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Live Action, Planned Parenthood, and a Year of Change


Feb 24 2011
Surveying two months of dramatic news on the abortion front in the U.S.

It's only February, and already I have whiplash from the news speeding past me from the U.S. abortion front.

The frenzy began on January 17, when a Philadelphia abortion doctor was indicted for killing a patient. Next came the revelation that he had also gruesomely killed eight babies and that his filthy clinic had not been inspected for 17 years. At Pro Publica, Marian Wang reported, "According to the grand jury report … Pennsylvania health officials deliberately chose not to enforce laws to ensure that abortion clinics provide the same level of care as other medical service providers."

Then, on February 1, Live Action, a California based "new media movement for life," released a series of videos in which actors posing as sex traffickers secretly recorded Planned Parenthood employees giving out unethical and sometimes illegal advice. A clinic worker in New Jersey, for example, was fired and denounced by Planned Parenthood for advising the impostors to have underage sex workers lie about their ages so that clinic workers could avoid reporting them to authorities. "As long as they don't say [they are] 14, and as long as there's not too much of an age gap [with 'boyfriends'], then we just kind of … play it stupid," the worker said.

On February 16, Live Action moved on to the next thing, which was to enlist Abby Johnson, author of the memoir Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader's Eye-Opening Journey across the Life-Line, as its chief research strategist. (CT reviewed Johnson's book in January.)

National Review published an interview with Johnson on the 18th. Kathryn Jean Lopez asked the convert to Catholicism what she would say to a young, idealistic Planned Parenthood worker like she had once been. Johnson said, "I would tell her that I know her intentions are good and she has dived into an organization that does help women in many ways. However, I would want her to know that she can help them in better ways. I would encourage her to take that leap of faith I did, and join me in helping women in a wholistic way, because that is not going to be offered in the abortion industry."

The big news on the 18th, however, was that the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal federal funding of Planned Parenthood, or more precisely, to repeal funding of its non-abortion services. When the Senate takes up the measure next week, its version is unlikely to pass. (The Hill reported that Republicans have prioritized two other abortion bills.) Still, Live Action was accused of timing its video releases to influence the vote, which the organization denied.

Related Topics:Abortion; Life Ethics; Politics
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