The release of a video showing Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Senior Director of Planned Parenthood’s Medical Services Department, allegedly speaking of how to extract the body part of aborted children for commercial purposes is shocking but should not shock. Indeed, if you are shocked, you need to ask yourself why. It actually represents in miniature the quintessence of much of modern culture.
First, it is the logical outcome of the chaotic notion of the self that now rules in the West. If the self is a psychologically self-determined identity, then those incapable of such are not persons until such time as they can do so. Peter Singer has merely given systematic philosophical form to what many people unreflectively believe. Thus, if you call Bruce Jenner ‘Caitlyn,’ you have no right to be shocked.
Second, it is the logical outcome of denying personhood to the unborn child and maintaining that it is simply part of the mother’s own body. Within such a framework, extracting body parts for commercial reasons is no more obnoxious than selling one’s hair to a wig maker. If you typically talk about fetuses and not about unborn children, you have no right to be shocked.
Third, it is the logical outcome of individual sovereignty over our own bodies. If you believe that you have the right to do with your body what you will, sexually or otherwise, then you have no right to be shocked.
Fourth, it is the logical outcome of the commercialization of the body. If you watch pornography or if you think prostitution should be legalized, then you have no basis to find the commercial aspect of this action distasteful or morally objectionable. You have no right to be shocked.
Fifth, it is the logical outcome of a therapeutic world which has made the masters of medical technique into the moral philosophers of our society and where truth is identified with being cured, whether the ailment be physical or psychological. If it can be done and it if helps somebody somewhere, then not only ought it to be done – it must be done and to demur is immoral. If you think medical research trumps everything, you have no right to be shocked.
In fact, Planned Parenthood is not to be condemned. Surely it is to be congratulated for having so perfectly summarized the spirit of our age.