Yesterday, right wing website Live Action broke a story attacking Planned Parenthood after 22-year-old president of the organization, Lila Rose, released an undercover video seeking to demonstrate that Planned Parenthood engages in criminal activities.
Predictably, right-wing blogs have seized on the video to accuse Planned Parenthood of all sorts of atrocities. What these blogs failed to report, however, is that over two weeks ago and well before Live Action's video was released, Planned Parenthood reported this incident and other similar incidents to authorities.
Lila Rose, the conservative activist behind undercover videos targeting Planned Parenthood, has cited anti-abortion extremist Mark Crutcher as an inspiration. Crutcher, who has employed tactics similar to Rose's, has a history of pushing inflammatory rhetoric to rail against abortion and attack pro-choice advocates.
Conservative activist and Breitbart promoted videographer Lila Rose has presented heavily edited video she claims proves Planned Parenthood is engaging in systemic criminal activities. Media Matters reviews her history with discredited right-wing activist James O'Keefe and her fringe political activism.
Andrew Breitbart's website Big Government is promoting heavily edited videos produced by anti-abortion rights activist Lila Rose and falsely claiming that the video proves that Planned Parenthood engages in systemic criminal activities. Below, Media Matters reviews the dishonest tactics used in the past by Andrew Breitbart, James O'Keefe, and other Breitbart associates.
In a so-called "sting" video professional hit artist Lila Rose claims to have uncovered evidence of systemic corruption within Planned Parenthood to cover up "child sex trafficking." Not only do Planned Parenthoods recent actions flatly contradict that claim -- so does the content of the video itself.
In fact, even if we were to assume that Rose's heavily edited smear job is accurate - and there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical - the video very clearly establishes that the alleged wrongdoing is counter to Planned Parenthood policy: the employee on Rose's tape makes it clear that the actions in question would have to be concealed from others at the organization.
Even before Rose released the edited tapes, Planned Parenthood had already reported the "potential sex trafficking" to law enforcement officials.
In the video released today, Amy Woodruff, the office manager at the Planned Parenthood in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, talks to two Live Action employees who were apparently disguised as a pimp and a prostitute. Here she is counseling them on Planned Parenthood's legal obligation to report possible statutory rape cases (2:24 in the video):
Today, anti-abortion rights propagandist Lila Rose released her latest in a series of heavily edited videos seeking to demonstrate that Planned Parenthood engages in criminal activities. Rose's organization, Live Action, claims their video exposes what they call "Planned Parenthood's cover-up of child sex trafficking."
Except that isn't what the video shows at all.
Rather, the Live Action video shows edited comments made by a single Planned Parenthood employee. Live Action has so far refused to publicly release the full video of the incident, instead posting what the organization itself admits is an "abridged 11-minute video." (Live Action claims they are "sending full footage" to law enforcement officials.) [UPDATE: Live Action subsequently released what they say is the full video.]
Is Live Action accurately portraying the Planned Parenthood employee's statements and actions? It's impossible to say for sure without the full video, but there is good reason for media to be skeptical. Lila Rose, after all, began infiltrating abortion clinics in collaboration with James O'Keefe -- a convicted criminal who repeatedly lied about his heavily edited ACORN videos. Rose herself has a history of smearing the subjects of her videos.
But even if Live Action's video doesn't take the employee out of context, the incident obviously doesn't show Planned Parenthood covering up child sex trafficking. That's because Planned Parenthood has already reported the "potential sex trafficking" to law enforcement officials.
On January 24, Planned Parenthood released the following statement, titled "Planned Parenthood Informs Federal Authorities of Potential Sex Trafficking" [emphasis in original]: