The past couple weeks have been difficult for supporters of legal abortion. Unplanned, a book by Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director, has quickly become a bestseller. Last week, Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell was charged with eight counts of murder for using scissors to kill babies delivered alive in his abortion mill. His clinic was described by regulators as a “filthy, foul-smelling house of horrors.” Last Monday’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., attracted a large and enthusiastic crowd. And yesterday, Live Action Films released that undercover video which shows a Planned Parenthood clinic in New Jersey willing to assist a pimp whose prostitutes are minors — in some cases as young as 14.
Planned Parenthood has always enjoyed a positive reputation among the general public. For a long time, it seemed as if pro-life activists were the only ones who were aware that Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider. Furthermore, previous efforts to sway public opinion against Planned Parenthood met with only mixed success. Life Dynamics of Denton, Texas, did record a series of phone calls which showed that many Planned Parenthood clinics were willing to ignore parental-involvement laws. However, nothing has had the impact of the undercover videos shot by Lila Rose of Live Action Films.
These films have quickly gone viral on the Internet. They have shown a Planned Parenthood clinic worker willing to accept a donation specifically earmarked to abort a black baby, a Planned Parenthood willing to violate parental-involvement laws, and a Planned Parenthood unwilling to report statutory rape when an underage girl admits to engaging in sexual activity with a man in his 30s. Now, these episodes of misconduct are all both damaging and instructive. However, in some cases they can be viewed as either lapses in judgment (albeit very serious ones) or (very) misguided attempts to assist minors facing difficult situations.
This week’s Live Action video is easily their most powerful. In this video, a Planned Parenthood office manager literally spends about ten minutes finding ways to aid and assist a pimp who clearly admits that his employees include underage girls. A simple phone call to the police might have succeeded in shutting down this whole prostitution ring. However, instead the office manager cheerfully provides the pimp with information about abortion services, contraception, and medical exams. Even more disturbing, when asked about underage girls, the clinic manager gives him information about another abortion clinic “whose protocols are not as strict as ours.” She warns about and callously insults a Planned Parenthood nurse who has an interest in following the rules. The clinic manager admits that she is ‘cool’ with the pimp and offers to rearrange her schedule to help “streamline” the process.
Obviously, there are many implications from this video. One hopes that New Jersey (and other states) will improve their regulation of Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics, and that this will give some momentum to congressional efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. However, what is most striking is the calm and nonchalant way the clinic director behaves toward someone purportedly running an underage prostitution ring. Unlike some other Planned Parenthood employees captured in previous videos, she never once expresses the slightest bit of skepticism or concern. The presence of legal abortion has always facilitated a promiscuous culture. However, allowing people to see the lengths that Planned Parenthood will go to defend and actually encourage illegal and perverted sexual activities might be the most valuable contribution of this undercover video.
–- Michael New is an assistant professor at the University of Alabama and a fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J.