Undercover Videos Embarrass Planned Parenthood
Video clips from recent undercover visits to Planned Parenthood clinics by a pro-life group called Live Action have stunned people on both sides of the debate and prompted the clinic to fire the employee caught on tape.
Planned Parenthood says they are "profoundly shocked" by the YouTube clips showing Central Jersey Planned Parenthood manager Amy Woodruff offering advice to Live Action operatives–posing as a pimp and his prostitute–on how to get medical care for underage sex workers without disrupting his business. The organization fired Woodruff for behavior which they say was a "very isolated" response to a "highly unusual" pair of inquirers.
Woodruff was "behaving in a repugnant manner that is inconsistent with our standards of care and is completely unacceptable," said a Planned Parenthood official. Lila Rose, president of Live Action, says the New Jersey video "proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Planned Parenthood intentionally breaks state and federal laws and covers up the abuse of the young girls it claims to serve."
A few weeks ago Planned Parenthood noticed a number of similar visits at clinics in several states and contacted the authorities about what they thought could be either a "multistate sex trafficking operation" or a " 'dirty tricks' campaign." They pointed to evidence that Live Action (with whom they had prior encounters) could be involved.
"These people have recorded 'undercover' videos of their conversations with our clinic staff and then selectively and maliciously edited the videos," wrote Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards in a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder at the time.
Yesterday, Live Action uploaded a second video of an undercover visit to a Virginia clinic, which Rose said demonstrates that "Planned Parenthood's problems go far beyond New Jersey." Planned Parenthood says the staffer in the Virginia video acted "professionally" and notified her supervisor immediately afterward.
Rose and Live Action are hardly new to YouTube activism. Rose, who says she draws inspiration from 1960s activist Saul Alinsky, has organized similar operations against Planned Parenthood before. Critics call Rose a "propagandist" who "has a history of smearing the subjects of her videos," comparing Live Action's tactics to the misleadingly-edited clip that tarred Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod in 2010.
But Live Action has managed to put Planned Parenthood in the hot seat before. The organization apologized in 2008 after Live Action recorded a Planned Parenthood staffer appearing to sympathize with a potential benefactor who claimed he wanted to donate because "the less black kids out there, the better." In 2010, the state of Alabama put a Planned Parenthood clinic on probation after Rose, posing as a 14-year-old, caught a clinic employee willing to violate parental consent laws. The state later found that the clinic had given abortions to nine minors without properly verifying parental consent.