Cutting down large trees is a mortal sin according to the green mores of many Californians—an offense that prompts significant television and newspaper coverage when someone decides, as recently happened in Encinitas, to take a stand (or a seat) in the branches of an endangered leafy organism.
Even health concerns engendered by bird poop right outside an Oceanside restaurant don’t mitigate the righteous indignation of some environmentalists who viscerally feel the pain that neurology suggests is denied our wooden neighbors.
On the other hand, an individual who protests the termination of a nascent human life is unlikely to get much media coverage—much less media sympathy. The same can be said about the attitude of most state legislators toward ending the development of what used to be called “a baby.”
Indeed, Sacramento is so unconcerned (or embarrassed) about the culling of human fetuses that it no longer keeps track of the state’s annual contribution (around 100,000) to the estimated 1.2 million abortions that are performed in the United States each year.
What the state does apparently care about is access to abortion providers—a practice known in the Orwellian language of the Healthcare Workforce Pilot Project as “early pregnancy care.”
In 2006, for the sake of this “Pilot Project,” the state legislature suspended regulations that required abortion providers to be licensed physicians. According to State Senator Sam Aanestad, a trenchant critic of the program, Planned Parenthood has since employed procedure-trained nurses, midwives, and physician assistants to perform abortions by suction aspiration.
Aanestad further notes that HWPP #171 exploits a program that was established in 1973 to address shortfalls in the gerontology workforce in order to expand access to abortion in “underserved areas” of California—including San Diego.
Perhaps the proper name for this little-advertised “research project,” designed to facilitate abortions in poor communities where they are already common, should be “No Abortion Left Behind.”
This “clinical study” has been conducted under the auspices of the University of California San Francisco, Kaiser of Northern California, and several Planned Parenthood affiliates. The program is scheduled for renewal in March—in case there are readers out there who care to climb down from their trees long enough to contact their legislators about Healthcare Workforce Pilot Project #171.
It is unlikely, however, that tree-climbers who weep over the fate of vegetative life will show similar concern over the loss of human life in utero. After all, the former activity is popular and demands only episodic commitment on the part of the activist. The latter activity is likely to invite ridicule from powerful media sources (Hollywood and major television networks) and requires, on the part of those most intimately involved in the decision, years of commitment to the welfare of a child.
The psycho-dynamics of these moral priorities are as follows: As crucial moral standards are increasingly ignored by the public, matters of marginal moral significance take their place—filling a yawning void with moral distractions.