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Going Undercover to Expose Planned Parenthood

Apr 28 2009
Lila Rose's pro-life activism may be breaking state privacy laws. But does it matter?

The Los Angeles Times recently profiled a college student who videotapes counseling sessions at Planned Parenthood clinics to expose potential wrongdoings.

Lila Rose, a 20-year-old UCLA history major, has led her group Live Action to videotape clinics in Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Bloomington, Tucson, Phoenix, and Memphis. In the following video, she poses as a 13-year-old impregnated by an older man.

"OK," the aide says, "I didn't hear the age. I don't want to know the age. It could be reported as rape. And that's child abuse."

"So if I just say I don't know who the father was, but he's one of the guys at school or something?" asks the girl.

"Right," says the aide.

Robin Abcarian writes that the nurse's aide seen on the tape was fired and a second staffer resigned.

The videos are also making an impact in other states, according to United Press International:

In Tennessee, legislators said Wednesday that they will try to cut off a $721,000 contract with Planned Parenthood, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday. The legislators were inspired by a video made by Lila Rose, 20, a student at UCLA who posed as a minor seeking an abortion at a clinic in Memphis. Orange County, Calif., supervisors last month rescinded a $300,000 grant for sex education. A conservative businessman who had met Rose raised objections to the grant.

The UPI story is unclear, however, whether Rose was breaking state laws while she was video taping.

In May 2007, Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles accused Rose of breaking state privacy laws when she secretly taped her interactions. It demanded she remove the videos from her website, which she did, though they are still easily found on YouTube. (Arizona, Indiana and Tennessee, where she went next, have less restrictive privacy laws.)

Fellow conservative activist James O'Keefe told The Times that he and Rose have received criticism 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."

What do you think? In Rose's case, do the ends (uncovering wrongdoing at Planned Parenthood) justify the means (deception)?

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