By Bob Allen
The Southern Baptist Convention’s top public policy official says he hopes a controversial viral video claiming to show Planned Parenthood is selling fetal organs for profit will move evangelicals from right thinking to action on the sanctity of human life.
Russell Moore, president of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said in a July 16 podcast interview with the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger that he is hoping “for massive turnout of born-again Christians” at a pro-life event his agency is co-sponsoring with Focus on the Family in January.
On Thursday Planned Parenthood’s president apologized for a top official’s tone in a secretly recorded discussion of costs and other practical concerns about the procurement of tissue from aborted fetuses donated for medical research, while denying the filmmaker’s claim the organization profits from tissue donations.
Moore said the video should dispel any message portraying Planned Parenthood as a trusted health care provider.
“Planned Parenthood has spent a lot of time and money trying to convince people that they are simply a health care provider and they are simply working in the best interest of women,” Moore said.
“I think that anybody who sees this video will know that this is the behavior of pirates, not the behavior of health care providers,” he said. “So I think the line that Planned Parenthood attempts to use, ‘Oh, this is just dealing with tissue from a medical procedure’ — and yet they are talking about livers and hearts and hands and heads — it’s very difficult to deny the humanity of those who are being torn apart.”
“There are many of us who have been saying for years that there should not be a single cent that goes from taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood,” Moore said. “I remember in the 1988 presidential campaign — I was in high school — and I remember Al Gore, long before he was vice president, when he was running for president, saying that taxpayer dollars should not be used, in his words, for what is arguably the taking of a human life. And yet that is happening all of the time, and Planned Parenthood definitely needs to be defunded.”
According to its annual report, Planned Parenthood received more than $540 million in government grants in 2012. Planned Parenthood claims abortion services account for just 3 percent of its work, dwarfed by other services including testing and treatment of STDs, cancer prevention and screening and contraception.
Planned Parenthood says without taxpayer funding it could not afford to provide preventive care to 3 million people a year, many in rural areas, and that in the long-run preventive care saves both taxpayer money and human lives.
Moore said Planned Parenthood should not only be defunded but investigated.
“What’s happening with this distribution of parts ought to be illegal,” he said. “There’s some question as to whether or not it’s legal or illegal, but it certainly should be illegal. So I’m hoping that that takes place.”
“The other thing that I’m hoping takes place is consciences are awakened, because we need evangelical Christians standing up for unborn children and for their mothers,” Moore added. “We need to have evangelicals fully engaged.”
To that end, Moore said, the ERLC and Focus on the Family are combining efforts to sponsor the first of what is planned to be an annual Evangelicals for Life event in January coinciding with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the March for Life.
“We’re wanting a massive turnout of born-again Christians who are present standing up for the unborn,” Moore said. “I go to the March for Life every year, and it’s a very Catholic event. I’m glad for that, certainly very thankful for our Catholic friends being so faithful on the issue of unborn human life. But we need more evangelicals who are not just thinking right on this issue but who are also involved.”
“We don’t want any fewer of them,” Moore said. “We just want more of us, too. We need to be pulling our part of the load here.”