The ethics of Planned Parenthood

By Tom Quiner

This happens more often than you think: a baby survives an abortion attempt.

What do you do about it? There are two choices:

1. Do nothing. Let the baby die. It has absolutely no right to life, right?

2. Provide immediate medical care to save the life of the child, since, having made it out of the womb, he or she is now considered a person.

Quiner’s Diner has written about this dilemma several times. If you recall, then-State Senator, Barack Obama, refused to vote for an Illinois law that would require medical care for babies that survived an abortion.

The president’s moral compass told him that the mother’s desire to end the life of her child trumped the child’s right to life, even after surviving an abortion.

Interestingly, the nation’s Congress disagreed, and in a rare unanimous vote, passed Born Alive legislation.

Planned Parenthood’s ethics are in tune with Mr. Obama’s regarding the issue of what to do with a baby who escapes the abortionist’s clutches.

Florida is attempting to pass their own version of Born Alive legislation. Planned Parenthood is fighting them.

Alisa LaPolt Snow is a lobbyist who represents the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates. She testified before legislators on behalf of PP and said whether or not to kill an infant who survived an abortion should be left up to the mom and her abortionist.

A stunned legislator, Jim Boyd, stammered back:

“So, um, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief. If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”

What would be the compassionate answer? Why to try to save the life of the baby. That approach does not align with PP’s ethics, as Ms. Snow clarified:

“We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”

Rep. Daniel Davis posed this question:

“What happens in a situation where a baby is alive, breathing on a table, moving. What do your physicians do at that point?”

Ms. Snow again demonstrated PP’s lack of compassion for the child:

“I do not have that information. I am not a physician, I am not an abortion provider. So I do not have that information.”

If Ms. Snow was driving down the road and saw a two year old child lying on the side of the road, and the child was struggling for breath, would she drive by since she is not a physician? No. She would call for emergency medical care.

What is the difference between the 2 year old and the newborn other than one was wanted, and the other wasn’t?

Let’s say the 2 year old lying beside the road was discarded there by parents who didn’t want her anymore, would that change anything?

Of course not.

If you’ve read this blog over the last few years or followed the abortion debate, you’ve heard a variety of views from my readers on when human personhood begins:

√ Some say it begins at birth.

√ Some say it begins with the first heartbeat.

√ Some say it begins when the child feels pain (about 20 weeks or so).

√ Some say it begins in the second trimester.

√ Some say 25 weeks.

√ Some say it begins at birth.

√ Now Planned Parenthood says that’s still not enough, that the life of the child that survives a “botched” abortion is STILL conditional.

Should human life ever be conditional on the whims of the more powerful?

Barack Obama says yes.

Planned Parenthood says yes, compassion be damned.

Their ethics, their moral compass, puts the interest of the powerful, Planned Parenthood, ahead of the human being fighting for life.

There is one clear, consistent, and logical standard to mark the beginning of personhood, and that is at conception.



  1. violetwisp on April 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    An interesting point. Can you provide some links to situations where this has occurred?

    • quinersdiner on April 1, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      H i Violet: I heard a woman speak who had been “aborted” some 33 years ago. It was a remarkable story. Here is a link my retelling of her story:

      Here is another Quiner’s Diner link:

      A nurse named Jill Stanek witnessed such a birth and reported on it before Congress. You can find out more at Wikipedia:

    • Bob Vance on April 1, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      Much of this knowledge I collected prior to the Internet. The latest pyramid documentary where the pyramids were a power source I believe is on Netflix. The three man engineer teams I read in a Science Digest type magazine years ago. As for bulding the ark, that has been attempted several times over the years.

      The archeolgy history I got from a class on archeolgy years ago in an introductory elective at ISU and I saw a documentary more recent where they were trying to find the sites of Sodom and Gomorrah and they went into some history of archeology as setup (and filler). They did find some cities but the dates predated the Bible by hundreds of years.

      I have always been into science and its histories plus the history of Christianity. The History Channel and The Discovery Channel have both done documentary series over the years.

      If there is something specific, let me know and I will try to dig up what I can.

  2. Bob Vance on April 1, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    For decades if not centuries man has tried to recreate the Ark of Noah fame. No one has ever been able to do it. We have aircraft carriers that weigh tons and tons that float around the world, but no one has ever been able to recreate a boat where the design was given right in the Bible.

    Much of archeology was funded by religious organizations to confirm the history contained in the Bible, with little if any results. Darwin’s theories were rejected for years by the scientific community because they didn’t fit into the Bible’s timeline of 4000 to 6000 years and it contradicted the story of Noah. “In 1600’s, the Christian authorities in Rome took Giordano Bruno out of the dungeon he had been in for eight years, drove a nail thru his tongue, tied him to a metal post, put wood and some of his books under his feet, and burned him to death. Bruno’s crime was writing ideas that the Catholic leaders didn’t like — Earth revolves around the sun, the sun is a star,…” Catholics spent centuries making sure noone questioned their authority by penalty of death.

    There was a claim that the pyramids were made by some alien race because it was deemed impossible. But then a group of engineers, using nothing but tools that could have been fabricated at that time in that area, showed how it could be done, and done quickly with three man teams.

    People today assume that everyone before us were technically inferior. I watched a Discovery Channel special about the pyramids that would indicate that they may have been huge power cells that used the large crystals and the electricity generated by the running water of the river which ran through the chambers of the pyramids at the time.

  3. The Arbourist on April 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    This happens more often than you think:

    That forced birth advocates seize upon an improbable, but emotionally disturbing incident and callously make hay in their fight against women?

    I agree completely.

  4. Bob Vance on April 1, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Per Roe v Wade, it comes down to when a baby is considered viable: “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid”, adding that viability “is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks.”

    I know there is a doctor I believe in Pennsylvania that was charged with murder, along with his assistant (who ended up turning him in). In that case, viable fetus were destroyed after being removed from the mother – i.e. murdered.

    A lot has been made of Obama’s record and many have labelled him a baby killer because of this. I have read quite a bit about it.

    Obama did not vote for the bill on several occasion by either voting “No” or abstaining. Even after he said he would vote for it if they changed the wording, he decided to vote “No” anyways. His reasoning: Because it would contradict (and therefore not stand up against) Roe v Wade and once the woman gives birth to a viable baby, that baby is protected under current law which protects all humans – it’s murder.

    The question becomes – is a “nonviable” baby that shows signs of life a baby. If you say Yes, than you have essentially contradicted Roe v Wade, if you say No, then you are branded a baby killer by all the pro-life people.

    I confess even the thought of such things makes me physically ill, but emotions do not change the law. Until Roe v Wade is overturned, like Personhood bills, these types of bills will legally not hold up. To use this to brand one person a “baby killer” in my opinion is dishonest.

    • quinersdiner on April 1, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      For the record, I did not use the term “baby killer.” But I guess that is what happens when a baby is born alive and then exterminated.

      • Bob Vance on April 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm

        You did not use it – I said many use it.

    • Lisa Bourne on April 1, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

      • quinersdiner on April 1, 2013 at 8:17 pm

        “Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy.”

        It’s amazing, Lisa, that so many people still think it only applies to the first trimester. Thanks for the reminder.

      • Bob Vance on April 1, 2013 at 11:54 pm

        Are you saying this is not true?

        “Per Roe v Wade, it comes down to when a baby is considered viable: “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid”, adding that viability “is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks.””

        • quinersdiner on April 2, 2013 at 6:40 am

          As I’ve discussed before, viability is irrelevant to personhood.

  5. violetwisp on April 1, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Thanks. The links to your own pages don’t work, as they go to edit message functions, rather than the public page. But I read about Jill Stanek and also found the horrific story of an abortion provider in Philidelphia who is currently on trial. For me, this highlights the importance of good sex education, access to birth control and strong regulation for providers of abortion. The less women that find themselves in a position where they feel abortion is the only option, the better. Unfortunately, botched abortions would occur on a far more frequent basis if it was outlawed.

  6. theguywiththeeye on April 1, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Why are you so eager for a child to live in a capitalistic society in which that child’s chance of success will be so heavily influenced by the economic conditions he/she is born into?

    • Karen Quiner on April 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      What are you saying eye guy? That you think it is ok to let the child die if she is born alive because we live in a capitalistic society? I know you are on record as saying I am crazy, but this is a serious question.

      • theguywiththeeye on April 1, 2013 at 5:02 pm

        No, just that I am confused by the contradictions of the mindset. I don’t understand why we would fight so vehemently for an unborn child and then fight vehemently to protect our bank account. If you are going to fight tooth and nail for the unborn then I don’t see why you fight for an above average lifestyle. Makes no sense to me. You do realize that someone has to lose for you to gain, right?

      • Karen Quiner on April 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm

        How in the world do you think you know how we live? I don’t see how that is relevant, but you would be very surprised at how we live. You know absolutely nothing about us.
        But you always call Tom “rich man” as if that is a put down. If you were rich, would you give it all away? Why would that be a put down?

        • theguywiththeeye on April 1, 2013 at 5:36 pm

          Woah, what’s with the defensiveness?

          I have no idea how you live. I’m just trying to make you question your beliefs, as I don’t see any evidence that they are your own.

          Why can’t we just admit that we are playing an angle, generating an audience here with this site in support of our careers?

          You’d might find that you have more in common with liberals if you dropped the facade.

    • Karen Quiner on April 1, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Maybe I misundertand when you call Tom “rich man” as if it is some sort of derogatory comment. And what did the reference to a bank account have to do with anything? Forgive me if I misunderstood.

      • theguywiththeeye on April 1, 2013 at 6:15 pm

        I get frazzled about these things and start shooting from the hip. Bickering about the unborn disturbs me when we have so many post-birth issues which I feel need more immediate attention.

    • Bob Zimmerman on April 1, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      Bumper sticker I read today: “It’s interesting that all abortion proponents have already been born” … There’s a reason that discussions like this put people like you on the verge of panic… It’s because deep down you KNOW the truth. And the TRUTH conflicts with the lies you’ve bought into. There is only so much that true believers can do in terms of showing our brothers the error of their ways. After a point, we need to let you seal your own fates. In the end, Truth wins…

    • Shawn Pavlik on April 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      If the woman doesn’t want the child, she can always give it up for adoption. That’s clearly a better option than killing it.

  7. Bob Vance on April 1, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    I have maintained that you cannot use religion in the fight against abortion. Please read the following as I would appreciate your response.

    In death, Christian’s believe the soul lives on even after the body ceases to function. The human body is just a vessel that we bury in the ground or put in a crypt or maybe cremate. Medically, death occurs when brain function ceases and is deemed not to return.

    If we use brain activity, as it is used in death, then medically, life would begin when the brain becomes fully functional – which occurs around week 24 in a pregnancy. Prior to brain activity, the mother’s body is merely creating a vessel to hold the soul while it is on earth. Why is that not a valid reason from a religious standpoint? Give or take a week or two, this aligns with Roe v Wade’s definition of viable.

    • quinersdiner on April 1, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      I do not use religion to make the case for life. I use the 14th Amendment.

      • theguywiththeeye on April 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm

        Certainly you don’t think Bob is going to accept that answer, Tom. You are using religion to interpret the 14th amendment.

        • quinersdiner on April 1, 2013 at 5:46 pm

          Human life begins at conception is my view. Until it is definitively disproved, which it won’t, we should err on the side of caution and apply the 14th amendment to each human being from the first instant of its human life.

          • theguywiththeeye on April 1, 2013 at 5:50 pm

            Not erring on the side of caution with respect to the mother.

      • Shawn Pavlik on April 4, 2013 at 2:47 pm

        The woman made her choice when she chose to have sex. You do realize that about 80% of abortions, the woman was on NO birth control, right? In other words they were using abortion as birth control. You don’t see that as a problem?

      • Shawn Pavlik on April 4, 2013 at 2:49 pm

        So we should err on the side of “convenience” over life? That’s plain ridiculous. I guess once a person gets dementia, we should just kill them, because they are an inconvenience on their family.

  8. Bob Vance on April 1, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    I do take offense to when you wrote: “In other words, Mr. Obama suggested that human rights are subjective, not inalienable, a view not unlike those held in communist China.”

    You take a statement that the majority of people here in the U.S. would have a hard time arguing, and give to one person while essentially calling him a communist.

    Wasn’t it Republican Strategist Atwater who started the phone campaigns where, within a series of questions, he would throw questions like “If [Democrat A] were found to be linked to child pornography, would that change your opinion of him?”

    He didn’t actually accuse anyone of child pornography but he left the person on the other end now associating the candidate to child pornography. Highly effective but highly unethical.

    • quinersdiner on April 1, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      “I do take offense to when you wrote: “In other words, Mr. Obama suggested that human rights are subjective, not inalienable, a view not unlike those held in communist China.”

      But Bob, it is true. That is Mr. Obama’s view. That is China’s view. The last thing I would ever want to do is to offend you. You know that. Mr. Obama’s view of human rights is far, far to the Left of the American ideal of a fundamental right to life.

  9. Bob Vance on April 1, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Eye Guy has pointed out a common critic of Republicans. Republicans fight hard to make sure a child is born but then don’t want to fund the programs for a child once he is born. That we care more about personal wealth than feeding hungry children.

    Like all stereotypes there are those who fit the mold. I do not believe that of Tom or Karen based on what I have read here over these last months.

    Jesus told the rich man to give up all his possession is he wanted to get into heaven. I don’t think Jesus was telling everyone to give all your wealth away. I think he meant that if money is more important to you than God, then you need to get rid of the money.

    I am lucky in that I chose a profession that I really like and that pays well. I essentially retired at the age of 45. I have the luxury to pick and choose the projects I take on based on if I think I will have fun doing them or if I like the people I will be working with. I gave up drinking. I never smoked or I don’t do drugs (I admit I tried some in my early days). My kids know they can always come to me for help, but they also know not to expect anything when I die. I give most of my money to charity, including a yearly donation to a local church around Thanksgiving (I am an atheist) because I like what they do for the poor. I am constantly hiring people for odd jobs even though I don’t need it because I know it helps them out with a little more dignity than a handout.

    • Karen Quiner on April 1, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      The question for us and for the Republicans we associate with is not whether we want to take care of the children but rather what is the best way to take care of them. What programs work and how high should the safety net be? And how much can we afford without risk of the money running out?

      We absolutely want to take care of the babies once they are born.

      • theguywiththeeye on April 1, 2013 at 6:25 pm

        The safety net should be as big as it needs to be.Big enough so that no human being has to worry about their basic needs be taken care of. Big enough so that every human being can make decisions that are not out of desperation and every one has the time and money to get educated and increase our chances of solving the worlds problems.

        Human beings do not thrive in poverty. Get rid of that and our GOOD NATURE will take care of the rest. We can’t be distracted by poor people “taking advantage of the system” whilst the wealthy are doing the real damage. There IS ENOUGH to go around.

    • theguywiththeeye on April 1, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      I’m not sure if I have the nerves to discuss these things here. I keep following Quiner’s Diner — thinking that I might be able to restrain myself but it puts me on the border of panic.

      I don’t aim to make people feel guilty for anything just hoping for some consistency.

      I do not enjoy how the UNBORN do such a great job of dividing post-birth human beings.

  10. Maggie DeWitte on April 1, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Tom, great post as usual. For those who have done any research on Planned Parenthood, they wouldn’t be surprised by the level of utter disregard for human life that Ms. Snow displays. The founder of PP was Margaret Sanger- a prominent leader in eugenics. This is the core belief in which this organization of death was founded on- that the human race could be improved if certain people did not reproduce. PP still honors its founder bestowing annual awards in her name. In this culture of death we see no limits to the de-valuing of human life in the womb and outside.

    • quinersdiner on April 1, 2013 at 8:16 pm

      Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it.

    • Paul Sharp on April 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      Just checked Quiner’s Diner – wow! I agree with Maggie and Tom. There is a growing culture of death. From conception to birth humans are at great peril, and next in line are the elderly.

      • quinersdiner on April 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm

        I totally agree, and it is very concerning.

      • theguywiththeeye on April 1, 2013 at 9:49 pm

        Everyone inbetween ain’t doin so hot neitha.

  11. maxinebechtelmaxine bechtel on April 2, 2013 at 7:11 am

    great piece! Well said!

  12. Bob Vance on April 2, 2013 at 7:34 am

    “Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy.”

    “As I’ve discussed before, viability is irrelevant to personhood.”

    If you want to promote change in the legal system, you have to stick with the facts. Roe v Wade makes viability relevant. If you truly want to do something about the legality of abortion, you must recognize what the current law is before you can change it.

    • quinersdiner on April 2, 2013 at 7:46 am

      Yes, that is why there is a growing movement to pass legislation to define personhood as beginning at conception.

      • Bob Vance on April 2, 2013 at 7:49 am

        It may be a great emotional movement, but it will never hold up in court. It will not overturn Roe v Wade.

        • quinersdiner on April 2, 2013 at 8:50 am

          It’s a movement based on reason.

    • Bob Zimmerman on April 2, 2013 at 8:39 am

      Viability: adj. Capable of living, developing, or germinating under favorable conditions… Lets say, Mr. Vance, that you had the misfortune of falling down a manhole and breaking your legs and arms. You yell up to people passing on the street, pleading for help. Unfortunately, Bob, you are not viable. An intact human adult would be capable of climbing out of that sewer and continue to live. There is no law that compels us to pull you up out of the filth and darkness, give you medical attention and attend to your needs until you become “viable” once again.

      To continue to live by the “facts”, Mr. Vance, is to deny the possibility there there may exist absolute truth. Abortion, for instance…just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s right.

      • Bob Vance on April 2, 2013 at 9:43 am

        Nice little story, but it is has nothing to do with abortion in the eyes of the law. Viabilty is currently the basis of when life legally begins. Choosing to ignore that fact does nothing to advance your cause. Is it better to be right or better to actually make a change?

        The pro-life side has used emotion as their base since Roe v Wade was even considered. How has that been working out?

        Do you know how they determine the due date in a pregnancy? They count days from the last mestrual cycle. Medically, it is not even considered a pregnancy until the womb accepts the fertilized egg. You will have a hard time saying life begins before pregnancy begins.

        • quinersdiner on April 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm

          It’s actually quite a good story. As more and people see into the womb thanks to the ultrasound, they see humanity in the womb. They see more than a “blob of cells.” The pro life movement is based on reason, which explains their growing ranks. Change is slowly occurring. Abortion will one day fall. It is inevitable in a reasoned, compassionate society.

          • theguywiththeeye on April 2, 2013 at 1:43 pm

            I think we will be able to upload human consciousness on a hard drive before that happens.

      • Shawn Pavlik on April 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm

        The problem, Mr. Vance, is that NO ONE can seem to define WHEN life begins. Since there is that question, must we not err on the side of LIFE? Were we not “endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these LIFE…?”

  13. Shawn Pavlik on August 22, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    You need an open thread area or something… (just a suggestion)… I saw this and wanted to share it with you….

    I figured an abortion thread would be the most proper place.