If you’re a lion who’s been named by the public and had the good fortune to take part in a conservation tracking system, you can expect the world to look out for you. Rangers will worry when you stray in any direction away from the borders of the park that offers you protection from hunters. Laws will be strictly enforced to ensure that you roam free to your heart’s content and in the event that you are inadvertently killed, chat show hosts will cry live on TV, animal charities will benefit from your downfall and online mobs will send so many death threats to your killer that he will himself be forced to go into hiding.
That was the experience of world-famous Cecil the lion who was killed by a hunter in the past few days. However, things are very different if you’re a human.
The third video of the undercover investigation carried out by the Centre for Medical Progress into unseemly practices in Planned Parenthood facilities in the US is also one of the most graphic to date. Some have said they cried watching it. Some were physically sick at the images of the remains of an 11-and-a-half week old aborted baby, laid out in a specially lit up petri dish so that a technician could sift through them searching for “legs”, “arms”, “brain” and “kidney”.
At one point in the video, Dr. Savita Ginde, the vice president of Planned Parenthood in the Rocky Mountains, comments that the “specimens” look “good to go”.
Of course they’re being paid for. The technician who provides the narrative for this video is a former employee of Stem Express. She was sent into Planned Parenthood by the company to ensure that they got whatever they needed – all with the intention of selling the body parts on. Planned Parenthood prefer payment on a per-item basis because that way, in the words of Dr. Ginde, “we can see how much we can get out of it.”
Despite the almost unimaginable horror of this video and the two that preceded it, perhaps we needed the added dimension of Cecil’s story to point out the true hypocrisy of the issue.
In the outpouring of grief that we’ve seen since it emerged that Cecil was lured to his death by full-time dentist and part-time hunter Walter Palmer, one thing has been very clear. Most people don’t care about the fact that it’s sometimes legal to kill a lion and sometimes not. They’re not concerned with the fact that Cecil seems to have been drawn away from the park where he lived and where it was illegal to hunt, towards an area where big game hunters like Palmer pay tens of thousands of dollars for the thrill of hunting and killing giant predators.
What concerns those who are most outraged about Cecil’s death is the fact that he was killed, not whether there was a law in place. When chat show host Jimmy Kimmel became emotional talking about it on his show, he didn’t care about the law. He cared about the killing.
Compare that to the Planned Parenthood scandal. Right from the release of the first video, the only thing pro-choice supporters could say was that what was going on in the facilities was not illegal. In her first response, PP president Cecile Richards insisted that all of the work done by Planned Parenthood “follows all laws”.
The sad fact is that she may be right. Since the 1973 case of Roe vs Wade introduced abortion in America, the law has allowed all kinds of horrific situations to develop: third trimester abortions, a refusal to pass legislation that would administer pain relief even where it can be proven that the unborn child feels the effects of the abortion. Even the hypocrisy of a world that allows abortion where a disability is diagnosed, but then passes anti-discrimination laws for the born disabled, and encourages positive initiatives like the Special Olympics.
Sadly, we cannot always rely on the law to tell us what is right and wrong. There have been many times in history when humanity and the law have stood at odds with each other. But because we’re human beings, we have an innate sense of right and wrong, even if the legislators at a particular time in a country’s history get things badly wrong.
If it doesn’t matter that it was legal to kill Cecil the lion, why does the law suddenly become effective again when we’re talking about vulnerable unborn humans whose lives are ended and whose organs are harvested and sold on? Why is Cecile Richards entitled to rely on the protection of the law while Walter Palmer is currently in hiding and in fear of his life? No-one wants to talk about a moral compass but something us very wrong when we can look the other way in the face of an inconsistency that is demonstrated in such a horrific way for the world to see.