Chris Smith is a U.S. congressman representing New Jersey's Fourth District -
In September, Pope Francis admonished a joint session of Congress to follow the Golden Rule, to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." He said that the Golden Rule compels us to "protect and defend human life at every stage of development" and that "it is wrong to remain silent and look the other way."
The House has voted to form a select investigative panel to learn more about the brutal practices at Planned Parenthood that were exposed in undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).
Establishing this select panel is the right thing to do. We simply can't remain silent or look the other way.
Congress needs to thoroughly investigate profoundly disturbing conduct by top-level Planned Parenthood officials. Caught on tape - and I have watched all the videos - Planned Parenthood's top leadership, not interns or lower-level employees, showed callous disregard for children's lives while gleefully calculating the financial gain derived from the sale of baby body parts.
We already know that every day Planned Parenthood dismembers or chemically poisons to death approximately 900 unborn babies. Since 1973, more than seven million children have been violently killed in Planned Parenthood clinics.
Now, because of the CMP videos, Planned Parenthood's involvement in trafficking in baby body parts has been revealed. In one clip, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Medical Services, says on camera:
"We have been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, and because we know that, I am not going to crush that part. I am going to basically crush below, I am going to crush above, and I am going to see if I can get it all intact. . . . I would say a lot of people want liver; and for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they will know where they are putting their forceps."
What Nucatola describes is a dismemberment abortion - arms, legs, torsos, decapitation - but the prized body part is preserved, pulled out intact, and then sold to brokers.
In another video, a top doctor at Planned Parenthood Federation, Mary Gatter, offers to use a "less crunchy technique" to get more intact organs and baby body parts.
"Less crunchy"? Like Nucatola, Gatter is nonchalantly talking about crunching - that is, crushing - babies to death in ways that are more likely to preserve body parts and intact organs.
The videos have again brought into sharp focus the fact that some babies actually survive abortion.
Dr. Savita Ginde, vice president and medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, confesses that "if someone delivers before we get to see them for a procedure, then they [the baby] are intact." A fetal-tissue broker describes watching how a "fetus . . . just fell out."
It just fell out. It - the baby - fell out, she says. And then what happened to that baby?
Tragically, we know what happens to these victimized babies - they are killed and some have their organs stolen.
It was just two years ago that the infamous Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murder for killing children who were born alive after attempted abortion. The grand jury report described his practices: "Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered: he killed them. He didn't call it that. He called it 'ensuring fetal demise.' The way he ensured fetal demise was by sticking scissors into the back of the baby's neck and cutting the spinal cord. He called that 'snipping.' "
Gosnell's grisly after-birth abortion practices were exposed only when he was investigated for illegal drug charges and, in the words of the grand jury, "the search team discovered fetal remains haphazardly stored throughout the clinic - in bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers. Some fetal remains were in a refrigerator, others were frozen."
We must not remain silent and look the other way. The dehumanizing practices revealed in these undercover videos must be investigated.
I suspect that if President Obama watched at least one of the videos, he would join us in demanding real answers and an immediate end to Planned Parenthood's inhumane behavior.
Or at least I hope he would.
Originally published in the Sunday Nov. 22, 2015 print edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer and online at:http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20151122_It_s_time_to_demand_answers_of_Planned_Parenthood.html#ApTdPZHsLmfFCLJe.99