Videos on value of fetal tissue prompt renewed call to pro-life awareness

By Catholic News Service

OXNARD, Calif. (CNS) — It is uncertain that a California pro-life group’s ongoing series of undercover videos that show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the illegal marketing and sale of fetal tissue will lead to defunding for the nation’s leading provider of abortion services.

It also is unknown if the videos will lead to charges or possible legal action against the Center for Medical Progress, based on an investigation announced in late July by California’s attorney general.

But the videos have brought more graphic awareness of what fetal tissue and abortion represent. To Catholics, the recordings bring a renewed awareness of Catholic teaching on life issues, and a renewed call to defend life in what some call an increasingly "utilitarian" society.

"Fetal tissue has been in the public discussion since the 1970s," said Roberto Dell’Oro, director of the Bioethics Institute and professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. "What we see in these videos is a representation of how our society trivializes human life, by reducing it to a discussion of the acquisition of body parts and organs — a ‘commodification or commercialization’ of life."

Vicki Evans, coordinator the San Francisco Archdiocese’s Respect Life Program, said that abortion supporters have reinforced the position that "embryonic stem-cell research is worth it if it leads to a cure for Parkinson’s or some other disease."

"But this time, with the release of the CMP videos, the subject matter is so shocking and offensive — the selling and putting a price tag on parts of a human being, fetal tissue, arms and legs and organs and so on — that it cannot be rationalized away," she told Catholic News Service.

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