Sunday, August 2, 2015

Fetal Tissue and the Taking of Cecil the Lion...No Common Ground On the Dark Side of the Moon

There has been some call out in the media, for example an OpEd piece by Charles Camosy in the LA Times linking the current outrage over the Planned Parenthood fetal tissue video and the killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, as common ground that the left and the right could perhaps come together on.  Camosy, who teaches bioethics at Fordham University sees a link between the two which almost completely evades me. The only link is the one he attributes to Pope Francis, and even then, although a valid concern for all of us, serves as a weak link as it pertains to these two subjects, and I seriously doubt Pope Francis had intended for Camosy to make the link as such. The linkages made by Republicans, such as the dimwitted Rush Limbaugh, and the not so dimwitted Marco Rubio (although a bit naive), are not being made by Democrats. Principally, I believe, because there is no link, as most are appalled by both sets of appalling human behavior we've seen played out in both of these cases. If that's the link than so be it.  But that's not what Camosy is saying.  He is saying the rights of the defenseless animal and the rights for the defenseless unborn are the link. That's rubbish and not the salient point of either issue.

In the case of the hunting and killing of Cecil the Lion, the crime is not so much the killing (or "taking" as the game hunters like to say) but the brazen purchase of the trophy hunt ($55,000) and abject disregard of personal responsibility of the wealthy American who seemingly unwittingly (the investigation will hopefully reveal any malfeasance)  bought himself into the equivalence of a staged hunt. He was an idiot, not because his chosen sport  is morally objectionable to animal rights advocates, as other lion's are hunted in Zimbabwe, as are other big game world wide, and certainly do not raise this type of clamor beyond the PETA circles, but because his money bought him his right to "take".  And it blew up in his face.  What he should take is responsibility.  Period.  This is not an argument on the left or the right.

The other issue is much more complex.  The moral crime here does not depend on the issue of abortion, but rather when does the buying and selling of fetal organs (fetal "tissue" being the language that seemingly conceals the truth in this particular case), commence.  If abortions are occurring to harvest organs as a principle goal Planned Parenthood, is not the target.  Rather, the deep ethical questions that revolve around all organ donations .  As always the source of the organs, and the question of the haves and the have nots, must be in the discussion.  If, those responsible parties at Planned Parenthood, are somehow engaged in an illicit organ trade in this manner, this is completely independent of the morality of the abortions themselves, and of course, morally reprehensible in any circle, left or right, if some black market trade is revealed.  I'll spell it out.  We are talking about the intentional ending of a life for the purpose of organ donation.  This is different from conducting science with discarded tissue (stem cell research or different category of science using discarded tissue).  And, if we truly are talking about a late term abortion, I can't see how any fetal organs would be viable for any type of transplant, short of an almost full term pregnancy being ended for such an end.  Otherwise, the abortion would be illegal in most recognizable circumstances. Certainly this too, is not argued between the majority on the left or on  the right.

The common ground of condemnation for reprehensible acts already exist in the majority of our population, linking two disparate topics in this manor serves no purpose beyond a publicity stunt, pronounced Rush Limbaugh. 

So what's left on these two issues is the radical nut jobs on the extremities of both sides.  There will never be common ground between them...other than the libertarian day dream that occasionally occurs when the far left and far right swing back together and touch each other.  I prefer the ground between the two, in the light of day, not this ground that occasionally swings back around and touches on the dark side of the moon. Upon thinking about this, that might in fact be exactly where these two highly disparate issues have come together and thus have arisen for the Camosy piece.  That's exactly the wrong way to think about these two things.