The Marketing of Aborted Baby Parts
The House Commerce Committee staffers who had called us, and the only people from that group we ever had contact with, were Marc Wheat, Brent Delmonte, and Mark Paoletta. After we made our commitment to support the House hearing, we started giving them the previously unreleased information. Almost immediately, we began to sense that we had made a mistake. Although we were aware that they were obsessed with beating the Senate to hearings, we had no idea that this quest for a political victory over the Senate was going to become the guiding principle behind the hearing.
On several occasions we complained to these three that their willingness to put speed and their political agenda ahead of the pro-life cause was jeopardizing the mission. However, each time we expressed this concern they assured us that the hearing would be a good one, while at the same time making no attempt to conceal the fact that their primary objective was to be first. This remained true even after it was obvious that the Senate was not going to hold a hearing at all. These guys weren’t taking any chances.
Another problem was that there was little, if any, commitment by these people to ensure that the House members who would be conducting the hearing were informed, educated, or engaged. Despite the fact that Life Dynamics had spent almost three years investigating and researching this issue and knew more about it than anyone else in the country, our repeated offers to come to Washington – at our expense – and educate Committee members and staff were consistently rejected.
At one point, we found out that the House Commerce Committee staff was coordinating the date for a hearing with the people at 20/20. We also learned that it is not unusual for this sort of thing to happen. Granted, a reasonable argument could be made that this causes no real harm and that it may increase the public exposure for the issue in question. However, those of us at Life Dynamics were never totally comfortable with the idea that ABC Television would be the one to decide when a Congressional hearing would be held and not the United States Congress. We were certainly aware that politicians and the media routinely manipulate the public, but seeing them actually join forces made us a little uneasy. In any event, it is no coincidence that the hearing took place one day after the 20/20 broadcast.
As time went on, it became clear that – contrary to their rhetoric – the people we were dealing with did not look at this as an opportunity to stop this barbaric practice but as an opportunity to advance their political careers. Evidence of that was seen a few weeks prior to the hearing when we learned that, somewhere in the bowels of the Commerce Committee, the decision had been made that radical pro-abortion Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) was going to chair the hearing. Obviously, someone who is legitimately pro-life – assuming they are not mentally disturbed – would never consider allowing some pro-abort to lead a hearing into whether the abortion industry is trafficking in dead baby parts. But Wheat, Delmonte and Paoletta not only told us this might happen, they tried to convince us it was a good idea. That forced us to assume that they were either incredibly naive or motivated by agendas other than those being stated.
In either case, we were not taking the bait. Our attitude was that if someone was going to sabotage the hearing, they were going to do so without the help of Life Dynamics. So we informed the Commerce Committee staff that we would not provide any further data or assistance as long as the hearing was assigned to a sub-committee chaired by a pro-abort. As we had done many times in the past, we again pointed out that our only goal was to educate the American people about this barbaric practice and that we would much prefer to have no hearing than a bad one. A few days later, the hearing was reassigned to a sub-committee chaired by supposed-pro-lifer Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) and we resumed the flow of information.