What Do Failed Abortions Have To Do With Fetal Tissue Sales?

The useless, wasteful, unnecessary congressional hearings over fallacious and highly-edited “undercover” videos issued by a group calling itself the Center for Medical Progress that claim to show that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal tissue for profit when in fact they show that Planned Parenthood is operating within the law and donating fetal tissue to researchers but having research centers cover the cost of transportation for those tissue samples, all with their patients’ informed consent, have begun. And if you hate run-on sentences, consider the possibility that if the Center for Medical Progress hadn’t been lying through their teeth and making an issue of a non-issue for the last several months, it wouldn’t take a run-on sentence to give an adequate summary of these events.

What boggles my mind about these hearings is that two women who are the result of failed abortions are testifying, even though that’s completely irrelevant to the issue that the CMP and Republicans are claiming is on the table right now, which is selling fetal tissue, not the necessity or ethics of abortion itself.

One of these women asked, “If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine?” Here’s why this strikes me as inherently narcissistic: I was the result of a broken condom. I wasn’t just an unplanned pregnancy, I was a pregnancy that my mom and dad actively tried to prevent. There are a lot of people who are walking around in the world whose parents tried not to have them, but wound up carrying to term anyway. But I don’t walk around feeling resentful about condoms, because if the condom had worked, I wouldn’t know the difference anyway, because I wouldn’t have existed. If I hadn’t existed, I wouldn’t have been, like, the victim of condoms.

And I don’t feel like I have some special, pre-ordained, or basic right to exist in the universe. It’s not my place to say that I should be here, that I have a right to be here. I’m lucky to be here, and I’m lucky that I have a rad family. That has nothing to do with whether or not other people should have access to condoms. Republicans are attempting to turn this into an issue of the ethics of abortion and whether or not women should have access to abortions, period, by including testimony from these women – but their existence is not relevant to whether or not women should have autonomy over their own reproductive systems.

Condoms and abortions are the same thing: tools for family planning. That’s it. If we start traveling down the path of banning abortions, it could be the start of a slippery slope toward dismantling access to birth control, family planning, and disease prevention. And anyway, while I am the result of a thwarted attempt at family planning, I am no expert on the sale or donation of fetal tissues, which is what this hearing is allegedly about. Neither are these women. It’s a disgusting attempt to pull at heartstrings and we shouldn’t buy into it.


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