When a man showed up at eight Planned Parenthood clinics in five states within five days, claiming that he ran an underage sex trafficking ring, Planned Parenthood reported it to the FBI. They also figured it was probably a “hoax” in which anti-abortion types were trying to catch clinic employees saying something damning on tape.
Planned Parenthood was right. Today, Live Action, an anti-abortion group run by James O’Keefe associate Lila Rose, posted a video it claims shows a Planned Parenthood employee in New Jersey instructing a “pimp” on how to get his underage and illegal immigrant sex workers STD testing and abortions.
According to Live Action, the man and a female companion are posing as a pimp and a prostitute. They ask the clinic employee about the legality of bringing 14- and 15-year-olds in for sexually transmitted disease testing and abortions. In the video, she apparently tells them that any sexual activity concerning a 14-year-old would have to be reported, and she told them where to go to get an abortion for someone that young without it being reported.
The video appears damning, but it’s also highly edited and you cannot see the man asking questions. Similar videos, including O’Keefe’s 2008 ACORN videos, eventually proved not to show any actual wrongdoing; they were edited to make it appear that way.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood said Live Action visited two Central New Jersey clinics on Jan. 13, including the one in the video. A spokesman for Planned Parenthood said that, immediately after the visits, clinic employees told their managers and called local law enforcement. It was not immediately clear, however, whether the woman in the video notified management or police.
The statement says “appropriate action is being taken” into the woman’s actions.
Planned Parenthood insists on the highest standards of care, and safeguards the trusted relationship we have with patients, families and communities. What appears on edited tapes made public today is not consistent with Planned Parenthood’s practices, and is under review. Phyllis Kinsler, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey (PPCNJ), has stated that, “the behavior of our employee, as portrayed on the video, if accurate, violates PPCNJ policies, as well as our core values of protecting the welfare of minors and complying with the law, and appropriate action is being taken.”
Live Action has not returned calls for comment.
The unedited video is not available. Live Action said in a release that it is sending the full footage to the FBI and state investigators.
After eight clinics reported the same strange visit within five days, Planned Parenthood reached out to the FBI, via a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, calling for an investigation into a potential sex trafficking ring. In the letter, Planned Parenthood notes that the visits had all the earmarks of a hoax.
The FBI reportedly opened an investigation, Planned Parenthood said.
A spokeswoman for the organization told TPM that at least some of the individual clinics also called local law enforcement when they received the visits.
At least one of Live Action’s campaigns against Planned Parenthood turned up actual wrongdoing. At a clinic in Indiana in 2009, an employee was fired and another resigned after Live Action released video of them saying they wouldn’t report it when Rose, posing as a 13-year-old, said her 31-year-old boyfriend impregnated her.