By Bob Allen
The Southern Baptist Convention’s top spokesman for public policy concerns said “it is time for the reborn to stand up for the unborn” after viewing an undercover video purported to show a Planned Parenthood official discussing the sale of fetal organs.
Russell Moore, president of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said in a blog July 14 that he was shocked by a video released July 14 by The Center for Medical Progress allegedly showing discussions between Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and actors posing as buyers from a human biologics company about how fetal tissue is harvested and the costs associated with its procurement.
Moore called the video an “atrocity” and said the government should investigate.
Planned Parenthood issued a statement saying some of its centers help women who want to donate aborted tissue to medical research. There is no financial benefit to either the patient or Planned Parenthood, the statement claimed, but sometimes the cost of transporting tissue to research centers is reimbursed, a standard practice in the medical field.
“A well-funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood’s mission and services has promoted a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research,” said Eric Ferrero, vice president of communications for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Similar false accusations have been put forth by opponents of abortion services for decades. These groups have been widely discredited and their claims fall apart on closer examination, just as they do in this case.”
Moore termed Planned Parenthood’s response to the video “as chilling as it is unconvincing.”
“The horror of this story should be shocking to the consciences of all Americans,” Moore said in a statement on the ERLC website. “Let’s be clear about what is going on, it is not only that infants, in their mother’s wombs, are deprived of their lives, but also that their corpses are desecrated for profit.”
“This is not only murderous; it is murderous in the most ghoulish way imaginable,” Moore said. “Is it not clear at this point that these are not health care providers but pirates and grave robbers of those who have no graves? The Department of Justice and the United States Congress should undertake a thorough investigation of this.”
On Tuesday Moore wrote Speaker of the House John Boehner calling for an investigation into “profiteering in violence on the part of Planned Parenthood.” He also called on presidential candidates to address the video.
Earlier this week the ERLC announced it would join Focus on the Family in an effort to get more evangelicals to participate in the annual March for Life event in the nation’s capital held each January marking the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion on demand.
Billed as “a major pro-life conference,” the Evangelicals for Life event is scheduled Jan. 21-22, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. Scheduled speakers include Moore, Jim Daly of Focus on the Family, Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, authors Ron Sider and Eric Metaxas and David Platt, president of the SBC International Mission Board.
“The gospel speaks to all of life, including the question of whether all human beings matter,” Moore said in a news release. “The Evangelicals for Life initiative is pursuing a pro-life, whole life agenda for a new day. Because we follow Jesus, we believe we should prioritize the vulnerable — the unborn, the elderly, the sick, the poor, the orphaned, the widowed — and we must do so with a clear gospel message of redemption through the sacrifice of Christ. The reborn should stand up for the unborn.”
After planning his first national ERLC conference around the topic of homosexuality and marriage in 2014, Moore planned to follow up this year with a summit theme of “The Gospel for Life: Developing a Whole Life Pro-Life Ethics.”
He later switched the topic for 2015 to “The Gospel and Racial Reconciliation” in light of racial unrest stemming from the high-profile deaths of African-American men at the hands of police, and said the original plan would be integrated into a large-scale pro-life conference in Washington in partnership with the 2016 March for Life.
Moore has talked before about increasing the visibility of Southern Baptists at the March for Life.
“I’m there every year, and I am always amazed at how many more of our Roman Catholic friends are there marching for the unborn and for a pro-life, whole-life ethic,” Moore said in 2014. “I don’t want anybody fewer who are singing ‘Ave Maria,’ but we need a lot more who are singing ‘Amazing Grace’ there at the March for Life.”