UPDATED: Who Is Lila Rose?


Live Action, the anti-abortion group headed by Lila Rose, has released a new video purporting to show a Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin, Texas "encouraging a woman to obtain a late-term abortion because she was purportedly carrying a girl and wanted to have a boy." In light of the new video, Media Matters reviews Rose and Live Action's previous videos smearing Planned Parenthood, Rose's conservative activism, and her history with discredited activist James O'Keefe.

Live Action Releases "Sex-Selective Abortion" Attack On Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood Suspected Live Action Was Behind A Series Of "Hoax Visits" To Clinics In At Least 11 States

Rose Repeatedly Smeared Planned Parenthood With Hoax Videos And False Claims

Rose And James O'Keefe Collaborated To Get Planned Parenthood Staff To Agree That There Are "Too Many Black People"

Rose Has A History Of Outrageous Opinions

Rose Earned Her Video Sting Stripes With James O'Keefe At UCLA

Rose Spent Her Time At UCLA Fighting Against Planned Parenthood

Rose Has Benefitted From Right-Wing Support

Rose Is A Well-Known, Active Anti-Choice Personality On The Right

Rose Inspired By Mark Crutcher

Live Action Releases "Sex-Selective Abortion" Attack On Planned Parenthood

Anti-Abortion Group Claims Video Is First In A Series Targeting Abortion Rights Group. In a May 29 press release, Live Action touts a "a new undercover video showing a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Austin, TX encouraging a woman to obtain a late-term abortion because she was purportedly carrying a girl and wanted to have a boy." From the Live Action website:

Today, Live Action released a new undercover video showing a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Austin, TX encouraging a woman to obtain a late-term abortion because she was purportedly carrying a girl and wanted to have a boy. The video is first in a new series titled "Gendercide: Sex-Selection in America," exposing the practice of sex-selective abortion in the United States and how Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry facilitate the selective elimination of baby girls in the womb. [LiveAction.org, 5/29/12]

Planned Parenthood Suspected Live Action Was Behind A Series Of "Hoax Visits" To Clinics In At Least 11 States

"The Most Likely Group Behind The Campaign, Planned Parenthood Suspects, Is Anti-Abortion Activist Group Live Action." Planned Parenthood told Huffington Post in April that several clinics had been targeted by "hoax visits." From an April 23 Huffington Post article:

A string of suspicious incidents at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country has given the organization reason to believe that anti-abortion activists are targeting it in a new organized sting operation.

According to Planned Parenthood spokesperson Chloe Cooney, clinics in at least 11 states have reported two dozen or more "hoax visits" over the past several weeks, in which a woman walks into a clinic, claims to be pregnant and asks a particular pattern of provocative questions about sex-selective abortions, such as how soon she can find out the gender of the fetus, by what means and whether she can schedule an abortion if she's having a girl.

While patient privacy laws prohibit Planned Parenthood from offering specific details about the visits and where they occurred, Cooney told The Huffington Post that the incidents are so unusual and so similar to each other that they have raised concerns among the organization's executives that the visits are being recorded as part of a concerted anti-Planned Parenthood campaign.


The most likely group behind the campaign, Planned Parenthood suspects, is anti-abortion activist group Live Action, which has a history of paying actors to walk into Planned Parenthood clinics and act out various controversial scenarios in an attempt to catch the family planning provider's staffers doing something illegal or immoral on tape. A recent operation involved actors posing as pimps and prostitutes engaged in human trafficking and seeking birth control, STD testing and other family planning services. HuffPost's Ryan Grim reported in February 2011that Live Action heavily edited the videos they gathered to alter the meaning of conversations and falsely imply that Planned Parenthood is complicit in sex trafficking, but conservative lawmakers and media outlets cited the group's videos in numerous subsequent political attacks against the family planning provider.

While Planned Parenthood has no proof that Live Action is behind the current series of encounters, Cooney said the group is the most coordinated in their operations and that the recent string of incidents "follows their pattern exactly."

Kate Bryan, a spokesperson for Live Action, would not confirm whether the group was behind the newest Planned Parenthood sting. "As you can understand, Live Action does not comment on any investigations until after public release," she said. [Huffington Post, 4/23/12]

Rose Repeatedly Smeared Planned Parenthood With Hoax Videos And False Claims

Rose Claimed She Caught Planned Parenthood Covering Up Child Sex Trafficking -- She Didn't. In February 2011, Rose and Live Action released a series of videos claiming to expose "Planned Parenthood's cover-up of child sex trafficking." But the videos released by Live Action failed to prove the charge. To the contrary, at least two weeks before Live Action released the first video, Planned Parenthood reported a "potential multistate sex trafficking ring" to the FBI. [Media Matters, 2/1/11; 2/22/11]

Rose Falsely Claimed Planned Parenthood Lied About Providing Mammograms. In March 2011, Rose promoted a video falsely claiming to catch Planned Parenthood lying about the organization's work providing patients with access to cancer screenings, including mammograms. The comments Rose highlighted did not contradict the undisputed fact that Planned Parenthood provides patients with access to these services. [Media Matters, 3/30/11]

Rose Launched False Attack On Planned Parenthood And Indiana Law. In June 2011, Rose accused Planned Parenthood of lying about the effects of an Indiana law which would withhold Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood. In reality, the video failed to prove that Planned Parenthood was lying and actually showed that its concerns about the law were accurate: a Planned Parenthood worker in Indiana said in the video that because of the "new law," a Medicaid recipient cannot get preventive care at Planned Parenthood. [Media Matters, 6/29/11]

Rose Falsehood: Abortion Is How Indiana Planned Parenthood "Makes Money." During an appearance on Fox News, Rose claimed that abortions are "how [Planned Parenthood] makes money" in Indiana. In reality, abortions account for 3.56 percent of Planned Parenthood of Indiana's total services and abortions account for only about 16 percent of Planned Parenthood of Indiana's revenue. [Media Matters, 6/30/11]

Rose: Planned Parenthood Using Breast Cancer As a "Front" To Garner "Public Funding For An Abortion Business." During a February 3 appearance on CNN contributor Dana Loesch's radio show, Rose accused Planned Parenthood of using "an issue like breast cancer, which has hurt so many American women, they're using this issue as a front to get -- garner public support and public funding for an abortion business." [KFTK, The Dana Show, 2/3/12]

Rose And James O'Keefe Collaborated To Get Planned Parenthood Staff To Agree That There Are "Too Many Black People"

Rose And Advocate "Advisor" Tried To Get Planned Parenthood Official To Agree "There's Way Too Many Black People In Ohio." From a 2008 article in The Advocate, a "right to life" student magazine founded by Rose:

Over the summer, The Advocate investigated the financial dealings of Planned Parenthood and made some shocking discoveries about the clinic-owning "nonprofit." We obtained the information by having an actor call clinics across the country and pose as a donor. The actor who called, The Advocate's advisor, communicated to them a very racist agenda--the one that Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood's founder, had envisioned. He then asked to donate money specifically for the abortions of African-American babies in order to "lower the number of blacks in America. [The Advocate, Winter 2008]

Rose Identified James O'Keefe As Advocate Advisor.


Advisor: "There's Definitely Way Too Many Black People In Ohio, So I Am Just Trying To Do My Part."


Public Eye: Rose Orchestrated A Similar Scheme In 2006. The magazine Public Eye reports:

In 2006, Rose deployed an actor to call Planned Parenthood clinics posing as a racist donor offering to fund abortions sought by African-American women.2 Live Action secretly recorded the phone calls, then incorporated them into videos posted on YouTube. (YouTube removed several of those videos for "inappropriate content," presumably to avoid any legal issues arising from the manner in which the material was obtained.)

While Rose is quick to note in public remarks that none of the affiliates contacted by Live Action "on that first day of calling" turned down the money, she cited only two instances in her speech last year to a right-wing gathering in Washington, D.C., where the caller made clear his racist motivation--that his earmarked donation was designed to help reduce the number of "Black kids" on "the streets."3 She did not say how many affiliates were contacted "on that first day," or the total number ultimately called. And she referred not to an actor making the calls, but an activist.

Ken Blackwell, Ohio's former secretary of state and an African-American, was then running for governor. He called for a congressional investigation into the result of a call made to a Planned Parenthood office in Columbus, in which a receptionist replied "Okay," when the caller said there were "definitely way too many Black people in Ohio."4 After losing the gubernatorial race to Democrat Ted Strickland, Blackwell joined the Family Research Council staff. At press time, with the backing of the right-wing umbrella group the National Center for Policy Analysis, he was vying for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee. [Public Eye, Spring 2009]

Rose Has A History Of Outrageous Opinions

Rose Called For Abortions To Be Carried Out "In The Public Square." From the Huffington Post:

Anti-abortion activist Lila Rose said at last weekend's Value Voters Summit that as long as abortions are legal, they should be "done in the public square," thus disgusting people into action. And then "we might hear angels singing as we ponder the glory of conception." [Huffington Post, 9/22/09]

Rose Compared Herself To Martin Luther King Jr. From CNN's documentary, "Right on the Edge":

BOUDREAU: She promotes her organization live action.

ROSE: I get concerned sometimes because I want to say everything in the best way and I want to really communicate what I - what I know to be true.

Thank you.

Martin Luther King, Jr. brought him a letter and he said the world is in dire need of creative extremists. And that is a call for all of us here today that the world is in dire need of young people, especially, who will think creatively, think courageously.

BOUDREAU (on camera): You said something about being a creative extremist.

ROSE: Yes. Yes.

BOUDREAU: And what exactly do you mean by that.

ROSE: Exactly what Martin Luther King, Jr. meant when he wrote it in a letter in Framingham Jail, and those people that I were thought to be extremists will be seen as the streaking (ph) in life advocate. Just as Martin Luther King, Jr. who was thought to be an extremist is now recognized as hero.

BOUDREAU: Lila hopes to one day produce movies or better yet be an actress. But for now, she's happy being an activist. [CNN, 10/3/10, emphasis added]

Rose Earned Her Video Sting Stripes With James O'Keefe At UCLA

2006: Lila Rose And "James O'Keefe Came Up With The Idea To Infiltrate Clinics." According to the Los Angeles Times:

In fall 2006, when she was a UCLA freshman, she and fellow conservative activist James O'Keefe came up with the idea to infiltrate clinics. Rose, by e-mail, and O'Keefe, in a phone interview, said they were inspired by the work of Mark Crutcher, a Texas antiabortion activist who in 2002 taped fake calls to hundreds of Planned Parenthood clinics around the country featuring women posing as pregnant minors. [Los Angeles Times, 4/26/09]

Rose And O'Keefe "Received Criticism" For Their Deceptive Tactics, Which O'Keefe Called "Justified." The Los Angeles Times reported:

O'Keefe, 24, said he and Rose have received criticism from some of their associates for using deception. "It's a pretty complicated ethical issue," he said, "but we believe there is a genocide and nobody cares, and you can use these tactics and it's justified." Rose and O'Keefe visited their first clinic -- UCLA's Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center -- in 2006. They videotaped an employee telling them "some pretty bad things," said O'Keefe, including that the fetus is a collection of cells. "That's what set us in motion." [Los Angeles Times, 4/26/09]

Rose Spent Her Time At UCLA Fighting Against Planned Parenthood

Rose Launched The Rosa Acuna Project To Document Planned Parenthood's "Use Of Unscientific And Fabricated Medical Information To Convince Women To Have Abortions." From the Live Action website:

The "Rosa Acuna Project" is a multi-state undercover investigation documenting Planned Parenthood's use of unscientific and fabricated medical information to convince women to have abortions. A series of hidden camera videos shot in clinics across the United States reveals the exploitative tactics abortion doctors and clinicians employ to conceal the truth about abortion from women who most need honest and accurate information. Leading embryologists have denounced Planned Parenthood's conduct caught on tape as "erroneous and scientifically absurd." [LiveAction.org, accessed 2/1/11]

Rose: "Abortion Is Truly Impacting, Devastating The African American Community And Planned Parenthood Is Behind That." From the March 30, 2008, edition of Fox News' Hannity's America:

ROSE: Seventy-nine percent of their clinics are in minority neighborhoods. And an African American baby is almost as likely to be aborted because of this as it is to be born. Abortion is truly impacting, devastating the African American community and Planned Parenthood is behind that.

All seven states which was the extent of the investigation did not hang up the phone despite his racist request. Instead they agreed to process his donation which would target an African-American woman or they said they would get back to him to find a way to do so.

HANNITY: In a statement to the FOX NEWS Channel, the organization explained, quote, "Planned Parenthood's mission is deeply rooted in the philosophy of equality for all and our doors are open to everyone. Planned Parenthood firmly and unequivocally denounces racial bias in the delivery healthcare. Two local employees violated the organization's principles and practices when they responded to deceptive calls from a political opponent who posed as a racist donor and secretly taped the conversations. It is clear these employees made serious mistakes and we apologize again for they way this was handled." [Fox News' Hannity's America, 3/30/08, accessed via Nexis]

Rose: Planned Parenthood Funding Should Be Cut Because "The Economy Isn't Doing Too Well And We're Looking To Cut Government Spending." From an interview on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

ROSE: This is common. This is widespread and has been going on for years, the cover-up of sexual abuse of young girls. Young girls go into these Planned Parenthoods needing help, looking for help. And they're given a bag of condoms. They're given an abortion and sent right back into the arms of the abuser.

This is happening. I've seen it myself personally in dozens of clinics across the country. I've seen it in Los Angeles. I visited two Los Angeles Planned Parenthoods when I was a freshman. I found the coverup and sexual abuse then. This is a national problem. And this organization receives almost -- over $300 million a year in government money.

O'REILLY: Yes, for the money, too.

ROSE: Taxpayers.

O'REILLY: Right, right, for reproductive activities.

ROSE: And their choice of.

O'REILLY: OK now, you're a college student in California, right?

ROSE: That's right.

O'REILLY: And you've been doing this. Why? Why do you do this?

ROSE: Well, it's my passion. It's -- the group of students and I, we do this work together to investigate Planned Parenthood and hold them accountable for these crimes. They are receiving this huge chunk of money and especially in these economic times, where the economy isn't doing too well and we're looking to cut government spending. [Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, 12/4/08, accessed via Nexis]

Rose Has Benefitted From Right-Wing Support

Fox News Boosted Rose's Smears Of Planned Parenthood. When Rose released her videos of Planned Parenthood in February 2011, Fox News heavily covered the deeply dishonest videos. Like the Rose videos, Fox's coverage was relentless, unabashedly hostile to Planned Parenthood, and deeply misleading. Rose herself repeatedly appeared on Fox to push her false claims both in the immediate aftermath of the video's release and in the months that followed. [Media Matters, 2/21/12]

Rose Has Benefited From The "Generous Assistance" Of "Powerful Players" On The Right. As reported by AlterNet:

Steeped in conservative Christian politics, Rose has already benefited from the generous assistance of powerful players like communications firm The Leadership Institute, a high-powered conservative Christian legal organization, and a well-known DC-based Public Relations firm. She was the recipient of Operation Rescue's 2008 Person of the Year Malachi Award, and her campaign at UCLA to urge administrators to cut ties with Planned Parenthood received the endorsement of Dr. Alveda King, the ultra-conservative niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. [AlterNet, 6/24/09]

Rose Received $44,000 Award From Anti-Choice Gerard Health Foundation. According to its 990 IRS tax form, the Gerard Health Foundation awarded Lila Rose $44,000 in 2009. The Gerald Health Foundation is funded by Raymond Ruddy, a conservative businessman who has smeared Obama as an infanticide supporter and promoted fringe views on birth control, sex-education and reproductive rights. [Guidestar.org, accessed 4/23/12; Media Matters, 2/18/11]

Gerard Health Foundation Funded Live Action's Anti-Planned Parenthood Hoax. A December 3, 2010, press release from Live Action titled "Live Action to Launch Major Investigations in 2011 with New Fundraising" said:

Live Action, the youth-led pro-life group responsible for exposing statutory rape cover-up, racism, and medical misinformation at Planned Parenthood, is preparing to launch several major investigations of the abortion industry next year. A donor fund has awarded Live Action a $125,000 matching gift, and Live Action is now starting a fundraising campaign to match the gift and fund the new investigations. [Live Action, 12/3/10]

Live Action did not report the identity of the donor. On January 22, Life Prizes, an initiative of the Gerard Health Foundation, held an invitation-only awards ceremony. Peter Smith of LifeSiteNews.com reported on that ceremony in a January 25 article:

[Gerard Health Vice President Claude] Allen announced that Life Prizes 2008 award winner Lila Rose had been offered an additional $125,000 matching grant for her investigative work exposing the practices of other abortionists.

"Lila has met that match," he announced, which the audience met with loud applause.

Laura Ingraham, a nationally syndicated talk show radio host and FOX News contributor, was master of ceremonies for the event, her second time in that role. [LifeSiteNews.com,1/28/11; Media Matters, 2/18/11]

Rose Trained Through Leadership Institute. Boston Globe columnist Joanna Weiss wrote:

Rose also represents a new wave of conservative activists who understand the power of a sensational story. She got training through the Leadership Institute, a D.C.-based group that seeds college campuses with conservative groups. And her inspiration and mentor is James O'Keefe, a former Leadership Institute employee who conducted secret videos of the community group ACORN -- posing as a pimp himself, complete with a fedora and fur jacket -- and managed to get the group stripped of federal funding. (He was also arrested last year for entering Senator Mary Landrieu's office, in a different costume, intending to tamper with her phones.)

Morton Blackwell, the Leadership Institute's founder, told me last week that O'Keefe and Rose have taken at least one of his lessons to heart: Put out your negative news in increments, hurting the enemy further by keeping the story alive. With the drawn-out release of her Planned Parenthood tapes, Rose has increased her media profile, and helped to jeopardize Planned Parenthood's federal funding in a newly hostile House of Representatives. [Boston Globe, 2/13/11]

Rose Has Received Free Legal Counsel From The Alliance Defense Fund. As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

David French, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group, gave her free advice when Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles threatened action, and appeared at her side during an interview with conservative TV talk-show host Bill O'Reilly. She also receives guidance from CRC Public Relations, a Washington-area firm that represents conservative clients and had a hand in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign that targeted Democrat John F. Kerry during the 2004 presidential race. [Los Angeles Times, 4/26/09]

  • ADF Was Founded By Leaders Of Christian Right To Pursue A Conservative Political Agenda. As Media Matters previously reported, the ADF was founded by influential leaders of the Christian Right to pursue a conservative political agenda. According to their website, ADF focuses on three main issues: "Guarding the Sanctity of Human Life," "Protecting Family Values," and "Defending Religious Freedom." [Media Matters, 10/14/05]

Rose Is A Well-Known, Active Anti-Choice Personality On The Right

Rose Spoke At Conservative Political Action Conference. Rose moderated an anti-choice panel at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference. [Colorado Independent, 2/12/12]

Rose Was A Featured Speaker At Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit. Rose spoke at the 2011, 2010, and 2009 Values Voter Summits. The summits were hosted by the conservative Family Research Council. [ValuesVotersSummit.org, 2011, 2010 and 2009 schedules accessed on 4/23/12]

Rose Moderated Presidential Forum With Republican Candidates. Rose moderated a January forum with Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul. [LiveAction.org, 1/20/12]

Rose Founded Anti-Choice Student Magazine The Advocate. From Rose's bio on the Live Action Website:

In fall 2006, as a freshman at UCLA, Lila founded the pro-life student magazine The Advocate, administered through the new UCLA student chapter of Live Action. The Advocate has since gone national and is distributed at over 80 different high school and college campuses across the country with a circulation of nearly 100,000. [LiveAction.org, accessed 2/1/11]

Rose Inspired By Mark Crutcher

Rose And James O'Keefe "Said They Were Inspired By The Work Of Mark Crutcher." As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

[Lila] Rose, by e-mail, and [James] O'Keefe, in a phone interview, said they were inspired by the work of Mark Crutcher, a Texas antiabortion activist who in 2002 taped fake calls to hundreds of Planned Parenthood clinics around the country featuring women posing as pregnant minors. [Los Angeles Times, 4/26/09]

Crutcher Made Connections Between Slavery, Eugenics, And Abortion. Mark Crutcher, "a white abortion opponent in Denton, Tex." wrote and directed a documentary alleging that slavery still exists in the guise of abortion, making "connections among slavery, Nazi-style eugenics, birth control and abortion." [New York Times, 2/26/10; MAAFA21.com, accessed 2/1/11, Slate, 3/12/10]

For more on Lila Rose's inspiration, Mark Crutcher, click HERE.

Posted In
Health Care, Reproductive Rights
Lila Rose
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