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Silence can be golden. Or just silence. Like the white space between the words on this page. Or the silence that sounds like a confession, even if it isn't. ("On counsel's advice, I invoke my right under the Fifth Amendment not to answer, on the grounds I may incriminate myself.") There is the silence of the perjurer as he weighs every word in an attempt to devise an escape clause. "To the best of my recollection . . ." as Alger Hiss used to say before trying to refute Whittaker Chambers' irrefutable testimony about Soviet espionage in the State Department.

There is the silence of prudence personified by Silent Cal, who never uttered an unnecessary word. As opposed to the witness who chooses to brazen it out ("I did not have sexual relations with that woman") but only digs himself into a deeper hole. And then has to take refuge in semantic games. ("It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is.")

Our subject today is the silence of an ordinarily glib politician who suddenly has nothing to say about an event in the news. As when The Hon. Barack Obama has no comment about those revealing videos featuring doctors with Planned Parenthood, who are caught talking about the fetal parts they're selling. The rest of the country may be repelled by those tapes, but our president remains . . . silent.

How strange. Here is a president who's always had a lot of to say about a lot of things--usually very smoothly. Whether the news of the day was the arrest of a black professor at his house near Harvard Square or the rash of black suspects shot down by white cops under suspicious circumstances, and the rioting that tends to follow. Newspaper types could always count on this president for a quote about such matters. His usual response was to call for a National Conversation about race/inequality/fill-in-the-blank, depending on what subject had made the news of late.

But now our president has nothing to say about those revealing videos. A national conversation about that subject would seem to be the last thing on his mind. He himself has studiously avoided the whole, sordid subject. Call it an embarrassed silence.

Nor is the president the only one who's against discussing such matters. A court out in California has just issued a restraining order against the pro-life group that secretly recorded these videos. The order bars it from releasing any videos of leaders of StemExpress, the company Planned Parenthood uses as a go-between when it comes to buying and selling fetal tissue. Shut up, the court explains.

But others are speaking up, including this state's congressional delegation. It is Congress, after all, that holds the pursestrings when it comes to financing Planned Parenthood's activities through federal grants, including those for the abortions that produce these fetal remains. Planned Parenthood remains the country's largest abortion provider, thanks to your money, Dear Taxpayer. It performs about one out of every four abortions in this country. To quote one study, "since 1970, Planned Parenthood has performed more than 6 million abortions. In 2013 alone, Planned Parenthood performed a record 357,653 abortions." Death is its business, and we the taxpayers have become its accomplices. On a scale numbering in the hundreds of thousands every year.

Yes, Planned Parenthood's clinics provide women with a lot more than abortions, like cancer screenings, but those aren't the basis of its business model. Abortion is. Women getting abortions make up 12 percent of Planned Parenthood's patients--332,000 out of 3 million, according to its most current report. And some 37 percent of its income comes from abortions.

There are a lot of other organizations, like community health clinics, that deliver health services for women, and would welcome the federal money--without doing abortions. It's long past time to cut off Planned Parenthood's water and support local clinics instead, clinics that don't leave a trail of fetal body parts behind.

What would the president think of that idea? No comment. Only an embarrassed silence.

Maybe he thinks this whole thing will blow over soon enough. And maybe he's right. Americans grow harder and harder to shock every passing year. And with every passing outrage that no longer outrages, our shock threshold grows ever higher. So why wouldn't the president think we would just ignore these videos, too? The same way he ignored Kermit Gosnell's abortion clinic/house of horrors when it was in the news. We grow numb to such sights.

There's a demand for abortions, and Planned Parenthood proposes to meet it, along with the demand for fetal parts. Business is business. And it's booming.

How did we get to this point? To quote Leon Kass, doctor and moralist: "It's a short step from the belief that every child should be wanted to the belief that a child exists to satisfy our wants."

Editorial on 08/04/2015

Print Headline: Our silent president


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Archived Comments

  • Nodmcm
    August 4, 2015 at 5:50 a.m.

    Mitch McConnell and other Republicans and Democrats voted in Congress to allow Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to use tissue from aborted fetuses for medical research, to cure diseases like Alzheimer's disease. The law provided for the payment of costs and expenses associated with the delivery of fetal tissue to medical researchers. But now, the claim is that there was no law, or if there was, Planned Parenthood charged too much, and might have made some money off the sale of fetal tissue, also known as 'baby parts.' Of course, the real problem is that Republicans need to send a message to the women of America that Republicans plan to continue to fight to take away women's control over their reproductive systems. Eventually, Republicans plan to take control of women's wombs, using the power of the state, by banning abortion in America. After that, Republicans would like to eliminate birth control also, leaving the women of America 'barefoot and pregnant.' This was always the goal, to get women out of the workplace and back into the kitchen, working at home and raising a (large?) family. Just take us all back to 1910 or so, say the Republicans. Republicans love the Duggar Family, and figure all women would like to have lots of children like Michelle Duggar.

  • drs01
    August 4, 2015 at 8:40 a.m.

    If you can defend the "U-pull it" human being body parts discussion that reminded me of negotiations heard at an auto salvage yard, then you are a sicko. Women's rights are not in question. The law says you are free to do with your body what you wish. Most Americans reluctantly agree; but most Americans don't want their tax dollars going to any organization that uses that money to perform abortions. Granted, PP does some good things, but.... trying to separate the good from the bad is difficult. If 34% of their revenue comes from abortion services,then the $500 Million should be reduced $170M. This is not a Dem vrs Rep issue as some are trying to use to defend it.

  • 23cal
    August 4, 2015 at 8:49 a.m.

    Well said, Nod. In addition, the Republican congress is desperate for some manufactured outrage such as this to distract the country from the fact that their majority in both houses has failed to do anything: immigration reform, infrastructure repair, tax reform, jobs bills, etc. All they know how to do is obstruct, and they need to distract from their lack of accomplishment with culture war rage.
    If they were really against abortion, they would support social programs and services that reduce unwanted pregnancies. That's how you reduce the number of abortions......not by defunding an organization whose birth control efforts prevent about 350,000 abortions a year, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

  • GoBigRed
    August 4, 2015 at 8:57 a.m.

    Lower case "p"? Really? Arkansas Democrat Gazette - such class.

  • 3WorldState1
    August 4, 2015 at 9:38 a.m.

    CO. gave "30,000 women free, long-acting birth control at health clinics throughout the state over a period of six years.

    Between 2009 and 2015, "teen births dropped 40 percent, abortions fell 35 percent and the state avoided more than $80 million in Medicaid costs," according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's website.

    If only the GOP would help provide solutions on the front end, they could actually do some good toward their cause. But that would be doing something, putting a plan in place to produce a favorable outcome. Something they have been unable to do in, well, my lifetime.
    So until you actually want to put some programs in place to deal with LEGAL abortions, just shut up and know that you are just sitting by and allowing all these babies to be murdered. Blood is on your hands!!!! (Tongue in cheek of course)

  • FreeSpiritMan
    August 4, 2015 at 12:53 p.m.

    To ADG: This has been occurring for years, at least back to the 1930's, PP is not the only clinic and hospital that perform abortions and sells fetal tissue. The fact is, that abortion is legal in this country and so is selling fetal tissue. NOW, ADG spend a little time and money that shows evidence where PP was making a profit and we will go from there. If I went to a slaughter house and made video's of the process, you may pause for a moment of reflection when you eat you're next hamburger. Make abortion and in vitro fertilization illegal, think that will keep embryo's from being used in stem cell research or abortions from still being performed? It will only change who and where they happen.
    ADG and GOP support caring for the unborn through morality laws but once they are born, they are own their own and it's sink or swim, live or die, go hungry. no school lunch program for you 6 year old.

  • Packman
    August 4, 2015 at 1:17 p.m.

    Hey 23Cal - Manufactured outrage! Brrrrrahhhhaaahhhhaaaa. Considering the manufactured outrage by libs over the Confederate flag. Liberal hypocrisy simply has no bounds. So, 23, what's today's break-even rate on a 36 weekers arms and legs?

    August 4, 2015 at 1:39 p.m.

    Obstruction is our Number One Objective. We will work Diligently to make sure that Obama is a Failed Presidency. This is our Number one Goal. Republican Mitch McConnell made that Statement years ago when Obama was first Elected and took Office. That is still the Agenda of the Republican Party and it has Hurt the United States of America and the Republican Obstruction is On-going Today.

  • Morebeer
    August 4, 2015 at 1:56 p.m.

    I see the D-G has joined the demagogue crowd that intends to rouse the confused and ignorant for political purposes. Some things will never look good on video. In fact, conservative lawmakers have banned reporters from recording secret video on corporate farms and slaughterhouses, because, well, when millions of animals are slaughtered every day, a few hundred are eviscerated while still conscious because the process isn't perfect.
    Human remains are shipped around the world every day.
    Awhile back, 18 misdirected human heads were found at O'Hare airport. I can imagine how that transaction took place.
    Dr. Johnson: Bart? It's Sam Johnson at Johns Hopkins. I needs some heads for my neurosurgeon residents to practice on. If I turn them loose on live patients, they're likely to take the brain off with the skull.
    Bart: Not exactly a bunch of young Hannibal Lectors, eh?
    Johnson: God, I wish I were that good.
    Bart: Any head will do?
    Johnson: If you can get me some older folks, I can split the cost with our Alzheimer's Institute. When were done, they can slice and dice the brains. What's a head going for these days?
    Bart: Pickled or frozen?
    Johnson: Frozen. For the Alzheimer's folks, if I remember correctly.
    Bart. Ha. Let's see, most of the stuff I get from the medical schools have been worked over pretty good. Heads already cracked, brains look like pea soup. This won't be cheap. Might be a thousand a head. I'll have to call around.
    Johnson: That's why we call you the head hunter. Need them in October.
    Bart: I'll get it done if I have to start another French Revolution.

  • pcrasehotmailcom
    August 4, 2015 at 2:05 p.m.

    DSuffer, I wonder if those "misdirected heads" came from old folks that were murdered while they slept at the nursing home and then their parts were sold, ooops, I mean distributed to the researchers? See I always thought body parts like that came from folks who died a natural death and chose to donate their organs. Well I for one think its wrong to kill people without their permission and cut them up and pass them around. Don't you?