The videos of Planned Parenthood officials' involvement in the harvesting of organs from recently aborted babies shows an unadorned evil, but it’s also a call to love those involved in abortion, a bishop in Tennessee has said. “Evil without its makeup — that is the reality exposed in the unfolding series of videos revealing how the unborn life of a baby, deemed worthless by Planned Parenthood while in the womb, has value only in the sale of its dissected human parts,” Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville said in an Aug. 9 column for the Knoxville News Sentinel. He connected the revelations to Pope Francis’ strong criticisms of the “throwaway” mentality that harms both the natural environment and human ecology. “A true human ecology is one that recognizes the inestimable value of life from conception to natural death, be it the life of the unborn in the womb, the poor, the sick and elderly, and even those on death row who themselves may have brutally taken another life,” the bishop continued. “This human ecology calls us to especially reach out with love, mercy and healing toward those who may be contemplating, or have chosen to have, an abortion.” Undercover investigators with the California-based Center for Medical Progress have released several videos showing Planned Parenthood officials casually discussing prices for various body parts, and how abortion procedures may be altered to ensure intact organs from aborted babies. The videos, which the bishop challenged everyone to watch, have prompted strong scrutiny of the politically powerful organization, which is the largest abortion provider in the U.S. Bishop Stika said the investigation “shined a light into the areas of darkness.” He said the videos exposed a “troubling indifference” and the “suppression of truth” about the most vulnerable, saying the current indifference is similar to the situation “decades ago” when “people on another continent shocked the world, saying, 'we did not know,' regarding the atrocities they chose to ignore.” He suggested that Americans with environmental concerns make sure they include a concern for humanity. “Care for the environment and of all God's good creation is important, but have we forgotten a far greater ecology that calls for our attention?” he asked. He cited Pope Francis’ question in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si'. There, the Pope asked how one can teach the importance of caring for other beings “if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties.” He encouraged anyone involved in a past abortion to contact Project Rachel, and anyone who needs help with pregnancy in East Tennessee to contact the local Catholic Charities affiliate. He suggested the approximately $500 million of federal taxpayer funding that goes to Planned Parenthood could be directed to pregnancy centers that offer “loving and compassionate options” that affirm “the sanctity and the dignity of both mother and child.”
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