LCMS pro-life leaders host media

By Roger Drinnon

ST. LOUIS — In the wake of the now-viral video purportedly showing a top-level Planned Parenthood staff member discussing the harvesting of organs from aborted babies, Synod pro-life leaders held a press conference July 16 at the LCMS International Center here.    

Carol Tobias, National Right to Life Committee president and an LCMS Sanctity of Life Committee member, speaks to media during a press conference July 16 at the LCMS International Center. Behind her, from left, are the Rev. Dr. Kevin Voss, Concordia Bioethics Institute director; the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Lange, pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church, Evanston, Wyo.; the Rev. Dr. James Lamb, Lutherans For Life executive director; the Rev. Christopher Esget, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Alexandria, Va.; and Tracy Quaethem, project coordinator for LCMS Life Ministry. (LCMS/Erik M. Lunsford)

Carol Tobias, National Right to Life Committee president and an LCMS Sanctity of Life Committee member, speaks to media during a press conference July 16 at the LCMS International Center. Behind her, from left, are the Rev. Dr. Kevin Voss, Concordia Bioethics Institute director; the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Lange, pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church, Evanston, Wyo.; the Rev. Dr. James Lamb, Lutherans For Life executive director; the Rev. Christopher Esget, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Alexandria, Va.; and Tracy Quaethem, project coordinator for LCMS Life Ministry. (LCMS/Erik M. Lunsford)

National Right to Life Committee President Carol Tobias, Lutherans For Life Executive Director Rev. Dr. James Lamb and other members of the LCMS Sanctity of Life Committee fielded questions from St. Louis media on the tragic implications of the video, while emphasizing the importance of protecting precious human life.

“It was stomach-churning for anyone who thinks it is wrong to kill unborn children to hear a top doctor for the national Planned Parenthood organization admit … Planned Parenthood abortionists can and will alter late-abortion procedures to facilitate the harvesting of intact baby body parts,” said Tobias, as she spoke to media about the implications of the video.

Video footage of the press conference is available here. Or, listen to audio of the entire press conference, courtesy of KFUO Radio.

Not long after the video of the Planned Parenthood official surfaced, the Rev. Bart Day, executive director of the LCMS Office of National Mission, issued a statement on behalf of the LCMS, denouncing the comments made by that Planned Parenthood staff member.

In response to public outrage, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, issued a statement July 16 on the organization’s website, apologizing for her staff member’s lack of “compassion” in the video. Yet, Richards denies allegations of the sale of the harvested parts of aborted babies mentioned in the video. The organization euphemistically refers to the parts taken from aborted babies as “donated tissue.”  

At question now is whether or not women are given thorough information on what will happen to tissue and organs taken from their aborted babies, prior to giving consent. Also at question is whether or not abortion practices are being deliberately modified to preserve certain organs or tissue for use in corporate medical research.

“We are concerned with the shocking horror of abortion and of regarding human beings as less than human,” the Rev. Christopher Esget, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Va., and Sanctity of Life Committee member, said in the press conference. “This is simply another instance of a broader cultural problem where we [as a society] do not value human beings.”

“We have the most powerful message in the world,” added Lamb. “And I pray that our churches will use this as an opportunity … to make dealing with these issues a part of their ongoing Gospel ministry.”

In a separate interview with KMOX Radio, St. Louis, Lamb said Lutherans can help by doing more for maternity homes and similar organizations supporting pregnant women and also by reaching out to women who might be suffering emotional pain after having an abortion.

A growing number of lawmakers are calling for an investigation of Planned Parenthood, based on the implications of the video, which resulted from investigative work done by the Center for Medical Progress, a pro-life organization.

Click here for a photo gallery from the LCMS press conference.

For more information on LCMS Life Ministry, go to lcms.org/life.

Readers also may access these resources:

Roger Drinnon (roger.drinnon@lcms.org) is manager of Editorial Services for LCMS Communications.

Posted July 17, 2015 / Updated July 30, 2015

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11 Responses to LCMS pro-life leaders host media

  1. Janet Socha Kasper July 18, 2015 at 9:52 am #

    Thank you for such a staunch support for babies, and for helping expose the true goals of Planned Parenthood! Kaspers

  2. Rev. Tom Wenndt July 18, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

    I really wonder who actually attended this press conference from what is often called the “main-stream” media. The fact that KMOX radio even allowed for a separate interview with Dr. Lamb (and hence, I believe we can assume also had a representative at that press conference) is a good sign. But nationwide, the reaction of the press has been little less galling than this video itself was.

    It is amazing that people who, at their supposed root, are trained to be investigative in nature, have become either THE most incurious people of all time on this video, or are even reduced to repeating the weak, ridiculous and disproven defenses offered by PP and like minions on this issue.

    As “Dances with Wolves” said at the end of the movie, “I must go and try to talk to those that will listen,” so also must we. And while we may have to do this again and again and again, to get even a few to listen, it is a cultural battle we must not surrender to.

  3. Bernie Schaeffer July 18, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    Abortions are on the decline in this country. No one knows exactly why. One thought is that abortions have become less accessible. Another is that sex education– including useful information on how to prevent pregnancies–is reaching more people. Regardless, reducing abortions further is a goal that should find common ground among both pro-life and pro-choice groups. After all, who wants more abortions? Clearly, neither side does. Ironically, an excellent case can be made that Planned Parenthood is the organization in this country doing more than any other to reduce abortions through their excellent education, counseling, and health services. A miniscule amount of time is devoted to providing abortion services. I recall around three percent. Meanwhile, in Colorado, the state’s services to educate young women on the use of long-term contraceptive devices has had astonishing results in reducing abortions. Yet some right wing politicians (and I assume this includes a good representation of conservative evangelical Christians) are doing all they can to sabotage the program. If you wonder what this might mean, just look to the South, including the Bible Belt, where sex education is frowned upon and where there are the highest unwed pregnancy rates in the entire nation. As for the right wing manufactured Planned Parenthood smear campaign, the end result could be a loss of funding for the organization and, as a result, a rise in abortions nationwide. What hypocrisy! What stupidity!

    • Matthew July 19, 2015 at 7:20 pm #

      Bernie,

      I’m afraid you misunderstand Planned Parenthood.

      The sole purpose of that organization is abortion, and everything else they do is designed to cover that up, or make them available for additional federal funding. Make no mistake, they are a multi-billion dollar abortion factory, responsible for half of the children killed by abortion each year. The “education” they provide is about how accessible abortion is through them. The counselling they provide is recommending abortion. The statistic they like to claim that only 3% of what they do is abortions is a deliberate manipulation. For every abortion, they count numerous other incidental pre-abortion procedures and processes as “non abortion services.” It’s designed to cover the fact that the primary revenue generator, and profit generator, is abortion.

      Now we know they are also selling the remains of the children they kill. That’s the organization you are defending. Think about that.

      But I think your real agenda here is either that you hate religion or anything that might tell you that rampant sexual promiscuity is a scourge on our culture. You think that is freedom, but it has brought little more than poverty, disease, and 50 million dead children to America.

      I hope you can see past selfishness and worship of lust. I hope you can see that human life is valuable, even if it doesn’t have every advantage. I hope you can open your eyes to the monstrosity that is Planned Parenthood.

  4. Bernie Schaeffer July 19, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

    The article above addresses harvesting organs from aborted babies to advance medical research, which I assume is intended to eventually improve medical practices and care of patients–in other words to extend human lives. The question is raised whether women having abortions have been well advised and given their permission for the organ donation to occur. I agree that is a very important issue. While the LCMS has no specific position regarding the practices being carried out by Planned Parenthood, the Church does take a stand regarding organ donation, which can be read elsewhere on this website, a section of which I have quoted below. Regardless of the belief that abortion is contrary to God’s Word, once the procedure has occurred, one could argue that the Synod’s position on organ donation does apply and as long as the mother has given permission, it should be of no concern to the Church. At any any rate, what I am suggesting would make an interesting discussion. Moral issues these days are never as clear and simple as we want them to be.

    “The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod encourages organ donation as an act of Christian love, but this choice is entirely up to the individual and/or his or her family, and should not be a cause of guilt or regret no matter what decision is made. The Bible has nothing specific to say regarding this issue. Therefore, it is a matter of Christian freedom and personal (or family) discretion.”

    • Ethan July 20, 2015 at 8:58 am #

      The situation shown in the video is not about organ donation, is about killing a human being, without his/her consent, to use his/her organs. Whether those organs are intended for a so called “good purpose” is irrelevant to the unethical nature of the practice.

      Art Caplan, a bioethicist who was quoted in several articles, said it best. It would be akin to accelerate the death of terminal patients (or kill those same patients) in a way that makes their organs available for a “good purpose” and do it without the consent of the terminal patient.

      At the end of the day, the video shows the injustice of abortion. Those organs are valuable because they belong a human being who is alive (the fetus). Yet, the pro abortion crowd insist that the fetus is not a human life worth of protection. Which way is it? The pro abortion crowd cannot have it both ways. If the fetus organs are valuable because they come from a human being, that human being deserves as much protection as terminal patients.

      The pro choice movement is both morally and intellectually bankrupt. This video is just the last reminder of how bankrupt it is.

  5. Bernie Schaeffer July 20, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

    Why is it that on this website I can find no mention of birth control, yet the most successful programs in this country and around the world to prevent abortions are effective because education regarding the use of contraceptives is one of the main components? Does the LCMS have an official position on birth control or not? Without a positive view of birth control the LCMS is at a clear disadvantage in aiding the cause of reducing abortions in this country. It makes one wonder then if they are really serious. And, don’t tell me that LCMS Lutherans in practice do not use a variety of forms of birth control.

    On the other hand, If the LCMS is against the use of contraceptives for various reasons, including the idea that it promotes sexual acting out that birth control in of itself is a form of abortion,why don’t they say so and take an official position against it? Otherwise, it seems to me that local congregations–who view sex education as vital to reducing abortions– should be free to go ahead and support in good conscience those programs and services in their local communities that have proven successful in reducing unwanted pregnancies.

    Someone, please try to straighten me out on this matter!

  6. Lisa Clark July 20, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    No amount of explanation or apology from Planned Parenthood can justify their actions. They sugar-coat their evil by saying they are providing “healthcare”; but they reduce the unborn into simple commodities to be bought and sold like livestock. Their founder, Margaret Sanger, was a racist who believed in eugenics; describing Black people and immigrants as “human weeds”. Organ donation through a living will, or as a result of a tragic accident are one thing; but the selling of infant organs purely for profit is morally reprehensible.

    • Bernie Schaeffer July 21, 2015 at 8:27 am #

      There are less developed countries around the world where reducing maternal deaths due to unsafe abortions is high priority. It is a very serious problem.Is that what we want in this country? God has blessed us in America through organizations like Planned Parenthood that offer safe abortions and prevent maternal deaths.

      The Bible says nothing pro or con regarding abortions but those of us who revere the sanctity of life are committed to doing everything possible to reduce abortions in our nation. Good information regarding contraception and sex education are proven ways to address the challenge. What is the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church doing to address the issue besides spreading right wing propaganda? I have not heard. And no, Planned Parenthood does not sell infant organs for profit. Get the story straight. This is the LCMS website–not Fox News!

      • Ethan July 21, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

        Actually it does,

        Genesis 9:6,

        “Whoever sheds the blood of man,
        by man shall his blood be shed,
        for God made man in his own image.”

        Psalm 139:13,

        “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.”

        Orthodox Judaism, that Christianity extends, considered abortion to be a violation of the commandment “thou shalt not kill”.

        As with Christianity people have sought to rewrite the Bible with the infamous historical-critical method, but one cannot honestly read about the history of the early church and conclude anything other than that abortion was considered unequivocally sinful by the earliest followers of Christ.

        Planned Parenthood is a disgraceful organization that should not get a single dime of my tax dollars.

      • Lisa Clark July 23, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

        Mr. Schaeffer. I think the second Planned Parenthood video makes it plain that they, in fact, are selling infant body parts for profit. The LCMS church is not spreading “propaganda”, it is and always has looked to the inerrant and inspired Word of God. And God had nothing to do with “blessing ” America with an organization that kills innocent infants in the womb by ripping them literally limb from limb, and selling those limbs as well.

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