A different view of the Planned Parenthood debate

Travis McMullen - Contributing Columnist

Travis McMullen

Contributing Columnist


In the perfect world of facts, we know the Planned Parenthood videos that were spliced together by David Daleiden and sparked outrage all over the country are fraudulent. They are full of quotes removed entirely from their context, quotes that have been made up out of thin air and fake statistics that are attributed to various organizations.

When the videos came out they were big news, but very few of the media outlets that fanned the flames of controversy put out the follow-up story that it was mostly fake. That part didn’t matter – the outrage was already loose and politicians all over the country had a new excuse to attack the woman’s health infrastructure in their cities and states.

Yes, sometimes Planned Parenthood chooses to donate some of the fetal tissue that comes from some of their procedures because there are scientific and medical pursuits that can use that tissue to potentially advance the cause of medical science. And yes, sometimes they receive some compensation for the amount they have to spend to make those donations happen. But they don’t sell boxes of fetal organs to terrorists, or discerning cannibals.

Planned Parenthood offices all over the country, including those in Missouri, were subject to official investigation from various levels of government and no wrongdoing was found.

I guess the real issue here is what should be done with fetal tissue from certain medical procedures? I guess some people prefer to see it simply thrown in the garbage? Maybe they would prefer to see a bill that would require PP to create a tiny visible grave for every fetus? That’s the sort of public relations disaster I would expect certain politicians to impose on an organization like Planned Parenthood.

I think it’s far more noble to donate this tissue to medical science so we can maybe make life better for everyone. But then again, I’m that sort of guy who would rather see my eventual bloated corpse be harvested for organs and then donated to any scientist or science institute that is interested in the remains for any reason at all. I think as a species we should strive to contribute to society even in death rather than spoiling more land with our rotting remains in thick boxes.

It’s always fun to look through the recent Missouri bill proposals (www.house.mo.gov/billlist.aspx) to see what wacky, unnecessary and even sometimes harmful bits of legislation our representatives have come up with this time. State Rep. Kathy Swan, R-Cape Girardeau, recently introduced House Bill No. 1953, which deals with fetal tissue.

It starts off with this: “No physician shall perform an abortion on a woman if the physician knows that the woman conceived the unborn child for the purpose of providing fetal organs or tissue for medical transplantation to herself or another, and the physician knows that the woman intends to procure the abortion to utilize those organs or tissue for such use for herself or another.”

That sounds like the sort of legislation you might need in the standard post-apocalyptic scenario, but in this current climate it’s definitely more legislation for the sake of legislation, a solution in search of a problem. This is literally a thing that has never happened, and is unlikely to ever happen.

But the meat of the bill is near the bottom: “No mother or father or any other person shall knowingly donate or make an anatomical gift of the fetal organs or tissue resulting from an abortion to any person or entity for medical, scientific, experimental, therapeutic, or any other use.”

It doesn’t matter what you do with the tissue, but here’s what you definitely can’t do. You could read this as outlawing anything other than keeping the remains on premises for the rest of time, or until they’re successfully shut down.

Is something in the garbage a gift for the garbage man, or the organization that employs him? Is being casually discarded morally superior to being donated to science? Would this allow the scientists that want to work with fetal tissue do it inside the offices of Planned Parenthood as long as they don’t technically take possession of the tissue?

Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.

Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.

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