Editor’s note: We ran this series originally in 2010; this version is updated slightly and will expand it.
Part I – When Abortion and Human Trafficking Meet
Often in the pro-life movement we think of abortion as an isolated thing. We see it as the debate between those who know life begins at conception and those who think abortion is choice, but the depths of this industry lead so much further into darkness than we can imagine. Recently, a disturbing but substantiated piece of research was presented to me. So alarming were the findings that I found my cries for mercy for our nation more desperate than ever.
Vicki Evans, Respect Life coordinator for the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s Office of Public Policy and Social Concerns wrote her thesis on the side of the abortion industry pro-aborts don’t want us to discuss: The financial side. I encourage you to take time to actually read a PDF of this research.* I’ve read it. It’s credible and it’s terrifying.
Fetal research is a profitable industry that goes far beyond the abortion clinics themselves. While we know that Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics profit nicely off abortions, what happens when those babies are killed is more alarming. Technically, fetuses are reported to be disposed of as organic medical waste, but Evans points out that that doesn’t always happen and cites that “Stericycle, the largest medical waste disposal company in the country, refuses to dispose of fetal remains due to a clause in their drivers’ labor contract that allows the drivers to refuse to accept fetal waste. Typically, cremation of the remains takes place or they are released into the sewage system” (27).
Evans goes on to cite a study by Life Dynamics regarding wholesaling fetuses:
Three participants are commonly involved—the “seller,” the “buyer,” and the “wholesaler.” The wholesaler (or middleman) enters into a financial agreement with an abortion clinic (the seller) to pay a monthly “site-fee”, comparable to rent, to the clinic. In exchange, the wholesaler is allowed to position a retrieval agent inside the clinic, where he is given access to the dead fetuses and a workspace to harvest their parts. (27)
Her thesis then details the “fee-for-service” schedule of some of these parts:
These specimens included 47 livers, 11 liver fragments, 7 brains, 21 eyes, 8 thymuses, 23 legs, 14 pancreases, 14 lungs, 6 arms, 1 kidney/adrenal gland and 3 intact specimens for purposes of securing the blood. When priced out according to the “Fee for Service Schedule,” 80 the shipment of parts for the month generated gross revenues of between $18,700 and $24,700, depending upon whether the parts were shipped fresh or frozen. Some sample prices for individual body parts from the above-referenced schedule are as follows: liver $150, pancreas $100, thymus $100, kidney $125, lungs and heart block $150, brain $999, spinal cord $325, bone morrow $350, eyes $75, gonads $550, intact cadaver $400, intact trunk with/without limbs $500, limbs (at least 2) $150.
“The hearings were doomed from the start by the national political system. The Democratic Party leadership is widely known to be beholden to the abortion industry for its significant financial support. What may be less widely known is that the Republican Party routinely receives substantial financial contributions from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. These facts of political life made sure the hearings went no further. The biggest obstacle in trying to stop the trafficking of baby parts was the fact that the Democrats were in bed with the sellers and the Republicans were in bed with the buyers” (36).
Lest we leave such horror to the academics and scientists behind closed doors, just last year Jacob Appel wrote this column in which he calls for the sale of fetal body parts for the sake of social good:
Opponents of reproductive choice will object to such a market on the grounds that it will increase the number of abortions — which will indeed be the logical result. However, such a market might also bring solace to women who have already decided upon abortion, but desire that some additional social good come from the procedure. Like the families of accident victims who donate the organs of their loved ones, these women could well find their decisions fortified by the public benefit that they generate. An additional economic incentive would further assuage any doubts, and might even make the procedure more palatable to otherwise equivocal spouses or partners.
Notice, his solution to comfort the doubting: More money. Pay them off.
The American Society for Cell Biology has published this list of facts and summary of the laws on fetal research. This source also notes that “Scientists obtain fetal tissue for research purposes from a variety of sources including, hospitals, nonprofit tissue banks (one of which is funded by the NIH) and in some cases local abortion clinics.”
These horrifying facts are another look behind the industry of death in this nation, which, according to some, are working in tandem with some of our political leaders. Certainly this can’t be denied when they have even be the subject of congressional hearings and gone untouched. We recall the debates over health care this year where allegedly pro-life members of Congress suddenly turned and seemed to have gained money for their states in the process, and we remember the words of the prophet Ezekiel:
“In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take usury and increase; you have made profit from your neighbors by extortion, and have forgotten Me,” says the Lord GOD. “Behold, therefore, I beat My fists at the dishonest profit which you have made, and at the bloodshed which has been in your midst. (Ezekiel 22:12-13)
And this horror is only the surface. In the next blog, I’ll look at the loopholes that allow the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries to use aborted babies to make us “better.”
*Evans, V. (2009). Commercial markets created by abortion: Profiting from the fetal distribution chain. Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, Rome.