Analysis

Pro-abortion Talking Points Memo writer lies about prenatal and abortion images

Preborn human at about 16 weeks - estimated time of the attempted abortion of Elisa.

Pro-aborts just can’t let go of Carly Fiorina’s challenge to watch the monstrous Planned Parenthood videos. Now, Talking Points Memo’s Sarah Erdreich tries to spin Fiorina’s flagrant act of honesty into “part of a long tradition of anti-abortion advocates who have no problem with lying about what abortion is and what it looks like to advance their agenda”:

Fiorina has refused to back down from her statement, even in the face of evidence that solidly refutes her assertion.

The “evidence” she cites is a report from PolitiFact, which is known to deceive when it comes to pro-life politicians, rating Fiorina’s claim “mostly false” because the baby onscreen was not the same one ex-StemExpress tech Holly O’Donnell witnessed, and because “We don’t know the circumstances behind this video: where it came from, under what conditions it was obtained, or even if this fetus was actually aborted (as opposed to a premature birth or miscarriage).”

But it should have been obvious that Center for Medical Progress never meant to suggest it was the same baby; of course O’Donnell wouldn’t wear a hidden camera to work. And Gregg Cunningham, executive director of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, who provided the footage, confirmed that it was of an intact delivery abortion:

It was filmed at an abortion clinic. It was not a miscarriage. Mothers don’t go to abortion clinics to miscarry. Had this case been a miscarriage, the mother would have presented at a hospital and her baby would have been rushed to an Isolette for appropriate neonatal care — not abandoned to writhe and eventually expire in a cold, stainless steel specimen vessel.

After starting out on a less than confidence-inspiring note, Erdreich continues:

Antis use the approximate date of conception, also known as gestational age; physicians, on the other hand, go by the date of the woman’s last menstrual period (LMP). One reason that physicians use LMP is because that’s the last time a woman knows for sure she wasn’t pregnant; the actual conception can occur anytime between that date and when she doesn’t get her next period.

Dating a pregnancy from the approximate date of conception fits nicely with the anti-choice interest in making fetal images even more shocking than they already are.

Planned Parenthood says this is not a baby.

Planned Parenthood says this is not a baby.

Only in the twisted world of pro-abortion apologetics could dating a fetus’s age starting with the beginning of its existence—the most objective and accurate standard possible—be spun as somehow manipulative. Logic says just the opposite: that the preference for a point not directly tied to the creation of the new life is far more indicative of an attempt to deceive. Indeed, it’s part of the broader push to redefine fertilization and the start of pregnancy as two separate points.

The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, which maintains an extensive library of these images, claims that they’re unable to specify how they acquired the images due to the acquisition agreements used. But a 2010 Slate article stated that the organization pays doctors and clinics to allow a photographer into an operation room and speculates that, since such an arrangement is “unheard of” in the U.S., the images were obtained abroad.

Erdreich doesn’t specify that here she’s shifted from talking about prenatal images in general to images of aborted babies, which are what CBR specializes in. By casting aspersions on the latter she’s trying to sow doubt among the former, even though prenatal imaging is well-established and easily confirmable via scores of educational resources not affiliated with the pro-life movement.

CBR maintains it is fully prepared to defend the accuracy of its post-abortive images in court, that they are confirmable by comparing them to mainstream embryology texts, and that former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino vouches for them. That in and of itself doesn’t independently prove they’re accurate, of course, but Erdreich hasn’t given us any hard evidence to doubt them, either.

As for their possible overseas origins, it’s hard to see that making a significant difference considering that even PolitiFact admits most countries are actually more restrictive of abortion that the United States.

When he gave a speech on the House floor recently, Trent Franks displayed an image of a fetus terminated with a saline abortion—but saline procedures haven’t been commonly used in this country for decades, thanks to advances in abortion care.

Whether or not a Congressman’s staff failed to do their homework on one occasion hardly a conspiracy makes. I’ve been involved in pro-life circles for a long time, and I’ve never been under the impression that saline abortions are still common. Pro-Life Action League, for instance, is quite upfront that they aren’t.

One of the anti-choice movement’s most famous images is of a fetus that was allegedly found in a jar along with several other fetuses, and that jar was apparently stored along with dozens of others in freezers near a Texas abortion clinic. Or so goes the anti-choice account, which conveniently doesn’t name the clinic or explain just how a group of anti-choice activists happened to be the only people to find the freezers, or why they didn’t call the police after their discovery.

3d ultraounds

3d ultraounds

In 2009, New York Times reporter Damien Cave interviewed Operation Rescue’s Flip Benham, who personally witnessed finding the jar as part of a “retrieval mission,” which was so real he went to jail for a similar one. Cave wondered how they knew the child was aborted rather than miscarried (again, a purely speculative question), but didn’t express doubt that the event took place. He also interviewed Professor Monica Migliorino Miller of Madonna University and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, who photographs and documents aborted fetuses, and examined her photos up close.

Oh, and as to Erdreich’s question why they didn’t call the police: for what? Abortion isn’t illegal. That’s the point of the controversy.

At least they didn’t decide to bring the fetuses with them to protests. The same can’t be said for one anti-choice activist who showed up at a 1992 protest carrying a fetus. Think about that for second: A man who claimed to respect life so much that he saw nothing wrong with yelling at strangers about their healthcare decisions used a human fetus as a prop. I don’t know – to me, that seems like pretty much the opposite of respecting life and honoring babies. The reverend was arrested, the fetus was confiscated, and a coroner later concluded that the fetus was stillborn, not aborted.

One activist used a stillborn-rather-than-aborted body over twenty years ago; therefore you shouldn’t believe scores of more recent images of aborted babies were really aborted even though we have no evidence specifically indicating they weren’t? That doesn’t compute. The plural of “anecdote” is not “data,” as they say.

However distasteful the tactics in this particular case were, it does not change the fact that a dead fetus is a dead fetus regardless of how he or she died. The body still shows the humanity of what abortion kills—and sorry Sarah, but throwing in the obligatory “it’s healthcare!” lie doesn’t make it not killing. It figures, though, that she’d consider carrying a dead baby more disrespectful than actually killing one.

[T]he creator of the Planned Parenthood sting videos—the ones that were the subject of Carly Fiorina’s misinformed furor—tried to pass off at least one image of a stillborn fetus as having been aborted. Not only did he use the image without the permission of the family that suffered this loss, but he appeared unable to grasp why it’s dishonest to slip an image of a stillborn fetus into an anti-abortion video.

No he didn’t. Again, the video in question focused on O’Donnell’s testimony—there was no reason to assume she would have secretly recorded things she didn’t expect to see when she showed up to work, and common sense would tell any rational viewer the image was for illustrative purposes only. And contrary to Erdreich’s insinuation, the Fretz family is fully supportive of the picture’s role in the project.

This is an aborted fetus, and people should believe us because we say so. That’s the narrative the Center for Medical Progress has been using with its heavily and deceptively edited videos.

No abortion apologia is complete without a token reference to the videos being “deceptively edited,” lazily thrown in without a hint of concern for whether it’s true or attempt to specify which edits are deceptive, even though real analysis confirms they’re accurate.

And that’s what Carly Fiorina is doing with her campaign against Planned Parenthood for having the temerity to—what? Give women who want to donate fetal tissue to medical research a way to do that? Provide health care? Simply exist?

It is astounding how many adult professionals in the pro-abortion world are content to play dumb like two-year-olds, and are so dishonest that they stoop to pretending not to even know what the fuss is about. Let us help you with that, Sarah:

  • Fetuses are innocent, living human beings, and murdering innocent, living human beings is evil, even before birth.
  • Killing newborns who survive attempted abortions is a federal crime.
  • Performing partial-birth abortions is a federal crime.
  • Profiting off human remains is a federal crime.
  • Altering abortion procedures to obtain intact, usable organs is a federal crime and a severe violation of an abortionist’s ethical obligations to the patient’s safety.

All this dishonesty… in an article ostensibly lecturing others about dishonesty. Erdreich concludes by sneering that “repeating a lie over and over again doesn’t make it the truth,” and that pro-lifers have “little interest” in “honest dialogue” and “little faith” in our “ability to effect change by just being honest.”

Actually, the hypocrisy is even more brazen than that—Sarah Erdreich is, after all, the same pro-abortion zealot who denounced as a slap to rape survivors a bill that contained a rape exception, and who embraced the late-term abortion propaganda film After Tiller even though it lionizes the sort of people who consider dwarfism a perfectly valid reason to kill a child.

She sought to shame pro-lifers for imaginary dishonesty, but only proved us right again: truth is the second casualty when there are babies to kill.

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