Another Planned Parenthood horror flick, and why we won't show it to you

by Gregory Tomlin |

(REUTERS/Dominick Reuter)The Planned Parenthood logo is pictured outside a clinic in Boston, Massachusetts. The Center for Medical Progress has now published its ninth undercover video on the abortion provider and its practice of selling aborted fetal tissue. Christian Examiner is changing the way it reports the videos, and will no longer post them to its site.

NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) – The Center for Medical Progress, the anti-abortion group responsible for the most devastating attack against Planned Parenthood since its founding, has published a ninth video showing officials with Advanced Bioscience Resources and Planned Parenthood again discussing the sale and trafficking of organs from aborted fetuses.

The callous, vapid descriptions of "smooth" livers and of fetuses "just" falling out of their mothers after the "initiation of fetal demise," or poisoning with Digoxin, are no less an assault on the sensibilities of decent human beings than were the first videos in the series.

Seeing the images of shredded little human beings in the Planned Parenthood videos has caused those of us who have reported on them enduring scars on our own souls. We have noticed that the more we view – even as greater levels of human depravity are revealed – that we, and perhaps our readers, now seem dangerously close to fearing what will come next, but suppressing that fear and waiting with anticipation to watch the next videos to confirm what we already know.
- Gregory Tomlin

Collectively, the videos have succeeded in drawing attention both to the utter depravity of eugenics and moral insanity of abortion for the sake of convenience. They have, as well, exposed the lust for money that has not only devalued the lives of the unborn, but also whittled away at the humanity of the abortionists and executives who lead the industry.

As a nation, we once fought wars to put an end to such atrocities as the mass murder committed in abortion clinics. Now, our leaders argue over how much funding to put behind the holocaust of the unborn.

As we have covered the videos posted by the Center for Medical Progress, we have noticed as journalists who have to watch them in order to report and inform, that we have become "too familiar" with the images and discussions contained in them. We are grieved by what we see, and we initially believed posting the videos helped readers understand the gravity of the situation.

Our thinking has changed.

While we can say with certainty that Christian Examiner remains committed to reporting on future videos because we believe all life is a gift from God, we will no longer post the gruesome videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress. This change in policy is not a result of an altered position on abortion on the part of our writers or a belief that the prolife activists are in error.

While we can say with certainty that Christian Examiner remains committed to reporting on future videos because we believe all life is a gift from God, we will no longer post the gruesome videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress. This change in policy is not a result of an altered position on abortion on the part of our writers or a belief that the anti-abortion activists are in error.
- Gregory Tomlin

Why then would we no longer carry the videos, many of which contain images of mounds of fetal tissue in baking dishes or fully intact, aborted fetuses still moving their arms and legs?

The answer is both simple and complex.

Last week during an early morning television broadcast, reporter Alison Parker and her cameraman, Adam Ward, were summarily executed by a hate-filled, racist gunman with a penchant for stoking racial strife and controversies over homosexuality wherever he went.

In the earliest broadcasts about the event – even after the live broadcast from the scene – the video showed both Parker and Ward being gunned down.

Later broadcasts did not, but word soon surfaced that the gunman had also recorded and posted his murderous act. That video also made its rounds on the deep, dark Internet and we again, as reporters, needed to watch the video in order to report on it for readers. Though unpleasant, it is part of our sometimes uncomfortable profession.

Shortly after the murderer's video was published, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, wrote in a column that he had seen the video of the reporter and her cameraman being shot – but he wished he hadn't. He had witnessed firsthand the murder of two human beings and the serious injury of another.

Moore wrote in his column that many had called that video a "snuff film," a purposeful accounting of the extermination of human life that "feeds into morbidity and bloodlust." Videos like it, and the many others that can be found online, also raise the viewers' tolerance level for violence and make the impact of an actual murder no more compelling than those seen in well-produced television dramas.

That doesn't mean, as Moore said, that all killing should be removed from before our eyes. It is, he argued, beneficial to remind people of the Sept. 11 attacks by showing the planes flying into the World Trade Center, just as it is fitting – we argue – to continue showing footage of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7.

Moore views the Planned Parenthood videos in much the same way. He has claimed that they should be watched in order to understand the morbidity and gravity contained within them. As noted, we agreed with this opinion for a period of time.

Now, however, we believe continuing to publish fetal "snuff films" is really no less gratuitous than watching an adult human being dispatched with a .45 caliber pistol or, as Moore put it, "A videotaped massacre can easily be a kind of pornography, turning human beings—made in the image of God–into spectacles, all while giving the illusion of a safe distance between their suffering and the audience."

Seeing the images of shredded little human beings in the Planned Parenthood videos has caused those of us who have reported on them enduring scars on our own souls. We have noticed that the more we view – even as greater levels of human depravity are revealed – that we, and perhaps our readers, now seem dangerously close to fearing what will come next, but suppressing that fear and waiting with anticipation to watch the next videos to confirm what we already know.

Simply put, we do not want this dulling of the emotional and moral senses for ourselves, and we do not wish it on you.

--with Joni B. Hannigan, Executive Editor