Republican presidential candidate and former neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson has weighed in on the controversial Planned Parenthood video showing a discussion about the practice of using aborted baby parts for medical research, saying the footage is a chilling example of "how far we have drifted in terms of our humanity."
In an interview with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, Dr. Carson said that in recent years, a dichotomy has been created in what should be "an almost sacred relationship" between a mother and a baby.
"The mother is the protector of that baby and we've distorted things to the point where people believe that if the mother can't kill the baby, then anybody who is advocating that is an enemy of women. How can we be so foolish to believe such a thing?" he asked.
The horrific video, shot last July, shows Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical research, having lunch with two undercover Center for Medical Progress activists.
In the video, which has prompted shock and outrage from those in the Christian and conservative communities, Nucatola is seen casually drinking wine while discussing the body parts of aborted fetuses and how they can be used for medical research.
Nucatola describes managing the abortion process to preserve the foetal organs: "We've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I'm not gonna crush that part, I'm gonna basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact."
In response, Planned Parenthood has said that it does not benefit financially from the practice and occasionally reimbursing costs, such as transportation to research centers, were "standard medical practice."
The group has also claimed it followed applicable laws and ethical standards regarding human fetal tissue for research purposes, and argued it is an important tool for medical research
Dr. Carson, formerly director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University medical school, said the benefits of fetal research have been "overpromised" and "under-delivered."
"If you go back over the years and look over the research that has been done and all the things that it was supposed to deliver, very little of that thas been done. There's nothing that can't be done without fetal tissue. It's a spurious argument," he said.
Even more disturbing, Dr. Carson said, is that some people don't realize the shocking nature of the video or the "callousness with which we are treating human life."
He lamented that many on the left have been so vocal about protecting species like "snail darters and little spiders," but are not interested in protecting an unborn baby.
"Yet the human being inside of that mother's womb, just beyond 10 weeks, is much more sophisticated than many of these creatures that they're trying to preserve," said Dr. Carson.
Kelly went on to ask him to respond to those who defend Planned Parenthood's ethics and say it isn't controversial to conduct medical research on fetuses that will be aborted anyway.
In responding, Dr. Carson explained that for many people, the shock of watching the video was comparable to someone "taking cold fish and slapping you in the face while you're asleep."
"We begin to realize how far we have drifted in terms of our humanity," he said.
In continuing his response, Dr. Carson expressed horror at Nucatola's reference to a "17 weeker" that she claimed to have "recently aborted."
"A developing baby is an incredible sight to behold," he said. "At 17 weeks, you've got a nice little nose and little fingers and hands and the heart's beating. It can respond to environmental stimulus. How can you believe that that's just an irrelevant mass of cells? That's what they want you to believe, when in fact it is a human being."