Moral Analysis

This website seeks to pose the question to America, "How can baby body-parts trafficking be occurring in the United States of America, whose founding principles are Life, Liberty, and Justice for all?" Some believe that moral relativism has so penetrated Americans' way of thinking, that we have lost the capacity to recognize evil, and rather seek "rational" explanations for it, in order to be able to call what is evil good. Concerned Americans are invited to reflect upon the presence of the baby body-parts industry in our nation and ask themselves how it can be morally defended.

The American Bioethics Advisory Commission reminds us of the time-honored basis in civilized societies for determining the morality of any act. To determine the morality of a human act, the following three components of the act must be scrutinized:

1) the intent of the person doing the act;
2) the means used to accomplish the act; and
3) the object or end of the act.

Ethics demands that all three components must be moral, in order for the act itself to be moral.

1) Is the intent of baby body-parts trafficking morally permissible?

Supporters of baby body-parts trafficking offer a defense of it based upon its intent. They suggest that the good intent of researchers-seeking to advance scientific understanding of and cures for human disease and suffering-merits for them a kind of "immunity" from the moral accountability by which they would otherwise be bound. The argument for an exception from moral accountability for researchers based upon good intent alone is not new. This defense was presented at the Nuremberg trials by attorneys for the German doctors who had used brains taken from concentration camp victims in their research. Western civilization at the Nuremberg trials roundly rejected the claim that good intent alone can exonerate methods which are incompatible with the innate dignity of the human person and with his absolute right to informed consent to any act affecting the integrity of his body. The 20th century provides abundant testimony as to the abuses to the human person which occur when individuals, ideologies or nations regard "usefulness to me" as the sole criterion for human relationships. The moral error of "utilitarianism" is committed whenever and wherever one human being is reduced to an object for manipulation--whether by a research scientist, doctor, mother, merchant, politician, dictator or democratic state.

2) Are the means of baby body-parts trafficking morally permissible?

Some participants in baby body-parts trafficking attempt to justify the use of aborted babies' bodies based upon a "let's not let it go to waste" sentiment. They see a benefit at least in salvaging the "by-product" of elective abortion (human babies' bodies) which would otherwise be discarded, in order to make a contribution to science. We quote from a baby body-parts distributor's own marketing literature addressed to abortion providers, "Thank you for proposing to your patient the gift that will enable people around the world to have a better quality of life…You can turn your patient's decision into something wonderful."

State laws properly permit the work of medical researchers who utilize donated tissue from adults before or after natural death, because these sources of human tissue and organs are obtained subsequent the actual donors' documented and informed consent. This method of obtaining and utilizing human body-parts does not violate the dignity and liberty of human persons. Conversely, under existing American law, the not-yet-born baby has no voice in the decision for its body-parts to be donated to harvesters, who distribute them to researchers. The only persons who could claim a right to speak for the baby's interest in this transaction-the mother and/or the abortion provider-have interests not aligned with the baby's. The mother is seeking to end the baby's life to solve her own personal dilemma and is vulnerable to suggestions which can mitigate her anguish. The abortion provider and/or physician may well be in need of "product" to fulfill outstanding orders for specific body-parts. Ample post-abortive mothers report a shocking lack of disclosure on the part of the abortion providers as to the true business arrangement existing between the abortion facility and the recipients of babies' bodies. Thus, mothers' consent to donate their babies is flawed due to conflicts of interest and lack of full disclosure. In addition, numerous former harvesters of baby body-parts testify that mothers are often unnecessarily steered toward undergoing partial-birth abortions because only this procedure results in the parts needed to fill outstanding orders.

Who will speak up for the babies who are destined for dismemberment, and who lack an advocate for their dignity as members of the human family? Can a reasonable person not predict what the baby's own choice would be, were he given a chance to speak for his life? America has rushed to the defense of the "underdog" throughout its history, sometimes at enormous personal cost, even to the sacrifice of its own sons and daughters. Does the dismemberment of an unprotected baby and distribution of its body-parts-often at a profit-pass the test of fair play for most Americans?

3) Is the object or end of baby body-parts trafficking morally permissible?

The declared object of scientific research using baby body-parts is to arrive at methods of curing and/or mitigating human disease and suffering. Clearly, the reduction of disease and illness is a good and desirable objective for mankind and scientific research has led to the elimination of much misery globally, especially in the 20th century.

Nonetheless, "progress" over suffering is true progress only if human dignity and liberty are in no case violated. No authentic human progress can be built on a foundation of exploitation or abuse of a particular group of persons, especially those-literally-with no voice of their own. Abuse of babies is not worthy of the support or tolerance of a great democracy. America should reject new attempts to make "progress" synonymous with "scientific discovery," if progress is conditioned upon the exploitation of completely vulnerable human persons. The moral condition of any nation is measured by how it treats its weakest members. Harvesting and trafficking in baby body-parts denies the inviolable dignity of the human person, reducing the human person to a thing, an inanimate "product," which can be bought and sold.

America must ask itself, "Are we willing to save our bodies at the expense of our souls?"