Lila Rose vs. Planned Parenthood
New Round of Secret Videos Boost Calls for Organization’s Defunding
BY Wayne Laugesen
February 27-March 12, 2011 Issue | Posted 2/21/11 at 1:32 PM
NEW YORK — Employees at a federally funded Planned Parenthood abortion business appear to aid and abet a self-described child-sex trafficker, telling the man how to get away with and pay for abortions for sex slaves as young as 13.
The man is told to present himself as “guardian” of the girls, and he is assured that his secret will be safe with Planned Parenthood.
The shocking conversations appear on the latest undercover video shot during a sting operation by Live Action Films, which has carried out undercover investigations of Planned Parenthood for the past five years. Live Action was founded by Lila Rose while she was a student at UCLA.
One of the latest videos, shot on Jan. 14, shows a Live Action investigator telling employees of a Planned Parenthood business in the Bronx that he’s in a sex business involving young teenage girls, some of whom speak no English. He wants advice on obtaining abortions for any of the girls who may be pregnant or may get pregnant while working. (See the Register’s transcription of the video; scroll to the end of the article.)
This video comes on the heels of recent Live Action videos that indicated a similar willingness by Planned Parenthood employees in Virginia and New Jersey to aid and abet child-sex traffickers.
One video showed Amy Woodruff, manager of a Planned Parenthood abortion business in Perth Amboy, N.J., advising undercover Live Action investigators how they could get around laws that limit access to abortion and contraception by minors. Just as in New York, the investigators had presented themselves as managers of a sex-trade business involving young teenage girls.
Woodruff was fired.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for this kind of behavior,” said Phyllis Kinsler, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey, in a Feb. 2 press release.
Employees Not Fired
But the New York and Virginia employees have not been fired, and attorneys for Live Action say Planned Parenthood seems more interested in finding a way to punish Rose for initiating sting operations against the organization.
“There is a continued insinuation by Planned Parenthood officials that what our client does is somehow wrong, even though these are the same investigative techniques you see from 60 Minutes or Dateline or any number of media organizations,” said Peter Breen, national counsel for Live Action Films. Breen works with the Thomas More Society, a law firm in Chicago with a mission “to restore respect for life in law.”
Legal threats from Planned Parenthood are nothing new for Rose. She posted videos to YouTube in 2007 that featured Planned Parenthood employees in Southern California telling an undercover investigator how he could get an abortion and contraceptives for the under-aged girlfriend he told them about. Planned Parenthood threatened Rose with prosecution, as California is among 16 states that prohibit the recording of conversations without two-party consent.
Breen said Planned Parenthood has sought legal protection from Live Action’s most recent investigations and tried to have YouTube remove one video on a claim that it violated the organization’s privacy for showing a Planned Parenthood logo that was videotaped inside of an abortion business.
When YouTube managers considered removing the video, the Thomas More Society sent them a letter explaining the video violated no privacy rights and did not violate YouTube’s own policies. The “YouTube Team” concurred, responding with a letter that said: “We’ve been unable to identify a ‘Community Guidelines’ violation with the content in question.”
Breen said he believes some of the latest videos are strong enough to result in legal repercussions, criminal and/or civil, for Planned Parenthood.
Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli concurs, telling Fox News on Feb. 6 that he may investigate Planned Parenthood as a result of the Live Action sting in his state. He expressed concerns about “an open willingness” of Planned Parenthood to participate in the “sex trafficking of minors.”
Erica Sackin, media relations coordinator for Planned Parenthood of New York, said no disciplinary action is expected as a result of the latest Live Action video.
“We firmly believe these accusations by Live Action are false,” Sackin said. “We believe they are misleading and inaccurate, and that the video was highly edited.”
A written statement provided by Sackin said “teen health and safety is our top priority.”
“Had the teens in question come into our center, they would have met with a licensed social worker,” the statement said. “All teens coming into Planned Parenthood of New York City are screened for child abuse and neglect. All teens who disclose abuse meet with a licensed social worker, who records and reports the abuse.”
Cuccinelli conceded during his Fox interview that he lacks “an actual case of it on film” — meaning a case that involves victims instead of actors pretending to run a sex-slave business.
“But what you do have is clearly an open willingness of several organizations, meaning subsidiaries of Planned Parenthood nationally in the same category, sex trafficking of minors, and an open willingness to participate in this,” Cuccinelli said.
Breen said authorities don’t need an actual case involved to pursue legal action against Planned Parenthood. Prosecutors routinely use actor-only sting operations as a basis for charging suspects in connection with the intent to participate in sexual abuse of children.
On Dateline NBC’s “To Catch a Predator,” young-adult actors contact suspected pedophiles and pretend to be teenagers willing to have sex. After a suspect exhibits an ample willingness to have sex with a child, police throw him to the ground and haul him away in handcuffs.
“Thanks to mainstream programs like 60 Minutes and Dateline NBC, undercover journalism has exposed some of the most repugnant wrongdoings that have afflicted our society,” Breen said.
Sackin, of Planned Parenthood of New York, said those associated with Live Action Films are “anti-choice activists” and not undercover journalists. The Supreme Court, however, makes no legal distinction between large, traditional media organizations and the nontraditional journalist, often referred to as “the lone pamphleteer.”
Wayne Laugesen writes from Colorado Springs, Colorado.
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