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Daily Beast Columnist Who Supported Abortion for 30 Years 'Jarred' by Planned Parenthood Videos, Experiencing Change of Heart

( [email protected] ) Aug 11, 2015 12:53 PM EDT
A Daily Beast columnist who has supported abortion rights for the past 30 years recently admitted his view is changing following the release of videos showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the procurement and sale of aborted baby parts.
A young girl holds up a pro-life sign at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. (2013) AP photo

A Daily Beast columnist who has supported abortion rights for the past 30 years recently admitted his view is changing following the release of videos showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the procurement and sale of aborted baby parts.

In a recent op-ed titled "I Don't Know if I'm Pro-Choice After Planned Parenthood Videos", Ruben Navarrette Jr. confesses that the footage, released by pro-life organization Center for Medical Progress, was "jarring" and made him want to take a "long, hot shower with lots of soap."

Navarrette explains that he was particularly disgusted watching Dr. Mary Gatter, council president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Medical Directors, tell undercover investigators in one video that "it isn't about the money" but nevertheless "zeroes in on dollars and cents," stating, "I want a Lamborghini."

"It's jarring to see doctors acting as negotiators as they dicker over the price of a fetal liver, heart, or brain, and then talk about how they meticulously go to the trouble of not crushing the most valuable body parts," he writes. "This practice is perfectly legal, and for some people, it is just a business. With millions of abortions each year in America, business is good."

He writes, "I'm pro-choice. At least I thought I was until recently. These days, each time, I express concern, outrage, disgust, or horror over another video-which should come with warnings that they may produce nightmares-some supporter of the organization responds by attacking me and insisting that I was never really pro-choice to begin with." 

Navarrette reveals that he originally formed his pro-choice position three decades ago "because I'm a man."

He acknowledges that most people take issue with such a reason, but "lacking the ability to get pregnant, and thus spared what has been for women friends of mine the anguishing decision of whether to stay pregnant, I've remained on the sidelines and deferred to the other half of the population," he writes.

"Over time, I made refinements-going along with waiting periods and parental notification laws at the state level, and coming out against the barbaric practice known as partial birth abortion," he continues.

"As I've only realized lately, to be a man, and to declare yourself pro-choice, is to proclaim your neutrality. And, as I've only recently been willing to admit, even to myself, that's another name for 'wimping out.' At least that's how my wife sees it," he adds, "She's pro-life, and so she's been tearing into me every time a new video is released. She's not buying my argument that, as a man, I have to defer to women and trust them to make their own choices about what to do with their bodies. To her, that's ridiculous-and cowardly."

He concludes, "For those of us who are pro-choice, the Planned Parenthood videos are a game changer. As to whether that means I'll change my view, I'm not sure. I'm on the bubble. Ask me in a few weeks, after the release of more videos."

Meanwhile, in the wake of the CMP videos, Alabama, Louisiana and New Hampshire all have eliminated funding for the country's leading abortion provider.

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), commended "the moral clarity and conviction of these states that have taken real action to prevent Planned Parenthood from accessing taxpayer funds. It is abundantly clear that what goes on in Planned Parenthood clinics is not reproductive health but a ghoulish form of human piracy.

"We mourn the lack of moral leadership that failed to pass legislation in the U.S. Senate, but as these governors and officials have demonstrated, real action and real change is possible," Moore told Baptist Press in written comments. "The ultimate defunding of Planned Parenthood is a human rights issue that is worthy of our endurance."

However, Planned Parenthood has continued to defend itself, denying any involvement in illegal activity.

Over the weekend, Heather Saunders Estes, the president of Planned Parenthood's Northern California chapter, stood her ground, telling KPIX 5 she is "proud" of the work conducted by her organization.  

"What we do is legal and ethical and we're proud of it. These videos are not about tissue donation, these videos are to draw your attention to abortion and to draw your attention to the defunding of Planned Parenthood," she said. "We're very proud of offering that opportunity to women to donate tissue for life-saving medical research," she added.