This week Planned Parenthood is in the news for some shocking secretly-recorded videos that show senior medical staff casually talking about how to harvest body parts from abortions. Gruesome techniques are blandly discussed — where to “crush” so as to keep desired organs intact — and prices are bandied about (a PP medical director jokes, “I want a Lamborghini.”
This may or may not morph into a scandal — the media normally treats Planned Parenthood as an untouchable icon of Good — but the story caused me to revisit an article I clipped in June, which revealed that abortion rates are plummeting anyway…and that the Millennials may be less pro-choice than their parents.
You can read all the statistics in the article itself, but here’s the money quote, in my opinion:
…there has also been an empathy-driven reaction against abortion among the generation of Americans that grew up in a world of vivid ultrasound images, and among the miracles of neonatal medicine that now make it possible even for babies born extremely prematurely to survive and flourish.
Millennials have also grown up amid the grim images of abortion and its aftermath. For many, the willful destruction of life in the womb seems less an act of “reproductive freedom” than an act of violence against an innocent victim. All of them know someone who has had a legal abortion; they need only look in a mirror to see someone else who could have been lawfully aborted.
One need not revisit the original pro-choice vs. pro-life debate, and it is certainly very unlikely that Roe v. Wade will be overturned and abortion suddenly banned again. What’s really interesting, though, is the degree to which technology is turning an abstract idea into a more concrete reality. Babies can survive outside the womb earlier and earlier in the pregnancy, and, per the article, this seems to be producing some visceral reactions tending to the pro-life side. At the same time, as we watch Planned Parenthood doctors casually discuss, between sips of wine, how to manipulate an abortion so as to “harvest” intact limbs and organs, what does this do to the idea that there really isn’t a person (yet) in there? I think all this will increase the pressure to reduce the time range within which an abortion can be performed; what’s important, in the context of this blog’s focus, is that the younger generations — who are after all the ones getting pregnant and having, or not having, abortions — may be becoming less open to the idea than were the previous generations.