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Corruption and the Cost of Compromise: The next chapter

A day or so after reading this article a little bell was ringing in the back of my mind. I disagree with the article's confident statement that the trafficking in fetal body parts that has recently come to light is legal, but that wasn't what was triggering my mental bell-ringing. It was the mention of Bill Clinton and the year 1993 and a change in a law. What was that...?

Then it hit me: Yes, that was when the ban was lifted on federal funding for research using aborted fetal tissue. The Gospel Coalition piece merely says that the law hasn't changed since. Yes, that too. And why not, through a long Bush presidency? Why, in fact, has no Republican candidate since then made an issue of defunding research using aborted fetal tissue? I'm old enough to remember when that was a big deal.

Do you know what that means? It means that Planned Parenthood is getting its blood money from the taxpayers in two different ways: By the direct route, PP receives moogoo tax dollars for "educational" work. Indirectly, PP receives funding for this very trafficking that we have just been reading about and horrified by, because the researchers themselves can get federal funding and use it to purchase the "specimens" they need!

And some repentance is in order here on the part of establishment pro-lifers.

Here is an article I wrote back in 2008 and took a lot of time to research. The short version is that National Right to Life Committee openly and explicitly stopped pushing during the Bush II administration (in 2002) for a ban on federal fetal tissue research funding. They did this for two reasons: 1) Because President Bush wasn't willing to make an issue of it. In fact, his NIH actually funded research using aborted fetal tissue. (NRLC said that his "hands were tied" by legislation left over from the Clinton administration.) NRLC wanted to support him and not criticize him, and they knew that he was not going to push for a change in the law, so they fell silent on the issue. 2) Because (they said) they believed that embryonic stem-cell research was the real worry and that the Bush administration (and we) should fight that rather than continuing to press against funding for research involving fetal tissue. (Ironically, even that issue was dropped by pro-lifers during the 2008 campaign, because John McCain supported federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.)

That was in 2002. So here we are, thirteen years later. And we should ask ourselves: Has the issue of federal funding for research using aborted fetal tissue been moot? Does it matter? Has it been replaced in urgency by the issue of embryonic stem cells?

The answers are no, yes, and no.

The bloody business of Planned Parenthood and their profit from it, brought so gruesomely to our attention this past week, are continually enabled by precisely such funding. Fetal tissue is extremely valuable to researchers. Its value to researchers has not been superseded by research interest in embryonic stem cells, though the latter is an important issue in its own right. And so the traffic in the bodies of murdered infants goes on, and pro-life opposition to its funding should never, ever have been dropped.

At this point NRLC should face the fact that it did what it did in 2002 for reasons of pure political expediency and a desire to deflect criticism from President Bush, not because the issue was actually becoming practically irrelevant. Douglas Johnson was wrong, wrong, wrong when he implied that. And for thirteen years since then the trade in fetal organs has continued, funded by your tax dollars and mine through research dollars, and nobody is addressing it.

It's time to go back. Potential Republican candidates for 2016 need to be asked if they would do all in their power to oppose federal funding for research using aborted fetal tissue. They need to be asked if they would ask Congress to send them legislation banning such funding. This issue needs to become as "live" as it was during the Reagan presidency and the Bush I presidency. We never should have abandoned it in the first place.

Comments (9)

Once again, your long memory is an indispensable asset.

If our own tax dollars are funding this and the prospects of changing the law aren't good (they aren't), then at what point are we compelled to stop paying taxes to the federal government?

Andrew, that's an interesting point. Even when one grants that the government, as the (at least heretofore) legitimate authority, gets the "benefit of the doubt" when it seems to be going from not completely good to bad through and through, at some point we have a right and even duty to say enough is enough.

But before that point has clearly been reached, because of the way a large society and a large government comprise a great many parts and pieces, one might conclude that some sort of gray area could exist where we are not yet compelled by clear necessity to actively resist the evil government, but we are no longer compelled by clear duty of obedience to obey the unjust impositions of that getting-ever-worse government; for example, where we ought to obey most rules, but are not bound to submit to all. If this is so (and I pose it as a hypothetical), setting out which is which is among the hardest of political judgments.

Even so, not paying taxes because of one specific activity of government is not what I would think to be easily justified. In general, government is a good (or at least a necessary) thing, and it needs resources to accomplish its good activities. Broad-based taxes are a general act of support for the entire array. User fees and focused taxes (like on cigarettes and gasoline) are not, though, so it is much easier to justify repudiating obedience to such a narrow tax if it is being put to evil use.

Well, I'll say this right now: From a practical point of view, for Christians to stop paying federal taxes is just going to get Christians thrown in jail and blamed as criminals.

And there will always be horrible things done with our tax dollars, so if we're not used to that fact already, we might as well face it now.

For Christian voters and Republican legislators to channel their well-placed horror at this video into a) defunding Planned Parenthood by the direct route and b) defunding aborted fetal tissue research, and for pro-lifers to demand such a commitment of candidates for office, is far more likely to have some actual effect.

If we'd kept pushing on Bush and the Congressional Republicans back in 2002 and throughout the Bush presidency, things might have been changed back then. And, yes, then changed back by the Democrats, and then changed back again, etc.

But these political footballs actually do some good. First, because they keep the issues alive, and second because during the years when they were on the right side of the field, lives are saved. (E.g. The Mexico City policy.) And third, because not giving up on them acts as an auxiliary conscience of the only political party that ever has a conscience about this issue and of the ever-shrinking number of Dems that retain some shred of conscience about baby-killing.

Oh, here's another idea: State laws banning research using aborted fetal tissue within their state borders.

The general answer to Andrew E's question is adequate if the offense lay in over-high taxation or the problems that caused the insurrection of the colonies in 1776. But is entirely inadequate when faced with iniquities of 2015.
Thoreau contemplated tax revolt over Mexican war and went to jail. Surely wholesale legalized murder of innocents is a more justified cause than a Mexican war.

Imagine the outrage if Louisiana or Texas introduced a bill that made the death penalty the blanket punishment for 1st degree murder, 2nd degree murder, felony murder, manslaughter that had a high degree of negligence, rape and armed robbery and it contained a provision that called for all death row inmates to be organ donors.

The left would be losing its collective excrement over that. Yet it would be downright civilized and righteous compared to what they are calling a non-issue here.

Heh, how about just a legal declaration that, as of the prescribed moment of execution, they are to be considered "brain dead" and just harvesting the organs? Oh, and they should certainly allow some pain killers. For humane reasons, natcherly.

Not that I promote whimsy and negligence regarding when we consider a person dead, but at least this wouldn't be murder.

for Christians to stop paying federal taxes is just going to get Christians thrown in jail and blamed as criminals.

Political power has never been attained without those desiring the power suffering a certain amount of inconvenience.

However, the issue is far bigger. The Controllers (in the terminology of CS Lewis) seek to remake the human race and by the way exterminating large segments of existing humanity. This is openly admitted by libertarians.

The US Govt supports this endeavor by funding this project in various universities and labs.

American Christians are generally supportive of both their Govt and its universities and labs. Who is willing to declare that vileness rules in these labs? The vileness that is purely demonic?

I hold no great brief for the Republican party, but this is finally a moment when I think our lawmakers might be shocked into defunding this. It's a sign of a lack of a sense of priorities in our readership that the first thought should be, "Hey, let's talk about tax evasion" instead of, "Hey, this is an actual opportunity to stop this. Pro-lifers with the ear of the relevant representatives should never have abandoned this fight and should take it back up now."

I won't go so far as Robert P. George who says that this video has handed pro-lifers their "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (though in terms of the ultimate abolition of abortion, I wish it were true), but I do think this is a strong opportunity to press the "reset" button. We have Congressmen openly asking, "What can we do?"

Why cannot defunding fetal tissue research be one of the answers to that? Pro-life lobbyists need to bring that up and not be bound by their mistake thirteen years ago.

C'mon, people, we can do something more constructive here than be cranks talking about a pointless tax revolt.

Normally I'm the Eeryore of the Eeyores and doubt a political solution, but in this narrow area I think it may be within our grasp. Somebody needs to forward this suggestion to those lobbyists who have access to the relevant ears.

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