A series of undercover videos from the pro-life organization Live Action have uncovered Planned Parenthood (PP) workers abetting sex trafficking. On Feb. 1, Live Action released a video showing a Planned Parenthood manager at a facility in New Jersey giving a man and woman, two actors posing as a pimp and prostitute, advice on how to manage the operation while obtaining abortion, contraception, and STD testing services for underage prostitutes. Days before the video was released, Planned Parenthood claimed that they suspected that Live Action had launched a sting operation against them and that they had asked the FBI to investigate several visits by a man that was sometimes accompanied by a woman claiming to run an underage sex ring.
The video shows Amy Woodruff, the manager of Planned Parenthood Central New Jersey’s Perth Amboy facility, warning the pimp and his prostitute to have teenage prostitutes to lie about their age to avoid mandatory reporting laws and counselled them: “even if they lie, just say, ‘Oh he’s the same age as me, 15…’ it’s just that mainly 14 and under we have to, doesn’t matter if their partner’s the same age, younger, whatever, 14 and under we have to report.” She continued: “for the most part, we want as little information as possible.”
She said if trafficked girls seek an abortion, their facility would refer to another place where the “protocols aren’t as strict as ours and they don’t get audited in the same way that we do.”
Woodruff also advised the individual posing as a pimp that he could acquire inexpensive contraception by claiming his prostitutes were students, saying “if they’re minors, put down that they’re students. Yeah, just kind of play along that they’re students – we want to make it look as legit as possible.”
The full video was released after some critics noted what they saw as “heavy editing” of the excerpted footage. It did not dramatically change the context and within a day of its release, the manager at the New Jersey facility was fired, even though PP stated that the manager duly reported the incident to them the same day of the visit. “We were profoundly shocked when we viewed the videotape this morning, which depicted an employee of one of our health centers behaving in a repugnant manner that is inconsistent with our standards of care,” said Phyllis Kinsler, CEO of Planned Parenthood New Jersey.
Planned Parenthood refused to debate Live Action president Lila Rose on CNN on Feb. 2, though Stuart Shear, vice president of PP communications, said in a follow-up on the same network that Live Action was “an extreme political group” that wanted “to take away health care from women.” The videos were also covered on Fox News, CBS, and in the Washington Times.
Live Action uploaded their video to YouTube, the video sharing website. YouTube threatened to remove the video unless it was edited to address “privacy concerns.” Google, however, announced it would leave the video up.
The videos helped buttress the efforts of congressmen Mike Pence (R, Indiana.) and Sean Duffy (R. Wisconsin) who were already calling for the withdrawal of federal funding for PP, which currently receives more than $300 million per year. Both referenced their videos in their public statements about PP.
Soon after, Live Action released another video where actors stage a similar scenario in a facility in Richmond, Virginia. “Our new video shows their Richmond clinic willing to aid and abet the sexual exploitation of minors and coaching a pimp about how girls as young as 14 – 15 could circumvent parental consent laws for secret abortions…the clinic worker admits they do this ‘once or twice a month,’” said Lila Rose in a LifeSiteNews.com news release.
On Feb. 6, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli told a local CBS affiliate that “it’s appalling that anyone so blithely would talk about the sex trafficking of minors and be willing to lie to help accomplish it.”
Afterwards, five more videos were released showing PP employees helping in sex trafficking including three from Virginia, one in New York, and another in Washington, D.C. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America claimed that the videos were “doctored” even though the full versions have been posted for each. Specifically, Shear claimed the New York employees told FBI agents they did not hear the pimp mention “sex work.” Nevertheless, the organization launched a retraining program for employees for reporting abuse.
In a LifeSiteNews op-ed, Rose pointed out PP also called for retraining after it got caught in a December 2008 video hiding the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old in a video sting operation in Minnesota. “Clearly, that re-training (whatever it was) didn’t last very long,” she writes.