Carefully Purified

Amy Shirmer

Until recently my firm ethical belief in the sanctity of life has been, for the most part, theoretical. I am not daily confronted by young unwed mothers wrestling with the possibilities of rejection or destitution. I do not work in a clinic where abortions are performed. I don’t even work in a company where the subject is debated around the water cooler. Being pro-life has demanded little of me in the practical. This spring that has changed.

My work outside the home is in order fulfillment and warehousing. I seek out clients that need a place to store product until someone orders it.When orders are placed,my company mails the product. All very straightforward and not an environment in which I expected to deal with the issue of abortion.

One aspect of my job involves finding new clients. Last November I contacted a company called Sun Trading that sells beautiful Ukrainian crafts on line. The wooden plates and boxes were colorful and relatively inexpensive. I was also impressed by how the Ukrainian craftsmen seemed to be the recipients of a goodly portion of the income made on their handiwork. My initial contact resulted in a personal reply, which is nigh on unheard of, and I was ecstatic. The possibility of working with this company would generate income for our warehouse as well as further the goals of Ukrainian artisans. I will unashamedly admit to being very happy when social ills can be positively addressed in the retail world!

Sun Trading is located in Switzerland, and my contact person there was wonderful to work with. Courteous and regular at keeping in touch, I looked forward to working with them. They were not ready to start warehousing in the States, but were interested in pursuing the details for future reference. In the meantime, another of their divisions started looking at the possibility of fulfilling orders in the States. This company’s name was Plazan. They produce a high-end cosmetic that is sold online, two containers for around $180.00. Again, I was very excited. We could charge a bit more for this product, and it would involve less storage as well as easier shipping procedures.My contact at Sun Trading sent me the website for Plazan, and I went with dollar signs in my eyes.

What I found left me feeling as though I had been socked in the stomach. http://www.cosmeticsmakeup- is very proud of the fact that their products include carefully purified human placenta. It took only a moment for me to realize the implications of this. What else would so perfectly revitalize skin? It seems only logical that modern cosmetologists would look to the physical source of youth— that which nourishes a growing baby—in order to find the so-called fountain of youth. Concerned that I may be jumping to incorrect conclusions, I first decided to ascertain whether the placentas were harvested from live births or aborted babies. I assumed the company would be cagey in their response, and so I started trying to research European Union laws about abortion and the use of aborted babies in cosmetic products.

Frustrated by my inexperience as a researcher, I decided to contact some pro-life organizations for help. Life Legal Defense was one of these organizations. There were others as well, but none were really able to help me; either because they were not international in scope, or they were simply too busy to drop everything for my question! (Each organization I e-mailed eventually did contact me. It was very reassuring to see how vigilant the Pro-life movement is at the organizational level—and I wish there were a fuller volunteer base to help with the day to day work involved with each of these organizations.)

My last resort was to ask the company, Plazan, directly. Again, I assumed I would receive a response that involved a lot of beating about the bush and avoiding the issue at hand. This was not the case! They replied very quickly.

The placental tissue was, indeed, from abortions, but I was not to worry. The lab procedures involved with purifying and extricating the necessary elements ensured that I could not be contaminated by the human placenta. The use of animal placentas in cosmetics does not have the same guarantee, apparently. Thus ended my comfortable pro-life stance!

There never really was a dilemma of course— supporting such products only encourages abortion. Moreover I could not plea that, after all, I wasn’t the one buying the product, and, well, you know, it’s just business after all. The fact is that even handling the product in a strictly business venue implied my tacit support of the product, and my support of the product implied my support of the ingredients, and my support of the ingredients meant my support of abortion.Whatever my location in the great causal link I faced two choices: Either my actions supported pro-life or they supported pro-death. There was no middle ground. It was as clear as blue sky on a crisp fall day.

I was up front with my manager about not being able to work with a company that did business with Plazan or any of its related companies, even those that benefit artisans in the Ukraine. I am fortunate to work at my present place of employ. My supervisor allowed me to sever the connection with this account, and so the entire thing was dropped and Plazan will be looking elsewhere for warehousing and fulfillment. The sad thing is that they will find it.

A lot of money is made in cosmetics, and the quest for perfect skin comes at the highest price imaginable. I would like to urge the readers of this newsletter to consider carefully the ingredients that go into their lotions and make-up. Placentas are not babies. I know this. But placentas from aborted babies would not be available without the scourge of abortion. I had my yearly physical yesterday, and in the process of making a necessary appointment with the imaging department, I had to sign a piece of paper which assured all concerned that I was not expecting a child now, nor would I be at the time of the x-ray. The possible baby could be affected. What a world of contradictions we live in!

[Amy Schirmer works and lives with her family in Wisconsin.]