Unfettered government spending —and baby parts…
The U.S. Constitution permits congressional spending for two purposes only — to pay debts and to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the country (Article 1, Section 8).
Experts have debated ad nauseam over the proper interpretation of the terms “common defense” and “general welfare” but it is difficult to deny that modern spending has far surpassed the intent of the Founders and, in some cases, reached the point of absurdity.
With entire websites devoted to exposing the excesses of government spending that has virtually no limits, it is inevitable that taxpayers will be forced to subsidize things that they view as morally questionable.
Planned Parenthood receives over $500 million each year from American taxpayers, which comprises over 40 percent of its budget. It was recently shown on video ostensibly seeking to profit from the sale of aborted baby parts (as opposed to being reimbursed for tissue donation), perhaps in violation of federal law.
Make no mistake, the big picture story here is not congressional overspending; it is the Senior Director of Medical Services at Planned Parenthood graphically describing her efforts to “not crush” vital organs when performing abortions in an effort to preserve them and recoup “between $30 and $100 per specimen.”
In another video, the President of Planned Parenthood’s Medical Directors Council indicates a profit-motive for aborted parts by negotiating for higher prices and haggling over the cost of “intact tissue.” When a system allows for unfettered spending, taxpayers can wind up paying not only for unnecessary services, but ones that straddle the line between genocide and the commercialization of human body parts.
Without government assistance it is unlikely Planned Parenthood could survive as currently structured. A system without proper checks and restraints allows for congressional funding of a multitude of programs that are unnecessary, and some, like Planned Parenthood, that blur ethical and moral lines.
Numerous calls for investigation and defunding have followed the release of this video, but under the current setup it will be difficult to fully strip federal grants because congressional Democrats and the President support the continued funding of Planned Parenthood despite the recent revelations.
In 2013, President Obama said, “You’ve also got a president who is going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way… Thank you Planned Parenthood, God bless you.”
It should come as no surprise that when the government sanctions a morally questionable procedure such as abortion, that other morally suspect actions will stem from that tree, even ones that shock the conscience.
Historically, polls have shown this nation to be nearly 50-50 when it comes to general abortion rights, but the same polls move sharply against abortion in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Partial-birth abortion is illegal but the methods described by Dr. Deborah Nucatola in the video closely resemble techniques in the partial-birth procedure. She said that “[Planned Parenthood doctors are] very good at getting heart, lung, and liver…so I’m not going to crush that part, I’m going to crush below, I’m going to crush above, I’m going to see if I can get it all intact.”
Dr. Nucatola implies that specific steps are taken to preserve body parts, deviating from legal abortion standards. In response to this aspect of the video evidence, Bill Murphy, co-Director of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center at the University of Wisconsin, told the Washington Post “The general consensus is that’s unethical and unsafe… you can’t modify a life-saving procedure for a patient in order to harvest organs.”
Control of the nation’s money with few limitations on expenditures encourages legislators to provide funding for projects they personally deem necessary for society and equality. The results are runaway spending and massive budget deficits. Politicians routinely use the public coffers to strengthen their reelection efforts by securing the support of special interest groups.
Irresponsible fiscal policy combined with substantial political support for abortion rights have led to taxpayer funding for an organization that harvests and sells baby body parts for research. It strains credibility to reason that this is what the Founders had in mind when they authorized spending only for debt, defense, and general welfare.
Public money is used for a multitude of things that many Americans find objectionable. When standards for congressional spending become virtually obsolete, the financial door swings wide-open for potential abuse.
Likewise, it is not a stretch that a society that permits abortion and the use of fetal parts for research would give rise to groups looking to profit from it. As Dr. Nucatola explained in the video, “I think for [Planned Parenthood] affiliates, at the end of the day, they’re a non-profit… if they can do a little better than break even, and do so in a way that seems reasonable, they’re happy to do that.”
What has resulted is a perfect storm of economic entropy and blurred bioethical lines, in which congressional spending is rubber-stamped and prices can be placed on human body parts. This lethal downward trajectory of fiscal and moral standards tugs at the fabric of society in ways that is harmful to both the economy and to the culture.
It is one thing for evil to exist but it is another for that evil to be sanctioned by the government and paid for by the people. Without dramatic financial reforms and near-unanimous condemnation of immoral actions, we can expect an exponential increase of morally objectionable activity subsidized by the taxpayers.
Ending the trafficking of aborted baby parts will not be easy, but a return to the original plan for congressional spending would be a good start.
This comes to us courtesy of the Acton Institute