s, sadistic Nazi doctor, Josef Mengele, conducted all sorts of medical experiments on unwilling subjects — mostly Jews — with research grants provided by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the largest research foundation in Europe (to this day) funded by the German government and its individual states.

Mengele’s “research” laboratory was attached to the main crematorium in the death camp known as Auschwitz.

It was there that he conducted his experiments and shipped off specimens from the bodies of prisoners to his sponsors for further research, just as Planned Parenthood execs were explaining in those videos.

Mengele would later explain in a diary that, “The real problem is to define when human life is worth living and when it has to be eradicated.”

While this week’s videos of the Planned Parenthood execs should give us hope that morality dictates a change from the modern day equivalent of Mengele research, reality suggests we not hold our breath.

After all, the diary entry from the butcher of Auschwitz sounds all-too similar to statements made by Obamacare architect, Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, who has written in the New England Journal of Medicine that patients with dementia should not receive health services, and “The earlier a patient dies, the less costly is his or her care,” as a cost cutting strategy.

So in our country’s history of advancement in equal rights and even same-sex marriage, we now stand side by side on the doormat of history with one of the world’s most reviled individuals, our future begging us to make the right decision and cut the umbilical cord that currently binds us with him.

Frank Beckmann is host of “The Frank Beckmann Show” on WJR-AM (760) from 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday.