Planned Parenthood Manager Fired Over Video. LiveAction Still Blew It

By Art Gallagher

Amy Woodruff, the office manager of the Perth Amboy Planned Parenthood office caught on tape cooperating with people she believed to be engaged in underage prostitution and sex trafficking, by pro-life activists from LiveAction.org, has been fired, according to a report in the Star Ledger.

LiveAction has been subject to criticism for releasing an edited abridged version of their undercover video. In response, they have released the entire video which can be viewed here.

Yet releasing the full video of the Perth Amboy undercover visit does not tell the whole story.  Nor does it absolve LiveAction of its well deserved criticism.  LiveAction and their leader, Lila Rose, set their cause back with this stunt.

LiveAction’s undercover “reporters” visited Planned Parenthood offices in five states and the District of Columbia as part of their sting, including the Shrewsbury office which was visited on January 13.  Planned Parenthood informed the FBI and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder of the suspected sex trafficking ring.  They issued a statement to the effect that they had sought an FBI probe .  The Associated Press ran a story on January 24 which quoted Rose implying that sex trafficking ring was indeed her undercover reporters:

Lila Rose, Live Action’s founder and president, described Planned Parenthood’s assertion as “very interesting.” She declined to confirm or deny that the clinic visits were part of a Live Action operation, but did indicate in a telephone interview that an undercover videotape project of some sort was in the works.

“The story that speaks loudest will be in the evidence,” she said. “I can’t comment until we release the visual evidence.”

The evidence is that Planned Parenthood did the right thing by reporting the suspected sex trafficking ring to the authorities.   Rose’s response should not have been “very interesting.”  It should have been to come clean and inform the FBI of her organization’s operation. Law enforcement resources could have (should have) been diverted from real threats to investigate Planned Parenthood’s report.  Lives could have been lost or real sex traffickers could have victimized additional children or adult female slaves due to Rose’s recklessness.

Planned Parenthood will win the PR war over this stunt.  That is very unfortunate, as Rose’s cause, to prevent taxpayer funding of abortions, is a good one.  

Rose and LiveAction  have damaged their credibility and that of other pro-life organizations that blindly accepted and promoted the stunt.  Conservatives must resist the tempation to adopt left wing methods to advance our cause.  To do so makes us no better than the lefties who attempted to blame the Arizonia shootings on conservative hate speech.  

Undercover investigations are appropriate.  But when your cover is blown and/or your target does the right thing, the battle has already been lost.  In this case, the battle was lost and the cause was damaged.

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Live Action, Planned Parenthood | Tags: , , | 7 Comments »

Update On LiveAction Video

Media Matters calls video a HOAX.  Says Planned Parenthood already alerted federal authorities of a suspected sex trafficing ring.

The “otherside” of the story, per Media Matters:

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.)

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]:

Last week, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) alerted federal authorities to a potential multistate sex trafficking ring.  Over a five day period, visitors to Planned Parenthood health centers in six states said they were seeking information from Planned Parenthood about health services Planned Parenthood could provide to underage girls who were part of a sex trafficking ring.  Subsequent to alerting U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Planned Parenthood learned the identify of one of those involved and believes these visits are likely a hoax by opponents of legal abortion seeking to discredit Planned Parenthood, which delivers preventive health care and abortion services to three million women each year.

Men, sometimes accompanied by a woman, have visited at least 11 Planned Parenthood health centers in six states within a one-week time frame.  During their visits, they claimed to be involved in sex trafficking of teens, some of whom are in the United States illegally.  These men appeared at health centers without appointments and said that they were seeking health services for themselves, but they quickly turned the conversation to the sex ring they said they were managing.  

“When Planned Parenthood learns of an operation that exploits young women, we vigilantly work with law enforcement authorities to uncover and stop this abhorrent activity,” said Stuart Schear, PPFA vice president for communications.  “Planned Parenthood’s top priority is the health and safety of our patients and the health and well-being of women and teens across the country, and we have been in contact with federal and local authorities to identify the persons involved in these visits.”

One of the men involved in these visits has now been identified, and he appears to be associated with or influenced by Live Action, an anti-Planned Parenthood organization that uses surreptitious videotaping and manipulative editing for media and political campaigns.  The pattern of these visits and the highly unusual nature of the information being shared with staff lends credibility to the possibility that these multistate visits are part of this organization’s ongoing effort to “bring down” Planned Parenthood, a nearly 100-year-old organization with more than 800 health centers from coast to coast.  Live Action is associated with James O’Keefe, the conservative activist who was arrested for attempting to wiretap the offices of Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

In recent years Planned Parenthood has been the target of activists attempting to portray the organization negatively by secretly videotaping inside health centers and publicizing heavily edited versions of those tapes to the media.  Recent incidents are the first time that such visitors have told Planned Parenthood staff that they are involved in sex trafficking of minor girls.

“If a multistate sex trafficking operation is in place, those responsible must be pursued to stop the exploitation of girls and young women,” said Schear.  “If these visits are part of a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign, they must be condemned.  Falsely claiming sex trafficking to health professionals to advance a political agenda is an astoundingly cynical form of political activity.”

All Planned Parenthood staff have been alerted to the suspicious visits, and Planned Parenthood is working with FBI investigators and local authorities.

Last week, the AP reported that “Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder summarizing the visits and requesting an FBI investigation. If the man’s assertions were true, she wrote, they would indicate possible violations of federal laws dealing with interstate sex trafficking of minors. … Schear said there had been some preliminary contacts with the FBI, which was asking for information from the clinics that were visited.”

Planned Parenthood reported the potential sex trafficking to the Attorney General and the FBI. So clearly, Planned Parenthood wasn’t trying to cover anything up.  

Posted: February 1st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Planned Parenthood | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »