Bioethics,  Culture of Death,  euthanasia,  Pro Life,  reality check,  Women's Health,  Women's Rights

Boiling frogs and silent lambs

The last thing I want to write about, now that my belly is proceeding me into every room by approximately 2.3 seconds, is wholesaling baby parts. But dammit if that’s not what’s trending in my newsfeed these past 24 hours.

But you and I both know that Facebook has fundamentally myopic tendencies, meaning it caters to your specific likes/beliefs/interests/sexual preferences/cat food brands/etc., and that you won’t see something you disagree with, most of the time. Because you’ve probably unfriended and distanced yourself from anyone with whom you disagree in real life.

I’ve never personally unfriended anyone for such a thought crime, but I’ve been jettisoned from quite a few former college classmate’s lists myself, so I know how it works. And I know that without their presence in my own little echo chamber, things sound a lot more homogenous.

Which is hardly helpful for the purpose of debate and ongoing discussion. But I guess it reinforces our little bubbles. And I guess it’s part of why I was not at all surprised to see that although every other hashtag in my social networks yesterday was #ppsellsbabyparts, it was nothing but crickets from CNN, MSNBC, ABC and the like (oh, but this gem from Cosmopolitan is rich). I even forced myself to stroll through 30 minutes of Anderson Cooper last night on the treadmill, knowing full well that he wasn’t going to cover the story. But I had to see for myself.

Before I go any further I want to confess this: I’m disgusted, first and foremost, by my own deep apathy for the situation. When the news broke yesterday that Planned Parenthood had fallen victim to yet another undercover investigative journalism sting, this one featuring a high-ranking medical officer in the company discussing selling dead baby parts for profit over a leafy kale salad and red wine lunch, my blood pressure was unchanged.

My first reaction, internally, was something like “well of course they’re selling human organs for profit. Why wouldn’t they?”

Blase. Utterly unsurprised. And the longer I sit with the news, the more disgusted and disturbed I am by my own emotionally-neutral state. For God’s sake, I’m 9 months pregnant. I should be sobbing when I listen to testimony about “carefully crushing above the neck and below the pelvis, to keep abdominal organs intact;” because I can’t even get through most bedtimes without tears, lately.

But there’s nothing.

Sure, I’m disgusted on an intellectual level. But the gut reaction of horror, pain, and revulsion is notably absent.

And I blame myself as much as I blame our violent, twisted, sadistic media – both news and entertainment.

When I was a young teenager, maybe 13 or 14 years old, I saw my first real horror movie: Silence of the Lambs. (I’m almost 100% sure without my parent’s knowledge.) It horrified me on such a deep level that I honestly cannot, to this day, look at Anthony Hopkins in photographs or in any other movies. The evil he so convincingly portrayed in the character of Hannibal Lector was so profound that I was shaken to my very core.

My developing teenage mind was assaulted by the idea that a anyone could eat human beings, that this man could be so intellectually superior to the average person and yet ensnared by such demonic evil as to be able to casually remark about “nice chianti and Fava beans” whilst dabbing traces of his victim’s blood from his lips with a fine linen napkin.

Fast forward 15 years or so and we find ourselves immersed in such a culture of violence, both on the news and in our so-called entertainment, that I doubt Hopkin’s performance would push any envelopes or raise any eyebrows today.

Cannibalism? Yawn. Saw that on CSI last week. Scalping and skinning? Ho-hum, isn’t ISIS doing that in Siberia or somewhere right now?

And that’s why this can happen. That’s why a corporate behemoth like Planned Parenthood can continue to gobble up tax dollars and butcher up babies all while convincing the public of their benevolent generosity towards “underprivileged” women and minorities.

Feminism, my ass.

Turns out it might be closer to cannibalism, of all the possible isms it could resemble. And that even when such a story breaks, the news rolls upon deaf ears and hardened, calloused hearts, worn weary by decades of daily doses of demonic violence and evil emanating from our screens and from our newspapers.

Shame on us. Shame on a world that, when news of the trafficking of tiny human hearts and livers hits 1% of the mainstream news, good men and women don’t take up arms and rush to the defense of the defenseless. Don’t start a revolution.

When I was younger I used to wonder about the German people and why nobody tried to get out ahead of Hitler, how an entire nation could have fallen under his evil spell.

Now I know. Now I see, firsthand, that none of us are immune to the horrors of our day. And that as the temperature rises, the frog slowly cooks, oblivious to his own imminent peril as the mercury creeps ever upward. And that at a certain point the human mind, when confronted with such appalling and obvious wickedness, shuts down or short circuits in cowardice or fear or apathy or, or, or …

I’m still searching for my “or.” I’m still trying to figure out why I’m not physically standing in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic this morning, blocking the doorway with my enormous pregnant belly so that not one more woman, not one more child is destroyed at their hands.

Instead I’m writing this up in a coffee shop, my own unborn collection of human parts rolling around beneath my too-tight skin, kicks visible to the nearest barista even through a layer of fat and muscle and spandex.

And I don’t understand.

frogs and lambs


  • Anne

    Hi Jenny,
    I wanted to tell you that every single time I read one of your blog posts, especially about something “controversial” or unpopular, I literally say “yes!” out loud and nearly jump out of my seat in excitement and agreement. And then I frantically hit the “share” button as I fumble to type in my husband’s and mother’s email addresses and type something along the lines of “THIS. YES. READ NOW.” Thank you for saying what you do. For standing up for what’s right, and for standing up for what we, as catholics believe. I have the utmost respect and admiration for you and the way you live and share your beliefs and convictions without hesitation.

  • AthenaC

    I think part of the non-response is simply helplessness. I know that if I look TOO too closely at that I am going to lose my mind. Although, in fairness, after the person is killed it doesn’t particularly bother me what happens to the body since the person isn’t suffering anymore. The primary horror is that the person was killed; what happens to their body doesn’t really add to that primary horror to me.

    But all that being said – what could we possibly do? I’m raising my own kids to understand why we’re pro-life and what pro-life means, but against a backdrop of living in a very blue state with a mother-in-law that is unapologetic about abortions she has had.

    I know that we can increase our efforts to help women who might get sucked into getting an abortion or working at an abortion clinic or working on our legal arena to change the current state of legalized slaughter, but what else can we really do?

    I still have to get up in the morning and make breakfast and go to work and come home and make dinner while my toddler clings to me … I don’t know what else I can do to help.

      • Teresa Rice

        I messaged my local TV stations and asked why none of the major networks were covering the story. Doubt I’ll get a reply…

    • Julie

      Jenny, this was really powerful. Well said.

      And I agree with Athenac. Part of it’s helplessness, and I think another is feeling overwhelmed by the staggering number of horrors we’re presented with every day in the news and on social media.

      Personally, I’m a big mush who is inclined to suffer when I hear reports of ISIS’ atrocities, campers swept away by floods, yet another Boko Haram attack, the mechanics of abortion and the industry that advances it, the plight of refugees in Syria, unarmed black men killed by police, young families who lose a parent, etc. But it just goes on and on. So sometimes I don’t suffer. Sometimes horrible news makes it way to me and I do nothing but sigh and move on.

      I regret that, but I’m not too fearful that it reflects any deficiency in my ability to be sensitive to evil or tragedy. Sometimes I think we just experience empathy fatigue. That’s not great, obviously, but I think it’s understandable. We just need to work to get through it when it comes.

    • Brooke Reynolds

      I want to tell you that to God the death of His holy ones is precious in His sight and that he goes even so far as to keep some of His Saints bodies incorruptible after death to prove this to us. I remember hearing one of my two daughter’s voices from Purgatory one day say “we haven’t even had a funeral yet” sweetly, when I was in my thoughts about praying for them to their angels and supporting pro-life in my interactions with others who did not yet know or understand what abortion means, including me now too, still then because I did not even realize they were not in heaven with Jesus. Soon though I was planning to attend Rachel’s Vineyard to pray and heal and have a service there. It still took me almost three years to get them into heaven through prayer after I learned where they were and the sufferings they had to endure due to original sin and no baptism, but even then there was no grave. Then I remembered to look for the National Shrine of the Unborn I had seen on a mentioned on a plaque on a shelf at the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat and found the “Book of Life” memorial where I had their names inscribed forever at the Shrine of the Holy Innocents in New York City. I have visited there now twice and it serves me as their grave because it is the only place on earth they have that I can ever know of and their poor sweet bodies could be anywhere. So I know that God will always know what did happen to them and Jesus, who calls them little angels, is most sorry about anything at all that would defile the sacredness of their death as His children. I hope you will add this to your ideas about pro-life. To me it is part of a Holy death to belong solely to God and hope soon for the end of all abortion and birth controll and discracing their tiny innocent bodies and look forward to the resurrection where death will be no more and I will be with Jesus and my daughter’s Christine and Brianna again and forever and ever.

  • Ellen

    The organization’s website has suggestions of helpful actions, including signing a petition, contacting representatives, and sharing the news. I usually avoid the second step, but I know that it does help, and it’s one way to speak up politically. I’m going to use your post as motivation for me to do more this time.

  • christine

    It’s funny how things hit us. This for some reason just floored me. I didn’t sleep last night. I tear up thinking about it. I decided to go to The Daily Beast (ugh) and hope that liberal media would maybe seem things even a little bit the right way, ( they didn’t…DUH ). I have read countless articles that agree with me and it doesn’t help. I have just been sitting here all day with my beautiful babies, feeding them, cuddling them. mothering them…and thinking about the body parts of another human being..who was abandoned and thrown away by their own mothers and society…and I wonder…what my own part in it is? Why am I not screaming at the top of our lungs? We can’t even talk about it reasonably. If it isn’t a person….HOW DOES IT HAVE BODY PARTS!!!!???!!!! Like, it seems so simple to me. Anyways….rant over. Like I said…this one floored me. Like I never would have imagined it.

    • Jen mcbride

      That’s the Holy Spirit telling you to pray, get involved in protests, sign petitions, March at rally’s! Use your mouth and talk about it. These baby’s cry for someone to know what’s happened….seriously you need a Father Mitch Pacwa Spiritual Adviser. Check him out. Join your local chapter or start your own chapter of Get active and get involved! Pray!

  • Nancy

    I’ve read a number of things on this topic over the last few days, but yours is a perspective I have not yet seen, and I love it. I have needed it. I hear your “I don’t understand” loud and clear. And I will say this much: I think you are doing more than you know. You are writing. You have a wonderful gift of putting words together, and you’re using that gift to help us all become more aware. And you are raising your children to know the Truth. And right now, you are nurturing a brand new life! Oh yes, you are doing more than you know.

  • Ari

    Good one, Jenny. You’re right. And our apathy is also the only thing we can do anything about, besides praying for the victims and perpetrators. As these behaviors become more and more commonplace, our apathy is aided by the fact that what Planned Parenthood is doing is NOT against the law, which is also disturbing. We need such mercy and grace to live in this age and make it out with our lives and souls intact.

  • mamah

    Yes to all this. I just don’t know where to start. How do we help? What can we do? I feel shackled. When Boko Haram kidnapped those girls, every one held up signs yet no one did anything. I didn’t. They didn’t. Our government didn’t. Same thing…we are upset, then we accept defeat before we even resolve to fight, and we all move on…

  • Sarah

    I understand this so completely. I am an exhausted single mom with a full time job. I have this wall up because, if I let this kind of information REALLY sink in, I will fall apart. And I don’t have time for that.

  • Natalie

    I totally empathize. I think a lot of it for me — my own apathy, that is — is that I’ve realized that I have only a precious amount of emotional energy. Lately with all of the crises in the news, I feel lethargic at the thought of seeking out even more information, knowing fully that it’s going to make me cry/ruin my day/suck my emotional energy. I gotta cut myself off. Ya know?

    I won’t reveal much more about myself except that I think the recent decision involving the Little Sisters of the Poor in Denver (where we live) is actually kind of sick and even though I struggle with the contraception debate at times, I feel like the ruling is really scary on some levels.

  • Jenni

    Its as though you took the words right out of my mouth. I have often wondered about the Germans too and your analogy makes perfect sense to me. Our only difference is when I read this news yesterday, I was immediately moved the tears. I couldn’t even listen to the audio and watch her casually eat her lunch. It sickened me so. I am repulsed that we are not as concerned about this as a society.

  • Cami

    Like many other readers, I’m busy being a mommy to 3 little blessings. And part of that includes finding out about new news as it’s becoming old news. So I only read about this late today as I was nursing my sweet, little cupcake. I felt sick over it. I mean, I’m holding 11 lbs of soft, wiggly, beautiful baby and hearing how other babies are being a) unwanted, b) murdered, c) dismembered, and d) sold! AND by an organization I keep hearing from my feminist friends that is “doing so much work saving lives.” The devil has done an exquisite job blinding people and convincing them of the most unbelievable lies. I wish more people understood that businesses who are in the business of making money doing bad things are always going to market themselves as heroes… Giving to the community, meeting cancer survivors, helping with early cancer detection, wearing fancy, dress suits and makeup, smiling and schmoozing… but none of this, NONE of this is as honest as the culture of death they are really selling. They are truly and mostly in the business of preventing women from being mothers and destroying what’s most precious and vulnerable. And what CAN we do? The book How to Change Your Husband explains that teens still report they are most influenced by their parents. It strongly emphasizes that the nuclear family and home life shape a person’s views because even as they may be shown other perspectives, Truth begins in the home. It creates the lens that the world is seen through. And the mother is the most influential as typically she spends the most time with her children. It’s up to US to raise a generation of life-defending, baby-loving, Jesus-honoring, Mary-emulating, brave, Catholic soldiers who are prepared to go head-to-head with the young feminists currently and carefully being cultivated.

    • Heather

      I could not agree more, and I believe this is precisely why there’s such an attack on the family. My husband and I decided to homeschool our two boys in an effort to foster the truth in their lives in such a way that will be life lasting.

  • Ellen Kolb

    It’s been way too long since I’ve visited your blog. God bless the friend who forwarded this post to me. “Feminism, my …” ought to be put on a flag and displayed outside every PP office this week. The only way I believe I can respond, beyond prayer and hand-wringing, is to challenge PP locally. In my state, they’re up for their customary Title X contract next week. Time to make a stink.

    God bless you & yours!

    • Heather

      Ellen, I could not agree more, and I believe this is precisely why there’s such an attack on the family. My husband and I decided to homeschool our two boys in an effort to foster the truth in their lives in such a way that will be life lasting.

  • Deepa

    Babies are being killed daily at PP regardless of what is being done to their dead bodies afterwards. Other than hearing them use the words ‘crush’ , this really was not a surprise at all.
    Offer the hundreds of poor tiny souls to our Lord and Mary through daily prayers ,Rosary and Mass.

  • Holly

    Jenny, I can commiserate with your reaction to this news story. I think my response was, “oh, I don’t feel like clicking on that. Wait, did I hear this a few years/months/weeks ago? This is new? Did I just assume that they’d be so gruesome?”. Then, I was distracted by some sort of toddler crisis and pretty much forgot about it for several hours. And I never prayed about it. It disgusts me so much to realize this that I am literally feeling as though I am boiling right this minute. Jenny, thanks for this blog and for telling the truth in such an honest and relatable way. I feel inspired. You’re doing more than you know.

  • Jack

    Excellent insight thank you again for turning on a light in a dark room and offering a perspective we all need to have a look at. But, even more importantly, prayers and blessings to you and your husband on birth of your baby. There is the hope of the future, right there. God Bless.

  • Linda

    Thank you for your post and a prayer for you and your beautiful baby. I believe the devil is alive and well. However, God is more powerful as is our prayers. Let’s move mountains!

  • Jen @ Faith and Fabric

    Jenny, as always your writing is superb. I echo your comments…it’s as if we, as a culture, have become desensitized. Apathy is a scary thing – love something, hate something – but having no feeling, being desensitized especially as your article illustrates we have become, leads to a quick downward spiral. Thank you as always for sharing.

  • GW

    Jenny, I wonder if you would give equal time to a more even-handed description of the video and the events surrounding it.
    I’m pro-life, but for years I’ve been disgusted by the willingness of Catholic writers and readers to look for and assume some kind of evil purpose to Planned Parenthood and other women’s health organizations. Videos and stories like this one have regularly appeared in pro-life media, and the net result is that polls show that Americans want abortion to be legal, even while they also believe it to be morally wrong. In other words, this kind of video and “sting” operation may bring in a few donations, but the needle on the opinion polls don’t move.
    There’s a better way.

    • Jenny Uebbing

      I know there are good people trapped in the organization, and I in no way mean to dehumanize them (you know, the way they’re dehumanizing their victims) just look at Abby Johnson and the incredible work her organization “And then there were none” is accomplishing.

      That being said, no, Planned Parenthood is not a “women’s health organization” and they don’t deserve a second of “balanced” coverage of their atrocities. I’m sure HuffPo would disagree with me, as would the rest of the mainstream media. And I’m not terribly concerned about public opinion these days – seems like it’s leading us straight to hell, in fact.

  • Mary

    Great post… thank you for sharing and taking the time to put into words what so many of us are thinking.

    The biggest thing that hit me was that they refuse to let the women see the ultrasounds because then they want to keep the baby. But they use ultrasound to see what they are doing so they can keep the certain body parts.

    That made me and my husband want to give money to Pregnancy Resource Center (and places like that) that provide ultrasounds! When these women see that they are carrying life, hopefully they will choose LIFE!

  • Annery

    I felt that same reaction, “of course they are”. As I’ve thought about my reaction, I’ve felt that maybe I’m not more horrified because the original atrocity is still too big to wrapt self around. They’re killing those babies. Killing them. How could they have respect for the body after the killing? Why would you kill someone you felt had the dignity to not be sold for parts like an old unwanted car? It’s totally in-line with their reasoning. But I hope this does shock some people. People who need to make the mental leap between blob of flesh and saleable organs from the same source. Thank you for sharing this. It needs to be heard.

    On another note, walking through the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC was terrifying. Partly because of the atrocity, partly because I saw the path Hitler led people down and see it playing out here and now.

  • Gretchen Nelson

    20+ years ago, my husband and I rushed “to the defense of the defenseless” as part of the rescue movement–we sat in front of clinic doors not because they were harvesting baby organs, but because they were tearing babies limb from limb. And we wondered the same thing: why don’t people stop this? But people thought we were radicals and that we should fight this evil “through the proper channels”, and fewer people rescued and the price became ever steeper and those who were left were hammered with long sentences. Finally, we ended up serving a year in jail. Not sure what the answer is here.

  • Lauren

    For the record (I say this not in a jerk-ish way, simply sharing information), the ABC World News did mention the video and resulting investigations last night. I was actually kind of impressed considering how long it took for anything of Gosnell to be mentioned by mainstream media. I look forward to following up tonight and seeing if there are any updates to the story.

    And I echo those thoughts about the Nazis…there is a Holocaust happening in our country today, and it’s only going to get worse. People are so far removed from reality that I don’t see anything changing for the better anytime soon. 🙁

    • Jenny Uebbing

      yes! I was so glad. When I wrote this yesterday morning I had seen it nowhere except FOX. As of last night I’d seen a teeny snippet (apologetic toward PP, of course) on CNN, and my husband told me he read something yesterday afternoon on WaPo. Glad ABC mentioned it too. This undercover journalist did AMAZING work getting to legislators, governors, networks, etc. So impressed with him. I’m sure he needs our prayers.

  • Anna

    Dear Jenny,

    I have read your piece of writing with great pleasure. It is damned good piece! The conclitions on media are simply spot on.

    My only if, is the comparision to German society of 1930s under Hitler’s rule. The Nazi party and Hitler himself were chosen in democratic elections and he was supported by great majority of the nation, even at the end of the World War II. Do you really think the modern American society supports tearing babies apart? I hope not. I would rather think they do not wonder about these horrific actions because of the rubbish my feminist bla bla bla rights to choose whater it is time or not to kill a baby. I would rather think that the Americans are blind and deaf, not cruel and passive.

    What do you think?

    Your sincerally,
    Anna M. Ciołkowska

  • Kate

    The most depressing part of my day today was walking through downtown Denver and seeing several young women in Planned Parenthood shirts engaging walkers with “Will you help me support Planned Parenthood?” I was so upset and indignant, 1. Their nerve to go about asking for support after all of the news about them recently and 2. at their amazing ability to rally their troops for “media-control” under the current situation. Unfortunately, I was so upset and emotional (partly because it’s hot and I’m 17 weeks pregnant) that all I could say was, “Oh no! I completely support any efforts to DE-FUND Planned Parenthood.” In a rather snarky voice she replied, “Ok, have a nice day.” Sadly, I couldn’t help myself and I asked in a nice voice, “How can you support fetal dismemberment? Are you really ok with that?” I tried to ask in a nice voice, but I worry it came across badly. She tried to tell me about the facts of the situation and that it really isn’t like that. I asked her, “but isn’t that what abortion really is??” Her response was to “Have a nice day”.

    I was sad afterwards because I’m sure there were so many things I could have said out of love to her as a person rather than out of hatred of PP the organization. Rather than starting with such a negative tone that will probably never reach her heart, I could have introduced myself. In my mind, it would have gone something like this. “Hi, I’m Kate. Did you know I’m 17 weeks pregnant?” (Wait for a congratulations, or at least a funny stare) Then, I could have talked to her about how I can feel the BABY (not fetus) move and how wonderful that feeling is. I could tell her that I heard my baby for the first time at 6 weeks. I could tell her that my baby is a unique soul. Just like all women living now are unique souls and deserve rights, my baby is also a unique souls and deserves and chance. ” Rather than berate her about fetal dismemberment, I think I should have responded with love – show her my love for babies and for women.

    It was a sobering wakeup call for me. PP has an army of troops out there trying to persuade the public that they are working toward the betterment of women. These volunteers had clearly been taught what to say and what “facts” to provide to the public. Just like St. Paul says, we have to be ready to give anyone a reason for our hope. And most importantly (what I sadly learned the hard way today), we need to be ready to do it in charity and love.

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