By Joan Short
In Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, ideas have chilling consequences. Raskolnikov, after weeks of playing it over and over in his mind, finally commits a murder that he thinks will improve many lives. He isn’t the only one with the idea. One day as he is contemplating the act, he overhears a conversation between some students. They are discussing the death of a pawnbroker, “a senseless, spiteful, ailing, horrid old woman.” She is so despicable that they conclude that it morally obligatory to kill her.
The students give no indication that they are motivated enough to go out and kill her. In fact, they are probably among the public of whom Raskolnikov says, “Why does my action strike them as so horrible?” when he has actually done it. To him, it is nothing to be shocked at, this killing of a “horrid old woman” for the “service of humanity and the good of all.” Why should they be so concerned by it?
He might have explained their shock by his theory that mankind is divided into ordinary people and extraordinary people. The extraordinary people make the rules by which the ordinary people live, but can break the rules if necessary. Because it is right for them, they will not feel guilty for “wading through blood.” With this in mind, he would understand why the people at his trial are
horrified by what he did. They are inferior, ordinary people; they have feelings according to ordinary rules.
As strange and unwanted as this coldness may seem, it is characteristic of a certain industry in this country. In one of the videos taken by the Center for Medical Progress, headed by David Daleiden, Holly O’Donnell tells of her first day working for StemExpress. This company gathers the organs and limbs of aborted fetuses and sells them to researchers. As she started to identify the recognizable pieces of the human body, O’Donnell says she felt “death and pain shoot up through her body,” before she blacked out. When she woke up, somewhat embarrassed, the nurse said, “Don’t worry, we were all like that.
Some of us never get over it.” O’Donnell later quit.
This “getting over it” is apparent when comparing O’Donnell’s emotional story with Deb Nucatola’s casual description of how she obtains the right organs. At the time, Nucatola was the senior director of medical services for Planned Parenthood. “I’d say a lot of people want liver,” she says before taking a bite of salad. She then describes in detail how an abortionist can keep the head intact, all the while eyeing her next mouthful, which she is clearly enjoying. She seems to have “gotten over it.”
Possibly another “extraordinary” person, Vanessa Russo, compliance program administrator for Planned Parenthood Keystone, thinks that the sale of body
parts is a “valid exchange.” Any policy restricting it is too “ridiculous” for her to even discuss seriously. “Let’s have a debate on the real issue and truths. That’s a discussion I would participate in. I don’t feel like we should participate in discussions based on crap,” she says bluntly.
Like Raskolnikov, Cate Dyer, CEO of StemExpress, thinks faintheartedness is, if not a sign of inferiority, at least inexplicable. During lunch with David Daleiden, she mentions that academic labs ask for limbs without the hands or feet. “It’s almost as if they don’t want to know where it comes from. They’re like, ‘make it so we don’t know what it is.’ Their lab techs freak out and have meltdowns,” she tries to explain, but shakes her head as if still puzzled by this reaction.
These women have been overcome by the theory that they believe in. They no longer have the delicacy of “ordinary” people. They no longer mind the sight of the babies they kill. In fact, they might take pride in it. Lisa Harris, the abortionist in a leaked CMP video, says, “The fetus is the marker of how good a job you did.”
Like the students mentioned above, however, many people believe and even propound theories they would not like to see in practice. As Harris says, “Ignoring the fetus is a luxury of activists and advocates.” How many times have people said, “I support abortion, but I would never do it myself”?
Sometimes, they will change their minds when they come face to face with
what they have been supporting, but many might die through their work in the meantime. For example, Abby Johnson worked for Planned Parenthood because she loved the cause. She was proud to belong to an organization that “believed that everyone had the right to choose when or whether to have a child,” she says in her book Unplanned.
For years, Johnson put all her effort into protecting women from crisis pregnancies and back-alley abortions. This protection, which consisted helping them get legal abortions, was finally revealed to her as murder when she was asked to assist a doctor during an abortion. On the ultrasound screen, she saw the face of the fetus just before it was torn to pieces by the vacuum. She left Planned Parenthood soon afterwards.