20/20 & The Congressional Hearing
In response to information released by Life Dynamics, on March 8, 2000, the ABC News program 20/20 aired a segment about the marketing of body parts from babies killed during abortions. On the following day there was a Congressional hearing on the same issue.
The 20/20 broadcast was a classic Good News / Bad News situation. On one hand, millions of Americans learned that there are people in this world who traffic in the dead bodies of children killed by abortion. On the other hand, because 20/20 was intentionally deceptive in several aspects of this story, the viewer was given a distorted picture.
For example, the 20/20 narrator consistently portrayed the people involved in the trafficking of baby parts as “businessmen” who had “slipped in” to the abortion industry. The subtle message was that these people were outsiders despite the fact that Life Dynamics had provided them with documentation proving that every one of them had links to Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, or both. It was clear that 20/20 wanted the viewer to perceive that this was not something being done by the abortion industry but by profit-driven infiltrators. The incredible part is that, by the time this report was over, viewers could have easily concluded that the abortion industry was a victim of the baby parts scandal instead of its perpetrator.
Another problem with the 20/20 piece was its fixation with the financial details of the baby parts business. The underlying message seemed to be that chopping up the unborn and selling their parts is not a moral issue until someone makes money off it. It was like suggesting that the problem with the Nazi Holocaust was the environmental impact created by the smoke from the ovens.
Also, whenever the issue of baby parts was being discussed, the image on the screen was of a petri dish containing tiny slivers of unidentifiable white tissue. For all the viewer knew, the parts they were seeing on the screen could have been slices of fish.
After the show, I complained about this to the ABC producer, Kim Skeen. Following some heated discussion, she reluctantly agreed that these visuals did not give an accurate account of what was actually going on. She then said that the network had made a conscious decision that it was not going to broadcast footage of dismembered babies or baggies full of tiny human body parts. I pointed out that neither ABC nor anyone else in the media applies this standard of sensitivity to other issues. The public is constantly bombarded with graphic and disturbing images related to other atrocities, and the most you’ll ever hear is a warning to send small children out of the room. Skeen never responded to this charge except to repeat that ABC was not about to show dead babies or their dismembered bodies on national television. Her attitude was that if this approach created a distorted view of reality, so be it.
Another indefensible part of the 20/20 report was the kid-glove treatment accorded Planned Parenthood president, Gloria Feldt, when she was interviewed on the broadcast. Having recognized the potential public relations nightmare this issue presents, Feldt piously feigned outrage about the baby parts trade and even included an obligatory call for anyone who violates the laws that govern such things to be prosecuted. The problem is, the baby parts trafficking documentation we provided to 20/20 came from a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. However, that fact was never even brought up during the Feldt interview.
When I asked Skeen why Feldt was not confronted with this, she said that Feldt was indeed asked about it but that her superiors at ABC had decided not to air the response. She said they did this to keep the show from looking like a “hit piece” on Planned Parenthood. I then asked her if ABC always shows this sort of sensitivity toward the targets of their investigative reports. For example, if they were exposing a scandal in the auto industry, would they pull punches and intentionally exclude the tough questions in order to keep the show from looking like a “hit piece” on General Motors.
Of course, she would not respond to that but it didn’t really matter. We both knew the answer. This was hardly the first or last time the media has ridden shotgun for Planned Parenthood. You can also be assured that Feldt knew that this is how the game is played long before she ever agreed to the interview. Even a casual observer of the American media recognizes that it reserves its “Gotcha!” journalism for those it does not like, but for its sacred cows it’s “Hear No Evil / See No Evil / Speak No Evil.” And make no mistake; within the American media there are no cows more sacred than Planned Parenthood. That is why Feldt was able to be so totally at ease while lying through her teeth on national television. She was not going to be challenged and she knew it.
The Congressional Hearing:
The Congressional Hearing began the morning after the 20/20 piece aired. In the weeks leading up to the hearing, those of us at Life Dynamics clearly saw that we were headed for a train wreck. In fact, about fifteen minutes before the hearing began, I gave an interview to Greta Kreuz – a reporter for the DC area affiliate of ABC Television – in which I emphatically made that very point.
This debacle was caused by several flawed decisions made by me. First, I went into this process with a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of Congressional hearings. I naively assumed that they are about uncovering truth when, in reality, they are about political gamesmanship, media hype and career advancement. My failure to recognize this early in the process caused me to trust the wrong people.
Immediately after we first began publicly releasing information about the baby parts trade, Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire contacted us.
He was outraged at what we had uncovered and said that he wanted to hold a hearing in the Senate. We informed him that we had a large amount of additional information that we had not made public and would turn it over to him if the hearing became a reality. During our many conversations with Senator Smith, the sticking point was that Senate protocol makes it difficult to issue subpoenas. We all agreed that this was a major stumbling block given that the main players in this scandal were not about to testify without being forced to.
About this same time, we started getting calls from staffers representing the Republican members of the House Commerce Committee. They also wanted to hold a hearing and asked if we would release the additional information to them. They were aware of the Senate rules that made it hard to get subpoenas and they used that as leverage to convince us to work with them rather than Senator Smith. On several occasions, they emphatically assured us that getting multiple subpoenas would be no problem. They also informed us that a hearing could get scheduled much faster in the House than in the Senate.
However, they also made it clear that they were only interested in a hearing under two conditions. First, we had to give them the additional data before giving it to Smith so the House could beat the Senate to the hearings. They told us point blank that if the Senate held a hearing first, some Senator would end up with all the “face time” in the media and the House would have no interest in a hearing after that. Second, they informed us that they were aware that 20/20 was conducting an investigation and they wanted us to understand that they were not going to hold the hearing if 20/20 backed out. The consistent theme was that the motivating force for members of the House is what they call “face time” in the national media.
Meanwhile, 20/20 was telling us that they didn’t care whether a hearing happened in the Senate or in the House, but unless a hearing was held in one or the other they would probably drop the baby parts story altogether. That put us in the bizarre position of having to make sure the 20/20 piece happened in order to keep Congress interested, while having to make sure that a hearing was held in order to keep 20/20 on board.
About this time, it was becoming increasingly obvious that, at best, Senator Smith would only be able to get one subpoena. We were also being told by sources outside his office that another major obstacle was that the committee that would be assigned the hearing was chaired by Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah. It was made clear to us that, if Hatch chose to do so, he could make the Senate hearing happen and “grease the skids” for the necessary subpoenas. Instead, when Smith’s staff began trying to pull the hearing together they encountered unexpected resistance from Hatch.
We were initially surprised at Hatch’s reluctance to get on board. For many legitimate reasons, his claim to be pro-life is rarely taken seriously and this hearing would have been a perfect low-risk opportunity for him to shore up his standing within the pro-life community. Of course, our surprise evaporated the moment we discovered that some of Hatch’s largest campaign contributions come from the same pharmaceutical companies we were exposing as the main buyers of dead baby parts. In other words, for a successful hearing to be held in the Senate, the pharmaceutical lobby’s handpicked boy would have to be willing to sell them down the river.
That sobering reality left us with a hard decision to make.
We felt a profound sense of loyalty toward Senator Smith, but our primary responsibility was to get this story in front of the American people. We also knew that, to make the hearing effective, we would need at least four subpoenas and Senator Smith was telling us there was a real possibility that he would not be able to get any. Given that, and in light of the Orrin Hatch situation, a hearing in the Senate was starting to look improbable.
At one point we seriously considered abandoning the whole idea of a Congressional hearing. We were never convinced that even a successful hearing would have much effect and we would have been perfectly happy to just take our case directly to the American people. But that was no longer an option since 20/20 was now telling us that without the hearing they would drop the story. We had also discovered that no other national media outlet would take the story because we had already released our undercover material to 20/20. They were not going to spend the time and money necessary to produce a program on this subject as long as there was a risk that they might be scooped by 20/20. In other words, if we lost 20/20 we would lose the national exposure this issue needed.
Given all of these realities, I reluctantly made a decision to go with the House.
When we informed Senator Smith of this, he was graciously disappointed but he understood that subpoenas were the key to success. Then, in a demonstration of complete unselfishness, through his staff he continued to give us advice on how to make the House hearing a success. Regrettably, we were about to learn the hard way that we had walked away from a good honest man who truly cared about this issue, to join a collection of bungling political opportunists. We would soon discover that because we traded commitment with no subpoenas for subpoenas with no commitment, we would end up with neither.
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.
As the process continued, our next concern was in the way Wheat, Delmonte and Paoletta were processing the information we gave them. We had provided them with orders for baby parts, price lists for baby parts, brochures and advertising materials for baby parts, internal abortion industry financial records documenting the sale of baby parts, abortion clinic protocols for the harvesting of baby parts, tissue logs, parts inventory lists, shipping documentation and much more. Then we spent hours on the phone going over each of these documents with them to make certain they understood their
significance. Our frustration was that they always seemed to be largely disinterested in this “meat and potatoes” stuff.
Their only real interest was in Dean Alberty – the abortion industry employee who had put us onto the baby parts trail in the first place.
Alberty had worked as a retrieval agent for both the Anatomic Gift Foundation and Opening Lines. He eventually became sickened by what he was doing and decided to get out. The final straw came when he was brought a stainless steel bucket containing twins who had survived their abortion and were still moving around. When he told the abortionist that he would not harvest parts from them because they were still alive, the abortionist filled the container with water. Once they had drowned them, Alberty then retrieved the parts. Prior to this episode, Alberty claims that the only time he dissected living children was when he believed they were dead and only learned otherwise after he had cut them open and witnessed the heart beating.
Immediately after the twins incident, circumstances put Alberty into contact with Life Dynamics. For the next 31 months, he worked undercover for us gathering the documentation we needed to prove that the abortion industry was trafficking in the bodies and body parts of the babies they kill.
From the day we began working with him, there was never a question in our minds about his knowledge of the inner workings of the baby parts business. In fact, he once told us that he was actually instrumental in the formation of Opening Lines and we eventually determined that he was telling the truth. However, during our time with him it became clear to us that he was, quite understandably, a deeply wounded and traumatized individual. For that, and a variety of other reasons, we knew that using him as the centerpiece of the hearing instead of the hard data we had accumulated was a formula for disaster.
Another problem we anticipated had to do with the nature of people who become spies. During our years of infiltrating the abortion industry, we have dealt with many of them and continue to do so today. One thing we have learned through this experience is that spies are unpredictable and unreliable. Moreover, they lie to the people for whom they are spying. That is why we never trust anything they tell us until and unless we are able to get independent documentation.
As for Alberty, from the first day we began talking to him there were several instances in which he told us things that we either knew at the time were not true or discovered to be untrue later on. This was something which, on more than one occasion, we informed the producer for 20/20 and the House Commerce Committee staffers. In fact, we repeatedly warned Wheat, Delmonte and Paoletta that the hearing would blow up in their faces if they allowed it to revolve around Alberty and what he might do or say.
More importantly, there was no practical reason to make Alberty the focal point of the hearing. Long before this hearing was even contemplated, we could back up every claim we were making with solid unimpeachable documentation. Since we didn’t need Alberty to make the case, using him was simply a risk not worth taking. That is why, on numerous occasions, we strongly advised Wheat, Delmonte and Paoletta to relate to Alberty in the same way we always had. Over the years, we have learned to look upon spies and infiltrators like bird-dogs. They tell us what we’re looking for and where to dig, but we never assume that what they are saying is valid until we uncover the necessary documentation, corroboration or verification.
In the case of Alberty, we never went public with any of the things he told us until after we acquired a substantial body of documentation to back them up. In fact, he told us some things regarding this issue that we are fully confident are true, but we have never made them public because we couldn’t get independent validation.
Unfortunately, all of our warnings about Alberty fell on deaf ears. Wheat, Delmonte and Paoletta steadfastly dismissed the possibility that we might know more about him than they did, despite the fact that they had never met him and we had been working with him for almost three years. Their attitude was that Alberty was going to be the star of the hearing and there was nothing to discuss. It seems that in the grimy world of Washington politics, the opportunity to grandstand in front of a packed hearing room with a real, live, flesh and blood spy is just too seductive to resist.
An Organized Cover-Up Begins
As the date for the hearing approached, we learned that three Republicans, Bilirakis, Upton, and Jim Greenwood (R-PA) had joined with Committee Democrats in calling for a closed hearing. When it started to leak out that the hearing may be held in secret, the Democrats began to fear that this could backfire and create a public relations problem. At that point, they quietly dropped the plan. However, just the fact they seriously contemplated barring both the media and the public from the hearing suggested to us that an organized cover-up was underway. We later saw that this was also a preview of just how nasty and underhanded the Committee’s pro-aborts – both Republicans and Democrats – were prepared to be in order to protect the abortion industry.
This was further confirmed when an even more sinister plot surfaced in the days immediately preceding the hearing. Alberty, and another witness who had agreed to testify, called us and said that they had received threatening phone calls from lawyers associated with the Commerce Committee’s Democrats. In one call, Alberty said he was even told that if he showed up for the hearing he would be arrested for murder!
When we informed the Committee’s Republican staff about this development they agreed to look into it. Later, we received a call back saying that an attorney for the Committee had contacted the Democrat attorney whose name Alberty had given us. They said that this attorney openly admitted that she had indeed made the calls. Even more shocking was that, even though she was warned that these actions might constitute illegal witness tampering and obstruction of justice, the calls continued. In fact, the last one was made the day before the hearing began.
We were told that the Republican members of the Committee were outraged and considered this an extremely serious matter that could result in arrest warrants and criminal charges for those responsible. We were also told that these Committee members had vowed that this incident would be the first order of business to be addressed at the hearing.
Regarding the subpoena issue, we were asked by Wheat, Delmonte and Paoletta to supply the names of people we thought should be called as witnesses. A few days later, we provided a list of about 10 or 12 people. After that, however, we began to notice that these guys started tap-dancing anytime we asked questions about the status of the subpoenas. At one point, they even tried to downplay the subpoena issue by telling us that it wasn’t necessary to subpoena some of the names on our list because these people had agreed to come in voluntarily. As an example, they said they had talked to Jim and Brenda Bardsley who ran the Anatomic Gift Foundation – one of the most prolific baby parts dealers in America – and the Bardsleys had promised to voluntarily appear on their own.
So now, we were being asked to believe that the Bardsleys were going to just stroll into a hearing in front of the United States Congress and – with no legal requirement that they do so – start detailing their role in the baby-killing / grave-robbing business.
Obviously, we were not stupid enough to buy that nonsense, nor were we stupid enough to think that Wheat, Delmonte and Paoletta were buying it either. This was nothing more than some half-baked plan they dreamed up to divert attention away from the “subpoenas-are-no-problem” sales pitch they used to trick us into choosing them over the Senate. In fact, we always felt it was highly unlikely that these guys ever talked to either the Bardsleys or any of the other witnesses they said would voluntarily appear.
Of course, we will never know for certain whether that’s true or not, but what we do know is that, in the end, the House only issued one subpoena. It was served by federal marshals on Dr. Miles Jones – Alberty’s former employer, one of the main players in the securing and marketing of baby parts, and the primary target of the 20/20 program.
All of these facts, combined with the failure of Wheat, Delmonte and Paoletta to even marginally prepare the pro-life members of the Committee, convinced us that the hearing was destined to be a nightmare and that, at the end of the day, Alberty was going to end up slowly twisting in the wind with a rope around his neck. And that is precisely what happened.
To begin with, the assurances we were given that the first order of business at the hearing was going to be about the possibility of illegal witness tampering and obstruction of justice by the Democrats was a lie. It didn’t happen. For whatever reason, this was not the first issue addressed, or the second one, or even the third one. In fact, it was never brought up.
As for Miles Jones – the only person subpoenaed to appear at the hearing – he chose not to show up. However, the House apparently decided to just let it slide since no warrant or other legal action was ever taken against him for defying the subpoena. Of course, this meant that the only subpoena issued by the House was meaningless. Beyond that – and to no one’s surprise – Jones wasn’t the only no-show. Neither the Bardsleys nor any of the other “voluntary” witnesses from the baby parts industry made an appearance.
Given these realities, the Democrats knew they could dominate the hearing and by the time it began they were practically foaming at the mouth.
Their strategy was immediately obvious. Having recognized that the trafficking of baby parts by their buddies in the abortion industry could be neither denied nor defended, their only option was to head off any discussion of it. In order to create such a diversion, this pack of moral hyenas unleashed a personal attack on Alberty that was nasty, deceptive and well orchestrated. Throughout the afternoon and into the night, Alberty was badgered, bullied and beaten without mercy. The inquisition conducted by rabid pro-aborts Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) was nothing less than hysterical ranting. We also saw that our instincts about Fred Upton – the pro-abort Republican who Wheat, Delmonte and Paoletta wanted to chair the hearing – were correct. When the Democrats began to savage Alberty, Upton immediately joined the feeding frenzy along with fellow pro-abortion Republican, Jim Greenwood.
Eventually, Alberty admitted that he had told Life Dynamics some things that were not true. That was no surprise to us since we had caught him in several lies over the years – a fact which we had repeated to Wheat, Delmonte and Paoletta on several occasions. Of course, Alberty’s admissions dovetailed perfectly with the strategy designed by the Committee pro-aborts. They were going to see to it that this hearing was not about the trafficking of dead baby parts but about the sins of Dean Alberty – regardless of how insignificant and/or irrelevant they might be. Playing into this strategy was the fact that Wheat, Delmonte and Paoletta had completely ignored our warnings about Alberty. That left the Committee’s pro-life members completely unprepared to deal with these issues.
A perfect example of this was when Alberty admitted that he had never actually seen money change hands for the purchase of baby parts.
He was then asked why he told Life Dynamics that he had seen this when, in fact, he hadn’t. There was an audible gasp in the room when he said that he was simply telling us what he thought we wanted to hear. Naturally, the Committee pro-aborts knew they had struck oil and they immediately went into their phony “shocked and outraged” mode. Needless to say, they quickly recovered and started hammering away on Alberty even more viciously.
The reality about this particular issue is that Alberty never told us he had seen money change hands and we never told anyone that Alberty claimed to have seen money change hands. In fact, at no time was this issue ever raised since there is no reason to expect that Alberty would have been a witness to these payments. He was simply a technician employed by a “wholesaler” to retrieve parts from inside the clinic. The wholesaler paid the clinic owner a “site fee” for giving him a space to work and access to the dead babies. The wholesaler then sold the parts to the end user. In short, all financial transactions took place between the wholesaler, the clinic and the end users.
There was no reason for Alberty to be involved and, consequently, he wasn’t involved. He was simply an employee who received a paycheck. In effect, Alberty was no different than a man who works on a General Motors assembly line. This employee doesn’t personally witness GM paying its suppliers for steel and he doesn’t personally witness GM receiving payment for the cars it sells to dealers. Nonetheless, he is certainly aware that this is how the system works. If such an employee described this arrangement to others, no one would suggest that he was lying simply because he had never actually seen any money change hands.
Of course, the most important consideration regarding this subject is that it is completely irrelevant whether Alberty witnessed or did not witness the payments. We provided independent and irrefutable documentation that they were made. For a significant part of the time we spent in our investigation, we had infiltrators other than Alberty giving us information and one of those operatives provided financial records for the same clinic where Alberty worked. Those records give detailed accounts of payments made between Alberty’s employer and the clinic. In addition, the price lists provided by the wholesaler to the end users, combined with the orders received from the buyers and the tissue logs of parts shipped, clearly document the money trail. We also had undercover- recorded conversations with wholesalers in which they described the financial arrangements in unambiguous detail. All of this material was turned over to Wheat, Delmonte and Paoletta.
The point is, if the pro-aborts on the Committee had been interested in finding out whether the parts of dead babies were being sold for profit, they could have easily done so without asking Alberty one single question. However, getting to the truth was not their goal. Their goal was to get to Alberty and when he used the line about telling us what he thought we wanted to hear, they knew they could use it as a way to keep from talking about the trafficking in baby parts. And this is just one of many examples of how the Committee’s pro-abortion Democrats used diversion and deception to manipulate the hearing.
Meanwhile, pro-life Republicans Tom Coburn (R-OK), Barbara Cubin (R-WY), Charles Norwood (R-GA), Nathan Deal (R-GA) and Ed Bryant (R-TN) did the best they could, but they were simply outgunned. Throughout the day, they were repeatedly blindsided by issues that we had told Wheat, Delmonte and Paoletta were coming.
The most frustrating aspect of all this was that we had spent almost three years investigating this issue, had gathered a substantial body of documentation, knew more about the baby parts trade than anyone else in the country, and were sitting in the second row. Yet, even after it was clear that the hearing was spiraling toward the ground, and despite the fact that these shell-shocked Commerce Committee staffers were frozen in place with no clue about what to do next, we were never asked for our input or advise. We had to quietly sit there knowing that every distortion, every innuendo and every lie the pro-aborts were using to sabotage the hearing could have been easily defeated and turned into a positive. In the final analysis, a Congressional hearing created to investigate the marketing of baby parts lasted all day and into the night without spending one single moment in legitimate discussion about the marketing of baby parts.
This sorry episode serves as irrefutable proof of two things.
First, the pro-life movement must not only be vigilant against the enemy who would stab us in the chest, but also against the ally who would stab us in the back. And second, in the world of those who defend legal abortion, the supply of truth will always exceed the demand for it.
Today, we are routinely asked whether aborted baby parts are still being bought and sold. When we respond that they are, we are inevitably asked why the federal laws that prohibit it are not being enforced. The short answer is that there is no political will to enforce these laws.
In a roundabout way, that was the theme of a meeting we had in DC with two pro-life political operatives who had direct ties to the Republican leadership in Congress. Well before the hearing had even been scheduled, we had furnished them copies of the baby parts orders as well as a body of other materials which, at that time, we had not made public. During that meeting, they told us that they had looked at our materials and concluded that our biggest obstacle in trying to stop the trafficking of baby parts was the fact that the Democrats were in bed with the sellers and the Republicans were in bed with the buyers. Regrettably, that turned out to be the most significant insight we ever received as to why nothing will ever be done about this issue.
We had always expected that the Democrats on the committee would be a problem. After all, like the national leadership of their party, these people are nothing more than amoral toadies for the abortion lobby and that was clearly evident at the hearing. What we had not factored in was that Republicans in Congress routinely get enormous financial contributions from the pharmaceutical corporations and biotech companies that buy the baby parts. And while this is not what doomed the hearing, what it did do is make certain the baby parts inquiry went no further. By the time the hearing was over, the Republicans who take contributions from these pharmaceutical and biotech companies had come to see that, for them, the baby parts issue is a sleeping dog that is better left unkicked. That’s where the issue stands today and that’s where it will remain.
Having said all this, it would be unfair and inaccurate for me to imply that every member of Congress we encountered during this process was a spineless political hack. As I indicated earlier, during our association with Senator Smith there was never a moment when he put personal ambition or party loyalty ahead of principle. In addition, at the hearing it was clear that Commerce Committee Representatives Tom Coburn, Barbara Cubin, Charles Norwood, Nathan Deal and Ed Bryant were more than willing to fight. Unfortunately, they had been emasculated by the arrogance and incompetence of the Committee’s staff. I should also add that we received unwavering support from Congressmen Tom Tancredo of Colorado and Chris Smith of New Jersey, neither of whom were members of this particular committee.
Looking back on it now, I wish I had let the pro-life members of the Committee know what was going on with their staffers during the run-up to the hearing. I remain convinced that had they been made aware of how poorly they were being served by these people, the changes necessary to produce a different outcome would have been made.
The frightening thing is, people who are knowledgeable about the day-to-day workings of our nation’s capital have assured me that the political gamesmanship and abysmal dishonesty demonstrated in the baby parts hearing is standard operating procedure. It seems that the only goal of a Congressional hearing is to score political points and the credit for any truth that oozes out is owed to the law of unintended consequences.
Whenever I think about the phony hearing into the trafficking of aborted baby parts, I recall an observation made by William F. Buckley many years ago. He said that the country could not be run any worse by the first 535 people in his city’s phone book than it is by the 535 members of Congress. I have now seen for myself the genius of that statement.