The anti-abortion rights group Live Action released today an undercover video claiming to reveal "illegal and inhuman practices" at an abortion clinic in New York City, and accused a doctor at the clinic of committing murder. The video reveals nothing of the sort, and actually undermines Live Action's baseless allegations that the clinic is performing illegal procedures and endangering the lives of patients.
Live Action and its founder, Lila Rose, have a long, disreputable history of perpetrating hoaxes and concocting false allegations against abortion rights supporters, Planned Parenthood in particular. This latest "undercover video" project is timed to coincide with the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortion provider facing multiple murder charges resulting from the monstrous and horrific procedures he is alleged to have carried out under the guise of women's reproductive health.
The Live Action video depicts a woman at Dr. Emily Woman's Health Center in the Bronx inquiring after an abortion in the 23rd week of her pregnancy -- a procedure that is legal in New York State. The woman speaks to both a clinician and a counselor at the facility, and the video is edited down to make it appear as though the clinician describes a procedure in which a baby that survives an abortion is killed using a toxic solution.
Based solely on this exchange, Live Action claimed that the doctor who performs abortions at the clinic "has violated" the state's law against murder in the first degree and called on the state's attorney general to launch a homicide investigation. But Live Action edited out from the video the portion in which the clinician makes clear that the situation they're talking about has never happened in her experience and the discussion is hypothetical, and the video shows the counselor explaining to the woman that the doctor would have to resuscitate the baby if that situation did occur.
Despite these flaws, the Live Action video has already been written up by the the New York Post, the Daily Caller, and Michelle Malkin's Hot Air. The story has spread to Fox News and will likely offer grist for other conservative outlets that have been using the Gosnell trial to attack legal abortion.
The anti-choice group Live Action has released the latest in its series of undercover videos that attempt to create the false impression that Planned Parenthood encourages sex-selective abortion. This video contains clips from two visits to Planned Parenthood clinics in Hawaii by a Live Action activist claiming she wants to have an abortion because the fetus is female. The Planned Parenthood counselors shown in the video do not encourage the activist to receive a sex-selective abortion. Rather, one counselor tells the activist that a woman's reasons for having an abortion are her own, which is in line with Planned Parenthood's stated policy, and the other is not shown discussing the activist's motives.
The video is part of an effort by Live Action and its founder Lila Rose to concoct a problem. Sex-selective abortion does not happen with any regularity in the United States. The fact is that most abortions are performed before the sex of the fetus can be determined. Furthermore, the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization, has written that "the U.S. sex ratio at birth in 2005 stood at 105 boys to 100 girls, squarely within biologically normal parameters."
The first encounter in the new video is introduced with the text, "Planned Parenthood provides a sex-selective abortion," but that's not what the video shows. It depicts a counselor in Maui telling the Live Action activist that the only way to be sure of the sex of a fetus is to have an ultrasound. The counselor also tells the activist that "it's really up to the patient whether -- I mean, everybody has their different reasons why they choose to have a termination and, of course, everybody's story matters. And if that's -- you know, if that's what you want to base your decision on, really, you know, it's really up to you."
The counselor goes on to say that while Planned Parenthood performs ultrasounds, it doesn't perform them for the purpose of determining gender and that the activist would have to go elsewhere to do so. The counselor also consoles the activist after she tells a story about a doctor showing disapproval of her reason for wanting an abortion.
The second video is introduced with the claim that "Planned Parenthood provides multiple sex-selective abortions." In fact, it shows a counselor telling the activist that it's "not healthy" to have abortions too frequently. The activist asks if it would be OK to have another abortion after a year, and the counselor tells her it would.
The next clip is labeled, "Planned Parenthood uses state funds to cover a sex-selective abortion." In reality, the activist is shown saying that she is disappointed the military will not pay for an abortion. After confirming that the military won't pay for abortions, the Planned Parenthood counselor points out that the woman can pay for an abortion out of her own pocket or through the state's Medicaid program, which would mean meeting several eligibility requirements.
Anti-choice activist Lila Rose's campaign to stoke fears that America faces an epidemic of sex-selection abortion sputtered once again, as Rose released another video that utterly failed to alter the fact that sex-selection abortion is not a growing problem.
Rose and her group, Live Action, released a video showing a woman posing as a patient at abortion clinics in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. As with Live Action's previous videos, the fake patients claim that they want to have an abortion because the fetus is female and discuss their options.
Live Action is trying to use these videos to distort the reality about sex-selective abortion in America -- facts show that it is rare:
Rose's barrage of videos has coincided with an effort by House Republicans to outlaw some abortions on the false premise that sex selection is widespread problem. The end result of the movement behind the legislation, which was voted down, would be to eliminate abortion rights entirely.
Earlier today, anti-choice activist Lila Rose and her group Live Action released a heavily edited video designed to falsely portray a Planned Parenthood employee as having helped an activist posing as a patient get an abortion because of the sex of the fetus. While the edited video includes less than seven minutes of clinic footage, the full video runs for a more than an hour, and the activist's encounter with the employee featured in the video lasts for more than 30 minutes.
So, what did Live Action edit out of the finished product? That the Planned Parenthood employee brought up the idea of giving the child up for adoption, that the employee declined to refer the activist to an OB/GYN who "would be understanding of [the activist's] situation," and that the employee repeatedly noted that the activist's decision about whether to have a sex-selective abortion would be hers alone.
Despite Live Action's suggestions in the edited video, at no point did the Planned Parenthood employee encourage the activist to undergo a sex-selective abortion.
A Fox News promo indicates that tonight's edition of The O'Reilly Factor will answer the question of whether journalists are conspiring to "silence" the manufactured attack on Planned Parenthood that is being ginned up by anti-choice activist Lila Rose and her group Live Action:
VOICEOVER: Press protection of Planned Parenthood? Has the media intentionally silenced the story about the group's gender-specific abortion counseling?
If "the media" -- in Foxspeak, that means "every outlet other than Fox" -- chooses not to cover Rose's videos, perhaps it's because there is no story. Statistics show that sex-selective abortion simply does not happen with any regularity in the United States, as the vast majority of abortions are performed before gender is detectable, and the gender birth ratio in America is close to even. The videos Live Action has released thus far do not show a pattern of Planned Parenthood encouraging women to have sex-selective abortions.
What's really at work here is the Fox Cycle. As we've documented, this is a strategy Fox News uses to help right-wing activists and fringe figures catapult bogus stories into mainstream outlets.
Anti-choice activist Lila Rose and her group Live Action have released an undercover video of an activist in New York City pretending to want to abort a fetus if it's not a male. This is part their effort to manufacture evidence that Planned Parenthood facilitates gender-based abortion -- even though statistics show that sex-selective abortion simply does not happen with any regularity in the United States, as the vast majority of abortions are performed before gender is detectable, and the gender birth ratio in America is close to even.
In the video, the activist tells an employee at a Planned Parenthood clinic that her fetus "looks like it's gonna be a girl, another girl," and "we'd really like to have a son." The employee gives the activist advice on prenatal care and testing, and she explains the services the clinic offers.
Despite Live Action's suggestion, at no point is the Planned Parenthood employee in the video shown encouraging the phony Live Action "patient" to undergo a sex-selective abortion -- in fact, the employee specifically states that "it's not up to us to decide what is a good or bad reason for somebody to decide to terminate a pregnancy."
This is in line with Planned Parenthood's stated policy: "no Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selective abortions (Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Illinois)."
Sex-selective abortion is not something that exists in real life in America to any notable degree. But you won't hear that from Lila Rose, who has declared it her mission to "take out Planned Parenthood." And don't expect to hear that from those in the right-wing media who uncritically hype Rose's hoax videos and dishonest activism, of whom Bill O'Reilly and Michelle Malkin are merely the latest.
Discredited anti-choice activist Lila Rose went on The O'Reilly Factor to push her latest hoax video attacking Planned Parenthood. Rose and host Bill O'Reilly want people to think that, in the words of Rose's group, Planned Parenthood is complicit in "widespread sex-selection by means of abortion." In fact, Planned Parenthood has stated that it "finds the concept of sex selection deeply unsettling" and the organization "does not offer sex determination services; our ultrasound services are limited to medical purposes."
Furthermore, Huffington Post reported that Planned Parenthood "condemns seeking abortions on the basis of gender, but its policy is to provide 'high quality, confidential, nonjudgmental care to all who come into' its health centers."
O'Reilly and Rose mentioned none of this. Instead, they aired footage from Rose's hoax video of a person walking into a Planned Parenthood office and pretending to be a patient. O'Reilly and Rose pretended that the actions of the employee were representative of the organization. O'Reilly even asked "Are we now China in this country? If Planned Parenthood is advising woman to abort because of gender choice, then we are China. And you should remember that the next time a politician or famous person endorses Planned Parenthood."
But Planned Parenthood has said that the staff member highlighted in the video was terminated "within three days of this patient interaction" and that "all staff members at this affiliate were immediately scheduled for retraining in managing unusual patient encounters."
Also unmentioned by O'Reilly and Rose is that fact that statistics show no evidence of systematic sex-selection abortion, since the majority of abortions are performed before the gender can be identified, and the gender-birth ratio in the United States is almost even.
Maybe that's because once the facts are known, Rose's and O'Reilly's attacks fall apart.
Planned Parenthood responded this morning to discredited conservative activist Lila Rose's bogus "gendercide" attack on the organization, stating that the staffer shown in the "hoax patient encounter" was fired after the incident and that the organization "condemns seeking abortions on the basis of gender." From The Huffington Post:
A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman told The Huffington Post on Tuesday the staffer in the video "did not follow our protocol" for dealing with "a highly unusual patient scenario."
"Planned Parenthood insists on the highest quality patient care, and if we ever become aware of a staff member not meeting these high standards we take swift action," she said in a written statement. "Within three days of this patient interaction, the staff member's employment was ended and all staff members at this affiliate were immediately scheduled for retraining in managing unusual patient encounters. Today opponents of Planned Parenthood are promoting an edited video of that hoax patient encounter."
This spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America also told The Huffington Post that the organization condemns seeking abortions on the basis of gender, but its policy is to provide "high quality, confidential, nonjudgmental care to all who come into" its health centers. That means that no Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selective abortions (Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Illinois).
In material accompanying the highly edited video, Live Action claimed that this proved Planned Parenthood is facilitating rampant "gendercide" in America. But statistics show that sex-selection does not happen with any regularity in the United States, as the vast majority of abortions are performed before gender is detectable, and the gender birth ratio in America is close to even.
Discredited anti-choice activist Lila Rose launched her latest video hoax, claiming that a highly edited video proves that Planned Parenthood is facilitating rampant "gendercide" in America. But statistics show that sex-selection simply does not happen with any regularity in the United States, as the vast majority of abortions are performed before gender is detectable, and the gender birth ratio in America is close to even.
Rose on Tuesday released undercover footage purporting to show a clinic worker in Austin, Texas, discussing health care options with a woman who claimed to want to terminate her pregnancy if she was carrying a girl. Live Action's accompanying petition suggests that Planned Parenthood is complicit in "Widespread sex-selection by means of abortion." This video hoax is part of a campaign aimed at "exposing the practice of sex-selective abortion in the United States and how Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry facilitate the selective elimination of baby girls in the womb."
But the first video demonstrates that Rose can show no such effort to facilitate rampant sex-selection abortion.
The Huffington Post reported on April 23 that Planned Parenthood has "reason to believe that anti-abortion activists are targeting it in a new organized sting operation" after a "string of suspicious incidents" at clinics across the country. According to the report, local clinics received "hoax visits" from women seeking "sex-selective abortions," putting Planned Parenthood officials on alert, especially after being the target of a deceptive smear campaign last year by anti-abortion activist group Live Action and its leader, Lila Rose.
While Live Action has not been connected to these recent incidents, in early 2011, Live Action released a video attempting to expose what the group described as "Planned Parenthood's cover-up of child sex trafficking." But that claim was quickly discredited after it was revealed that Planned Parenthood employees had already reported the "potential sex trafficking" incidents to law enforcement officials.
But despite Live Action's damaged reputation, conservative blog Big Government greeted the news of a possible new Live Action smear campaign by promoting the group's year-old, discredited charges, claiming the group "exposed victims" of "sex-trafficking."
From the April 24 Big Government post:
Planned Parenthood is worried that they may be targeted and outed again, this time for performing sex-selection abortions. They are accusing Lila Rose, the head of Live Action, the pro-life group that exposed victims of rape and sex-trafficking hiding their pregnancies by abortions through Planned Parenthood, of sending volunteers to various Planned parenthood clinics to ask about aborting a fetus because it's a girl.
Big Government's effort to promote a possible new Live Action smear campaign while hiding the group's past failures should come as no surprise. The blog heavily promoted similarly deceptive hidden-video campaigns by Rose's mentor, James O'Keefe, even after O'Keefe's accusations were debunked.
Lila Rose is back, accusing Planned Parenthood of lying about the effects a recent Indiana law would have on health-care access, without actually demonstrating anything of the sort.
Instead, Rose has demonstrated that Planned Parenthood's concerns - that women on Medicaid who rely on Planned Parenthood for preventive health care would lose that access under the Indiana law denying funds to Planned Parenthood - were accurate.
The video features Cecile Richards, CEO of Planned Parenthood, discussing Indiana's controversial law to withhold Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood during a June CNN interview. Richards explained that she has received letters from women saying, "I can't believe that the state legislature, or the U.S. Congress is going to tell me I can't get - where I've been going to Planned Parenthood for years for my preventive care, for my birth control - and they are telling me now that I can't go to the health provider that I trust for my health."
Immediately after airing those comments, Rose played what she says is a recorded phone call to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Terre Haute, Indiana, where a woman who claimed to be a Medicaid recipient tried to schedule a preventive health-care examination. A voice, identified as belonging to a Planned Parenthood clinic worker, responded:
Right now we can't see new Medicaid people, just with the new law that's going on right now.
She then directed the caller to contact a primary care physician.
To recap: Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards warned that women would not be able to go to Planned Parenthood for preventive care if they lost their funding. Rose claimed that she has "caught on tape" a Planned Parenthood worker in Indiana saying that because of the "new law," a Medicaid recipient cannot get preventive care at Planned Parenthood. She then presented this as evidence that Planned Parenthood has been lying.
This type of deception is par for the course with anti-abortion hoaxster Lila Rose. Of course, the usual cast of right-wing media characters are once again promoting Lila Rose's false smears of Planned Parenthood.
Why isn't Eric Holder's Justice Department investigating Planned Parenthood? Maybe because there's nothing to investigate.
A couple of weeks ago, Lila Rose penned a strange, thoroughly misleading letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to investigate Planned Parenthood's alleged complicity in the sex trafficking of minors. Of course, Rose's letter could cite only two pieces of "evidence." Exhibit A: A series of videos that do absolutely nothing to support her outlandish and irresponsible claims. Exhibit B: A letter from Planned Parenthood alerting law enforcement authorities of suspected sex trafficking. Whereas Exhibit A is completely irrelevant, Exhibit B completely undermines Rose's case. If Planned Parenthood were aiding and abetting sex trafficking, why would they report suspected sex trafficking to the FBI? Rose's response to that simple question was completely incoherent, and only underscored just how ludicrous her accusations her.
So in a development shocking to no sentient being, the Justice Department will not be prosecuting anyone based on Rose's little conspiracy theory. And Rose, rather than just letting it go, has decided to accuse the DoJ of "looking the other way."
But Rose isn't the only person who's mad that the DoJ for deciding to spend their time on actual law enforcement instead of right-wing witch hunts. Glenn Beck, who previously gave Rose a massive platform on which to lob hysterical falsehoods at Planned Parenthood, had this to say:
BECK: Let's take a look here at Lila Rose. Here she is exposing Planned Parenthood. And when she did this, US Attorney General Eric Holder -- who said he's not pursuing the voter intimidation case down in Philadelphia or the Defense of Marriage act, which is the law of the land -- also says the DOJ is not gonna pursue this one either. No, he's not going to.
If you want one last example of just how untethered from reality the right's Planned Parenthood smears have become, here's a doozy: Beck also said Planned Parenthood "doesn't mind helping a pimp impregnating a 13 year-old with taxpayer dollars." Good luck figuring out what that means -- not even Lila Rose has made any accusations like that.
Beck is furious with Eric Holder for opting to not play along with two fake scandals dreamed up by the conservative fringe: Live Action's attempted smear of Planned Parenthood and the manufactured New Black Panther case. He's even angrier because Holder won't enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, despite the fact that Holder actually will. But the actual facts in these cases are irrelevant. All that matters is that the Attorney General refuses to turn the Justice Department into the enforcement arm of the conservative movement.
Eric Bolling helped Lila Rose promote the falsehood that Live Action exposed Planned Parenthood covering up the sex trafficking of underage girls. Bolling ignored the fact that that Planned Parenthood had contacted the FBI to report the possibility that sex trafficking was occurring, which completely undermines Rose's claim that they are covering up sex abuse.
Glenn Beck devoted the February 18 edition of his Fox News show to promoting the false claim that Live Action's undercover videos showed Planned Parenthood abetting the sex trafficking of underage girls. Beck did not mention once during his hour-long show that, before any of the hoax videos were released, Planned Parenthood contacted the FBI to report the possibility that sex trafficking was occurring.
From the February 18 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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