When is organ harvesting no longer organ harvesting? When do biotech companies get described simply as medical researchers? When are human beings described as the products of conception?

When abortion is the issue at hand, of course.

In a new undercover video, Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, discusses how different clinics deal in the organs of the babies they abort. The episode has not only demonstrated the gruesome underside of the abortion business, but also the denial and obfuscation required to embrace the absolutist pro-choice position held by Planned Parenthood and its allies in politics and the media.

When abortion is the issue, the mainstream media and the rest of the American Left not only set aside their compassion and concern for human life, but also their ability to speak clearly and honestly.

First, it's important to recall that Planned Parenthood and the Democratic Party are not simply pro-choice in the way nearly half of Americans are. Most pro-choicers find abortion to be an unfortunate, if not morally troubling reality. A vast majority of Americans, especially women, oppose late-term abortion.

Planned Parenthood and the Democrats don't share that outlook. As they put it, they believe in "abortion on demand, without apology." Abortion should be legal by any method, even at full gestation, up until the moment of delivery.

President Obama has argued that the government must not extend protections to premature babies who have survived abortion, because that could theoretically weaken abortion rights. Obama fundraised off partial-birth abortion, which is basically a form of infanticide. In the 2011 budget battles, Obama's only non-negotiable line item was funding for Planned Parenthood, which aborts more than 300,000 babies a year.

Much of our mainstream media is dedicated to defending this abortion absolutism. But it's a hard position for decent people to defend. So it becomes important to employ euphemisms and ignore plain facts. This brings us to the reaction to the Planned Parenthood sting video.

There's plenty of dispute over what exactly Planned Parenthood does and doesn't do, but there are certain facts any fair observer must grant.

First, according to Dr. Nucatola, Planned Parenthood affiliates harvest the organs of the babies they abort, and give these organs over to medical researchers — including biotech companies — in exchange for money.

At times in her conversation with the actors posing as biotech buyers, Nucatola indicates that clinics seek payment just to cover the hassle and costs of handling the tiny organs. Nucatola repeatedly stated that Planned Parenthood officials are very "sensitive" to the idea that they profit from organ sales, and so they limit prices to what seems "reasonable."

But the charging of handling costs isn't easily distinguishable from running a business.

And profit was certainly part of this, the evidence shows. Nucatola said of Planned Parenthood affiliates: "At the end of the day they're nonprofits. They want to break even, and if they do a little better than break even and do so in a way that seems reasonable, they're happy to do that."

Planned Parenthood's partners in the fetal organ business (benignly dubbed "researchers" in a Washington Post article on the video) are for-profit biotech companies. Nucatola specifically named Novogenix, a stem-cell company which, according to Nucatola, operates out of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Los Angeles.

StemExpress, another corporate partner of Planned Parenthood, explains in a flyer that the company "fiscally rewards clinics" that provide parts from aborted babies, yielding "financial profits." On that same flyer, a Planned Parenthood doctor exclaims "our partnership with StemExpress is beneficial in a number of ways."

One Planned Parenthood spokeswoman explained that this partnership wasn't gruesome or macabre, saying, "They take the products of conception and they send it to whoever."

If you consider literally that euphemism for a human baby's body parts — "the products of conception" — it describes President Obama, the reader of this column, Dr. Nucatola, and all her corporate partners just as accurately as it describes the flesh the abortionists are selling, whether it be at cost or for profit.

But that sort of euphemism points us toward the reason much of the major media has steered clear of this story as much as possible (it will get far less press than it deserves). Abortion is grisly and barbaric. When we talk about it in detail, we are reminded that it involves taking a human life with a scalpel, scissors or forceps.

When an abortion is over, the abortionist has extinguished a life. Inconveniently, the body remains — a head, two hands, kidneys, a liver and a heart.

That body is useful to biotech companies precisely because it is a human body. A partnership with Planned Parenthood is profitable precisely because nobody else turns out freshly-killed human bodies on the scale that Planned Parenthood does.

You can see why this story is a tough one for the supporters of abortion.

Timothy P. Carney, The Washington Examiner's senior political columnist, can be contacted at tcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Sunday and Wednesday on washingtonexaminer.com.