Planned Parenthood and the Jigsaw Man: The Moral Ethic vs. The Utilitarian Imperative

July 16, 2015 | Filed Under Abortion, Gary Krasner, Planned Parenthood | Comments Off on

Planned Parenthood and the Jigsaw Man: The Moral Ethic vs. The Utilitarian Imperative

-By Gary Krasner

Planned Parenthood’s director of medical services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola was secretly taped describing how her organization secretly sells fetal body parts. I hope this spells the end of taxpayer support for Planned Parenthood, despite the likelihood that neither President Obama nor LA Mayor Eric Garcetti would prosecute this violation of law.

Apart from the immorality of abortion, we need to understand why the sale or donation of body parts, without the consent of the human whose body is being dissected, is a dangerous slippery slope for society. That is solely what this article is about.

Ethics Must Come First

The spin was pathetic. Planned Parenthood claims, in its defense, that it’s not selling baby parts. Rather, it’s getting reimbursed for ’tissue’ donations. But as Kevin D. Williamson wrote on July 15, Nucatola’s own words demonstrates that this is a competitive market where supply and demand, not Planned Parenthood’s expenses, is what sets prices.

But the immorality is not just about high profits, or even illegal profits. If you read this entire article, you’ll learn that there’s a terrible cost to society. But let’s start with the aspect of vested interests: Planned Parenthood is in the business of abortion. A profitable business. It receives a half-billion dollars a year in taxpayer money every 3 years. It aborts a million pre-born babies. So it has a vested interest in killing innocent life. And it uses its involvement in that killing to leverage an advantage in extracting and selling the organs of that killing. It’s similar to Microsoft using it’s large installed base of its operating system to leverage an unfair advantage in marketing its other products which run on that operating system.

Thus, Planned Parenthood is not just furnishing women with abortions–which it amazingly considers a virtuous service. We see now that it also has greater financial incentives to kill than we previously had known–by selling off the body parts of the innocent human it killed. Worse, by receiving $500 million in government funds annually, government adopts a stake in this inhumane undertaking.

Why is that of concern? We’ve become all too aware of the dangers of an overpowering government under President Obama. It’s one thing for individuals and families to make decisions about when life begins and when it can end, and who lives and who dies, but it’s quite another when government bureaucrats decide it. As my friend Debi Vinnedge (Director of Children of God For Life ) succinctly said it last April, “I prefer government when it’s protecting life and not when it’s calculating when life should be ended, because it’s an amoral calculation.”

Entrenchment of Vested Interests

Planned Parenthood’s horrific participation in the commerce of body parts–involuntarily obtained–reveals close parallels to the 2006 debate on government funding of embryonic stem cell research. Except there wasn’t much actual “debate.” Democrats selected the issue hoping to demagogue their way to Congressional electoral victories. But there was one debate on the floor of the US Senate, which Democrats were clearly unprepared for. Conservatives, such as Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and James Inhof (R-OK) prophetically advocated for the scientific efficacy of pluripotent adult stem cell research over embryonic stem cell research–which, to this day, is still plagued with the unresolvable problem of protein rejection. Today, adult stem cell technology attracts the private research dollars, while embryonic stem cells has been the a failure–the very black hole into which Democrats wanted to dump public funds, just to stick it to bible conservatives and President GW Bush.

And President Bush did issue a warning about it. His concern was that the demand for aborted fetuses for their stem cells will fuel a burgeoning industry in the research–and if successful–the growing and harvesting of cells and organs. All this will occur PRIOR to we, as a people and society, will have had the opportunity to examine the ethical and moral implications of where all this may end up. Because it could end up badly for society. These bio technologies have galloped well ahead of codified legal and ethical rules for their application.

Organ transplantation–like it’s failed cousin, embryonic stem cell transplantation–could lead to the majoritarian “utilitarian imperative” prevailing over individual or religious liberties, or the “moral ethic.” Ending the lives of innocent babies is profitable, for the convenience of the mother. But what if it becomes highly profitable for an additional reason, one which could start an industry of selling body parts? Then what we’ll get is baby killing of greater orders of magnitude.

Before that stem cell “debate”, Charles Krauthammer wrote on August 5, 2005:

The real threat to our humanity is the creation of new human life willfully for the sole purpose of making it the means to someone else’s end-dissecting it for its parts the way we would dissect something with no more moral standing than a mollusk or paramecium. The real Brave New World looming before us is the rise of the industry of human manufacture, where human embryos are created not to produce children-the purpose of IVF clinics-but for spare body parts.

Liberals are well-aware of the dynamic of entrenched corporate interests becoming too powerful for government or people to affect. For example, liberals argue that the government must subsidize research in alternative fuels because oil interests are too powerful. Big oil is so influential, they say, that it sucks up all the available public and private subsidies and political largesse.

And we know that the Democrats’ attack was purely partisan in motive: Even before George W. Bush became president, these same people expressed deep moral and ethical consternation when biomedical firms were permitted to patent specific genes. I recall they voiced very similar arguments that GW Bush later made as president. Their’s was a legitimate argument: If you can own genes fabricated in the lab, you can own new forms of life or species of animals. Where is the cut-off point between lower life forms and sentient beings? And once you legalize patents on genes, the consequent industrial juggernaut that develops around that technology will be too powerful to derail, even after adverse ethical implications are realized later.

Liberals justly worried about the commodification of plant and animal species, but they didn’t realize similar ethical quandaries that could arise when human tissue cells become commercialized in regards to human embryos. Perhaps they should be reminded that the reason animal shelters must kill millions of cats and dogs-who are more self aware fetuses-is because these animals are considered ‘property’.

So it was political and personal. President Bush and conservatives were concerned about entrenched interests wielding power in an industry formed around the commerce of stem cells. But Democrats hated them. So Democrats decided to proceed full throttle with embryonic stem cell research just because most republicans opposed taxpayer money to fund that dead end, and immoral, technology which private investors saw little promise in.

The Democrats found an issue ripe for demagoguery (siding with the diseased and infirm, like their shill, Michael J. Fox), and one which provides a channel for their intense dislike for pro-life religious doctrine.

The Jigsaw Man

Democrats are starting to mount pedantic, short-sighted defenses for Planned Parenthood’s chop-shop abortion clinics. Notably Media Matters, among others. And like their position in favor of government-funded embryonic stem cell research a decade ago, they are ignoring the ethical quandaries that may follow if their ‘non-profit’, profitable sale of baby body parts gets a foothold and proliferates.

Science Fiction foretells some unpleasant scenarios. Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” is not the best example. Rather, the “The Jigsaw Man” seems more relevant here, and jolting. I first read it while I was in college in the early 70s. The short 11-page story was written by Larry Niven for Harlan Ellison’s classic science fiction anthology, Dangerous Visions (1)-prior to the first successful heart transplant, yet it presented a ‘vision’ that medical ethicists have since heeded.


(1) “The Jigsaw Man” by Larry Niven was a short story originally published in Dangerous Visions, Berkeley, 1967, and reprinted in: Tales of Known Space, Larry Niven, New York: Ballantine, 1975.


When I listen to advocates for abortion, embryonic stem cells, and organ transplantation (which, like blood transfusions, hides from the public the adverse effects from protein rejection and hemolytic reactions. Blood fillers and bloodless surgery have better surgical outcomes than using plasma.), which now we can include baby and fetal body parts–and the widespread commerce that may develop from it–I think about Niven’s stark world of the future in which organs are harvested for transplant. Liberals who support these technologies should pay attention here, particularly because they’ll learn that organs in Niven’s story came from a certain class of people.

You see, if in the future, certain promises in the biological sciences are fulfilled, it may not just be fetuses ending up on the short end of the stick against nice people like Michael J. Fox who have diseases. Science fiction writer Larry Niven forecasted in 1967 a world that is fast becoming reality, by way of technological advances. In “The Jigsaw Man” medicine has perfected organ transplantation to the point in which every portion of a deceased person’s body can be made available to people who need them to replace their old or failing organs.

Sounds like a nice world to live in. Except that eventually, the normal death rate wasn’t high enough to satisfy the increased demand for new body parts. The desire for immortality through organ transplantation was so great that the body politic made adjustments in the laws. Next, condemned convicts in prison were kept alive only for the purpose of harvesting their organs for transplantation into other people. Eventually, to keep up with the still growing demand for organs, laws were amended to condemn to death people who were found guilty for non-capital crimes. Your proverbial slippery slope.

Spoiler Alert: Niven’s first-person narrative has the protagonist recounting how society became so very utilitarian in the procurement and sale of body parts, and how he landed in prison, and will shortly be cut to pieces like a jigsaw puzzle. In the chilling closing sentences, we learn that he was convicted of nothing more serious than tax evasion.

We tend to think that our human and civil protections are guaranteed by the lofty ideals in the Bill of Rights. But in reality, what often occurs is more similar to Larry Niven’s scenario, in which our laws and personal liberties are adjusted to conform to the utilitarian imperatives as perceived by the majority, aided by or made possible by new technologies, social arrangements, national threats, etc..

Issues Affecting Personal Liberties

The Framers feared the tyranny of government and of the majority. Some examples of the prevailing utilitarian imperative come to mind. Because of a dubious measles outbreak, states like California wanted to eliminate the moral ethic that had permitted opting out based on conscience.

The belief that diseases are transmissible is the primary–and utilitarian–imperative that justifies compulsory vaccination laws. Primary imperatives are the pivotal rationales–the Casus Belli–that societies draw upon to justify difficult actions-actions that may present dilemmas, and on balance might not otherwise be contemplated.

New imperatives as perceived by most Americans since 911, for example, have been the basis for amending laws pertaining to privacy rights, and warrants for arrests, searches and seizure. In the past, this nation has similarly recognized new imperatives when dealing with organized crime, fascism, and communism.

The exigencies may be real or imagined. The justifications may be noble or selfish. Imperatives don’t have to be morally consistent from one instance to the next, nor embody absolute truths. They’re elastic and resilient, because deciding what is necessary–apart from morality and ethics–comes down to making choices dependent on our situation. It employs what Rabbi Robert Kaplan describes as the “morality of consequence.” Such as, would shooting down the hijacked plane on 911 have saved more lives?

As I wrote earlier, liberals will defend the killing of babies for the extraction and sale of their body parts. The convenience of the mother, and the saving of the lives of the majority, will be the utilitarian imperative pretext, to be sure. But there’s a separate secular bioethical concern that will attract less news coverage, because MSM is liberal. What Planned Parenthood is doing with non-consenting human beings could become a politically-connected, entrenched industry of death akin to Larry Niven’s vision. It would be like entitlements: Once you make it available, you cannot take it away from the population. Especially as it seems, its recipients are becoming the majority.

The foothold stems from the power over the non-consenting “donors.” With respect to the embryonic stem cell nightmare scenario, the concern was that the research could lead to viable bio-technologies that can create compatible cells, tissues, and organs for implantation. A burgeoning new area of commerce in growing, harvesting, and implanting cells and organs may create politically entrenched commercial enterprises, capable of resisting a regulatory regime–before we have a chance to set it up–designed to enforce ethical and moral boundaries. Sometimes, we cannot even perceive the moral issues until the dilemmas are thrust upon us. And that warrants caution.

Slavery, remember, was an instrument of commerce. It became an entrenched institution because our nation’s forebears were forced to set aside morality and accommodate it to preserve the union–the utilitarian imperative. Similarly, with regards to Planned Parenthoodesque “nonprofit” organ transplantation, it’s feared that without establishing moral boundaries at the outset, the demand for the end-product may transform the raw materials–human fetuses!–into commodities, with the same rights and protections as commodities. The commerce of slavery redux.

Too extreme for you to conceive? Our First Amendment rights will prevent that? You forget that the laws that codify these rights are not chiseled in stone, and have periodically been amended to reconcile competing imperatives. The Supreme Court in Jacobson (1905), for example, upheld the rights of states to make laws to compel people to submit to routine vaccinations. But that case was not adjudicated on the medical merits of vaccination, but rather solely on the perception by the Justices that vaccination was supported by consensus–a ruling based solely on majoritarianism!

The utilitarian imperative in Jacobson was the protection from disease of children and society at large. The utilitarian imperative in a Jigsaw Man scenario for killing babies for their organs would be very similar, with the court doctrine of “high medical authority” (i.e. medical opinion to be taken as given, without supporting evidence) aiding and abetting it. Of course the underlying motivation, as always, would be people’s desire for immortality.

Want another example? In 2001, a North Carolina lawmaker had proposed a bill that would force people to pay a ten-dollar fee if they wanted to abstain from being hacked into spare parts after the die. In essence, it’s the ultimate violation of individual rights by the state. It’s a declaration that we no longer have, by default, the right to own your own body–the state does.


See: Bill ‘Creates’ Organ Donors

By J.D. Walker Staff Writer, The Courier-Tribune
Thursday, April 12, 2001

RALEIGH – Legislation filed in the N.C. General Assembly by one of Randolph County’s state senators tackles the sensitive issue of human organ donation. Sen. Howard Lee (D-16) introduced a measure on April 5 that provides that organ donation by a deceased individual is presumed under certain circumstances. Specifically, in the event of an accident or trauma that results in death, the measure (S-907) allows a medical examiner to remove any organ or tissue for donation after four hours of death unless the deceased has indicated on a driver’s license and via family contact that he is not a donor.


I’m cognizant of the public’s fear of disease and of their own mortality. Coupled with the conceit and sanctimony boldly expressed by proponents of abortion for body parts that any and all means are permitted when nice people have serious diseases. Ten years ago, diseased and disabled people like Christopher Reeve and Michael J. Fox had become sacrosanct poster boys for whatever research liberals said we need to pursue, despite legitimate conflicting interests and ethical quandaries.

If what Planned Parenthood has been doing prevails and is not prosecuted, and no ethical safeguards are implemented to protect non-consenting humans from majoritarianist impulses, Larry Niven’s world will be upon us.



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