What Do Planned Parenthood and a Tennessee Chicken Farm Have in Common?

By Fr. Frank Pavone | September 10, 2015 | 5:21pm EDT
Chickens gather around a feeder in a Tyson Foods Inc. poultry house in rural Washington County, Arkansas on Thursday, June 19, 2003. (AP Photo/April L. Brown)

Maybe you’ve seen or heard about them – secretly recorded videos shot by undercover activists that reveal a business’s callous disregard for life.  Two giants in the American food industry, McDonald’s and Tyson chicken have seen the videos and decided that what they saw could not be tolerated.  They immediately cut all ties with the exposed company so that their good names would not be associated with it.

But no, I’m not talking about the Center for Medical Progress videos that show Planned Parenthood officials and others casually discussing how to kill unborn babies so as to preserve profitable body parts.  I’m referring to the images shot by the anti-animal-cruelty group Mercy for Animals – images that recently uncovered horrible, inhumane treatment of chickens at the Tennessee farm of a former McDonald’s and Tyson supplier.

What’s striking about the Mercy for Animals and Center for Medical Progress videos, beyond the lack of respect for life – animal and human, respectively – that they depict, are the responses by the two organizations that are their targets.  While both companies are alike in being caught “red handed,” they are poles apart in how they’ve reacted to the resulting controversies.

The Tennessee chicken farm, according to news reports, has not commented publicly on the Mercy for Animals videos.

Planned Parenthood, momentarily stunned into an apology after the first Center for Medical Progress video, has since mounted an aggressive damage control campaign.

The main difference between the two entities?  Money. 

T&S Farm, the chicken supplier accused by Mercy for Animals of violating Tennessee animal cruelty laws, has probably lost its main source of income as a supplier for McDonald’s.  And it probably does not have sympathetic media members to spin stories in its favor.

Planned Parenthood is a $1.3 billion company with friends in high places, starting with the White House.  It has political clout, having spent $18 million in the last two election cycles to elect “friends” who will do its bidding and defend it when necessary.  In the past 15 years, it has spent an additional $12 million lobbying elected officials.

Planned Parenthood received over $528 million from taxpayers in its 2013-14 fiscal year, over $4 billion in the last ten years.  It repeatedly takes in more money than it spends, most recently showing an excess of $127 million in its budget. 

In other words, Planned Parenthood has money to burn – and spend it they have.

It hired the Washington, D.C.-based firm Fusion GPS to do an “analysis” of some of the Center for Medical Progress videos.  Fusion GPS has been described as an opposition research firm with ties to the Democratic Party that worked to discredit supporters of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. 

Not surprisingly, the firm hired by Planned Parenthood has produced a report critical of the videos exposing its client’s wrongdoing.  Imagine a “study” financed by the tobacco industry that shows cigarette smoking to be safe and you get the picture.  It’s hard to see Fusion GPS’s finished product as anything other than tainted.

Planned Parenthood’s big bucks push-back also includes the purchase of television attack ads against senators who voted unsuccessfully to remove federal funding from the organization.  It has also hired a public relations firm with ties to the Democratic Party, SKDKnickerbocker, to shine up its tarnished image.  And it is undoubtedly spending some of that “extra” $127 million it has to try to otherwise convince the American public that it’s not profiting from the sale of aborted baby parts or unethically altering abortion procedures to maximize the sale of those body parts.

The T&S Farm in Tennessee must stand back in awe, wondering what it could do if only taxpayers had given it hundreds of millions of dollars.

Baby (AP Photo)

One thing the chicken farm and Planned Parenthood have in common, though – both are being investigated by authorities.  T&S Farm is the subject of scrutiny by a district attorney’s office in Tennessee, Planned Parenthood by four Congressional committees. 

As I’ve said for years and wrote in my new book, Abolishing Abortion, you can’t practice vice virtuously.  Planned Parenthood has built its empire by aborting babies.  And by “aborting babies,” I mean tearing them limb from limb, albeit very carefully so as to preserve “useable” organs. 

There is no getting around it: Planned Parenthood plans the demise of children.  And to do this regularly you must deaden your senses and your conscience.  In this context, it’s not surprising that those involved in the aborted baby trade can laugh at sending a dead child to a lab with his or her eyes still open.  That child ceased being a child to you long before you killed her. 

We are rightly horrified at men spearing and mutilating deformed chickens; Mercy for Animals is to be commended.  We must be even more horrified at smiling faces who blithely describe the sale of mutilated humans.  Let us pray for those working for Planned Parenthood; maybe they'll see that mercy for babies in the womb would be in order about now.

Father Frank Pavone is the national director of Priests for Life.

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