Valuing the remains of the dead

Revealing footage of Planned Parenthood's views of the dead should have ecologists up in arms

Here in the States, the bloodstained reputation of Planned Parenthood has been getting bloodier with the back-to-back release of videos showing its executives discussing maximizing monetary benefits by selectively protecting valuable organs of unborn babies during abortions. Harvested from the hundreds of thousands of abortions Planned Parenthood performs annually, certain organs are considered in these videos (and apparently in the culture of Planned Parenthood) to be nothing more than commodities.

The videos are ghastly. So is the response by some who are trying to salvage the reputation of Planned Parenthood and along with it the practice of killing the unborn. Those who should not be in this camp are anyone who champions Pope Francis’s eco-encyclical Laudato Si’.

Here's why:

Pope Francis explicitly exhorts against abortion in Laudato Si’ and, of course, elsewhere.

Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? (LS 120)

And then there is the pope's view that life should not be a resource from which others should profit.

It is not enough, however, to think of different species merely as potential “resources” to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves. Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost for ever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right. (LS 33)

And ...

When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society. This vision of “might is right” has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all. Completely at odds with this model are the ideals of harmony, justice, fraternity and peace as proposed by Jesus. (LS 82)

In short, the pope's contribution of the term integral ecology automatically makes ecologists opponents of abortion—and more so opponents of the business we learn about in these videos.

Three outside voices echo all this. One is Benedict XVI, especially in Caritas in Veritate:

“Our duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person, considered in himself and in relation to others. It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other. Herein lies a grave contradiction in our mentality and practice today: one which demeans the person, disrupts the environment, and damages society.”

There are also the bishops of the Philippines who recently wrote that we should be stewards of life, not owners.

Lastly, kudos to Justin Menno, who gives us much to think about in Catholic Moral Theology on the element of assumed ownership of dead unborn children

What remains now is for those politicians and secular eco-activists who have championed Laudato Si’ and Pope Francis’s environmental comments to add their voices in speaking out against Planned Parenthood as loudly as they have against oil and coal companies, and against anyone else who would benefit from the destruction of life on earth.

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About the Blog

Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.