Who Is Lila Rose?

Conservative activist and Breitbart promoted videographer Lila Rose has presented heavily edited video she claims proves Planned Parenthood is engaging in systemic criminal activities. Media Matters reviews her history with discredited right-wing activist James O'Keefe and her fringe political activism.

Lila Rose Earned Her Video Sting Stripes With James O'Keefe At UCLA

Lila Rose Is Currently A Student Activist At UCLA And President Of The Pro-Life Group Live Action. According to her bio on the Live Action website, Lila Rose is the founder and president of the organization and a student activist at UCLA. [LiveAction.org, accessed 2/1/11]

2006: Lila Rose And “James O'Keefe Came Up With The Idea To Infiltrate Clinics.” According to the Los Angeles Times:

In fall 2006, when she was a UCLA freshman, she and fellow conservative activist James O'Keefe came up with the idea to infiltrate clinics. Rose, by e-mail, and O'Keefe, in a phone interview, said they were inspired by the work of Mark Crutcher, a Texas antiabortion activist who in 2002 taped fake calls to hundreds of Planned Parenthood clinics around the country featuring women posing as pregnant minors. [Los Angeles Times, 4/26/09]

Rose And O'Keefe “Received Criticism” For Their Deceptive Tactics, Which O'Keefe Called “Justified.” The Los Angeles Times reported:

O'Keefe, 24, said he and Rose have received criticism from some of their associates for using deception. “It's a pretty complicated ethical issue,” he said, “but we believe there is a genocide and nobody cares, and you can use these tactics and it's justified.” Rose and O'Keefe visited their first clinic -- UCLA's Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center -- in 2006. They videotaped an employee telling them “some pretty bad things,” said O'Keefe, including that the fetus is a collection of cells. “That's what set us in motion.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/26/09]

Rose Has A History Of Outrageous Opinions

Rose Called For Abortions To Be Carried Out “In The Public Square.” From the Huffington Post:

Anti-abortion activist Lila Rose said at last weekend's Value Voters Summit that as long as abortions are legal, they should be “done in the public square,” thus disgusting people into action. And then “we might hear angels singing as we ponder the glory of conception.” [Huffington Post, 9/22/09]

Rose Compared Herself To Martin Luther King Jr. From CNN's documentary, “Right on the Edge”:

BOUDREAU: She promotes her organization live action.

ROSE: I get concerned sometimes because I want to say everything in the best way and I want to really communicate what I - what I know to be true.

Thank you.

Martin Luther King, Jr. brought him a letter and he said the world is in dire need of creative extremists. And that is a call for all of us here today that the world is in dire need of young people, especially, who will think creatively, think courageously.

BOUDREAU (on camera): You said something about being a creative extremist.

ROSE: Yes. Yes.

BOUDREAU: And what exactly do you mean by that.

ROSE: Exactly what Martin Luther King, Jr. meant when he wrote it in a letter in Framingham Jail, and those people that I were thought to be extremists will be seen as the streaking (ph) in life advocate. Just as Martin Luther King, Jr. who was thought to be an extremist is now recognized as hero.

BOUDREAU: Lila hopes to one day produce movies or better yet be an actress. But for now, she's happy being an activist. [CNN, 10/3/10, emphasis added]

Rose, O'Keefe Inspired By Mark Crutcher

Crutcher Made Connections Between Slavery, Eugenics, And Abortion. Mark Crutcher, “a white abortion opponent in Denton, Tex.” wrote and directed a documentary alleging that slavery still exists in the guise of abortion, making “connections among slavery, Nazi-style eugenics, birth control and abortion.” [New York Times, 2/26/10; MAAFA21.com, accessed 2/1/11, Slate, 3/12/10]

For more on Lila Rose's inspiration, Mark Crutcher, click HERE.

Rose Has Spent Her Time At UCLA Fighting Against Planned Parenthood

Rose Launched The Rosa Acuna Project To Document Planned Parenthood's “Use Of Unscientific And Fabricated Medical Information To Convince Women To Have Abortions.” From the Live Action website:

The “Rosa Acuna Project” is a multi-state undercover investigation documenting Planned Parenthood's use of unscientific and fabricated medical information to convince women to have abortions. A series of hidden camera videos shot in clinics across the United States reveals the exploitative tactics abortion doctors and clinicians employ to conceal the truth about abortion from women who most need honest and accurate information. Leading embryologists have denounced Planned Parenthood's conduct caught on tape as “erroneous and scientifically absurd.” [LiveAction.org, accessed 2/1/11]

Rose: "Abortion Is Truly Impacting, Devastating The African American Community And Planned Parenthood Is Behind That." From the March 30, 2008, edition of Fox News' Hannity's America:

ROSE: Seventy-nine percent of their clinics are in minority neighborhoods. And an African American baby is almost as likely to be aborted because of this as it is to be born. Abortion is truly impacting, devastating the African American community and Planned Parenthood is behind that.

All seven states which was the extent of the investigation did not hang up the phone despite his racist request. Instead they agreed to process his donation which would target an African-American woman or they said they would get back to him to find a way to do so.

HANNITY: In a statement to the FOX NEWS Channel, the organization explained, quote, “Planned Parenthood's mission is deeply rooted in the philosophy of equality for all and our doors are open to everyone. Planned Parenthood firmly and unequivocally denounces racial bias in the delivery healthcare. Two local employees violated the organization's principles and practices when they responded to deceptive calls from a political opponent who posed as a racist donor and secretly taped the conversations. It is clear these employees made serious mistakes and we apologize again for they way this was handled.” [Fox News' Hannity's America, 3/30/08, accessed via Nexis]

Rose: Planned Parenthood Funding Should Be Cut Because “The Economy Isn't Doing Too Well And We're Looking To Cut Government Spending.” From an interview on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

ROSE: This is common. This is widespread and has been going on for years, the cover-up of sexual abuse of young girls. Young girls go into these Planned Parenthoods needing help, looking for help. And they're given a bag of condoms. They're given an abortion and sent right back into the arms of the abuser.

This is happening. I've seen it myself personally in dozens of clinics across the country. I've seen it in Los Angeles. I visited two Los Angeles Planned Parenthoods when I was a freshman. I found the coverup and sexual abuse then. This is a national problem. And this organization receives almost -- over $300 million a year in government money.

O'REILLY: Yes, for the money, too.

ROSE: Taxpayers.

O'REILLY: Right, right, for reproductive activities.

ROSE: And their choice of.

O'REILLY: OK now, you're a college student in California, right?

ROSE: That's right.

O'REILLY: And you've been doing this. Why? Why do you do this?

ROSE: Well, it's my passion. It's -- the group of students and I, we do this work together to investigate Planned Parenthood and hold them accountable for these crimes. They are receiving this huge chunk of money and especially in these economic times, where the economy isn't doing too well and we're looking to cut government spending. [Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, 12/4/08, accessed via Nexis]

Rose Has Benefitted From Right-Wing Support

Rose Has Appeared On O'Reilly Factor, The Glenn Beck Show, And Other Conservative Television And Radio Programs. According to her bio on the Live Action website:

A frequent guest on radio and television programs, Lila has been featured on The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity's America, The Glenn Beck Show, EWTN, and The Laura Ingraham Show. Numerous newspapers and blogs have also covered her work, including feature pieces by Reuters, the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, and National Review. The Associated Press and UPI frequently publish stories on Live Action's work, and Lila speaks at national and international pro-life events. [LiveAction.org, accessed 2/1/11]

Rose Has Benefited From The “Generous Assistance” Of “Powerful Players” On The Right. As reported by AlterNet:

Steeped in conservative Christian politics, Rose has already benefited from the generous assistance of powerful players like communications firm The Leadership Institute, a high-powered conservative Christian legal organization, and a well-known DC-based Public Relations firm. She was the recipient of Operation Rescue's 2008 Person of the Year Malachi Award, and her campaign at UCLA to urge administrators to cut ties with Planned Parenthood received the endorsement of Dr. Alveda King, the ultra-conservative niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. [AlterNet, 6/24/09]

Rose Received A $50,000 Grant From The Pro-Life Gerard Health Foundation. From IPS North America:

These days, Rose, who has received considerable publicity from anti-abortion media outlets, is surrounded by a veteran group of conservative supporters. Last September she was a featured speaker at the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit.

The Alliance Defence Fund, a Christian legal group, has given her free legal advice; she is receiving support from the Washington, D.C.-based CRC Public Relations, a conservative PR firm that played a role in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign that targeted Democrat John F. Kerry during the 2004 presidential race.

Earlier this year, Rose received 50,000 dollars as a winner of the Gerard Health Foundation's inaugural Life Prizes awards. The foundation is a Massachusetts-based charity founded by Raymond Ruddy, a Catholic businessman who has funded antiabortion campaigns and abstinence-only sex education projects. [IPSNorthAmerica.net, 5/28/09]

Rose Has Received Free Legal Counsel From The Alliance Defense Fund. As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

David French, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group, gave her free advice when Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles threatened action, and appeared at her side during an interview with conservative TV talk-show host Bill O'Reilly. She also receives guidance from CRC Public Relations, a Washington-area firm that represents conservative clients and had a hand in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign that targeted Democrat John F. Kerry during the 2004 presidential race. [Los Angeles Times, 4/26/09]

  • ADF Was Founded By Leaders Of Christian Right To Pursue A Conservative Political Agenda. As Media Matters previously reported, the ADF was founded by influential leaders of the Christian Right to pursue a conservative political agenda. According to their website, ADF focuses on three main issues: “Guarding the Sanctity of Human Life,” “Protecting Family Values,” and “Defending Religious Freedom.” [Media Matters, 10/14/05]

Rose Is A Well-Known, Active Anti-Choice Personality On The Right

Rose Was A Featured Speaker At Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit. As reported by Public Eye Magazine:

At September's Values Voter Summit, an annual religious Right gathering convened by the FRC Action arm of the Family Research Council, Lila Rose appeared as an emerging star. Introduced to the audience as “a young Sarah Palin,” Rose touched on the Right's anti-Planned Parenthood themes, both new and old, favorably quoting the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the socialist organizer Saul Alinsky (whose socialist methods Palin accused Barack Obama of appropriating) along the way. The speech was tightly crafted, and Rose's performance evoked the stilted timing and preciousness of a child actor.

She said she received an e-mail from Mary-Jane Wagle, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles, threatening legal action against Rose's group if the undercover footage of her sting at the L.A. clinic was not removed. Rose said, “I remember sitting wide-eyed at my computer, startled by the realization that Planned Parenthood, the billion-dollar corporation and number-one leader of abortions in America, was afraid.” She paused apparently expecting a response, and when no applause came, she let out a girlish laugh, as if amazed at her own power in the face of the mighty giant. On cue, the crowd roared its approval. According to Rose, the Alliance Defense Fund represented her and the L.A. Planned Parenthood ultimately did not file a lawsuit against her or Live Action. [PublicEye.org, accessed 2/1/11]

Rose Founded The Pro-Life Student Magazine The Advocate. From Rose's bio on the Live Action Website:

In fall 2006, as a freshman at UCLA, Lila founded the pro-life student magazine The Advocate, administered through the new UCLA student chapter of Live Action. The Advocate has since gone national and is distributed at over 80 different high school and college campuses across the country with a circulation of nearly 100,000. [LiveAction.org, accessed 2/1/11]

Lila Rose And James O'Keefe Collaborated To Get Planned Parenthood Staff To Agree That There Are “Too Many Black People”

Rose And Advocate “Advisor” Tried To Get Planned Parenthood Official To Agree “There's Way Too Many Black People In Ohio.” From a 2008 article in The Advocate, a pro-life student magazine founded by Rose:

Over the summer, The Advocate investigated the financial dealings of Planned Parenthood and made some shocking discoveries about the clinic-owning “nonprofit.” We obtained the information by having an actor call clinics across the country and pose as a donor. The actor who called, The Advocate's advisor, communicated to them a very racist agenda--the one that Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood's founder, had envisioned. He then asked to donate money specifically for the abortions of African-American babies in order to “lower the number of blacks in America. [The Advocate, Winter 2008]

Rose Identified James O'Keefe As Advocate Advisor.


Advisor: “There's Definitely Way Too Many Black People In Ohio, So I Am Just Trying To Do My Part.”


Public Eye: Rose Orchestrated A Similar Scheme In 2006. The magazine Public Eye reports:

In 2006, Rose deployed an actor to call Planned Parenthood clinics posing as a racist donor offering to fund abortions sought by African-American women.2 Live Action secretly recorded the phone calls, then incorporated them into videos posted on YouTube. (YouTube removed several of those videos for “inappropriate content,” presumably to avoid any legal issues arising from the manner in which the material was obtained.)

While Rose is quick to note in public remarks that none of the affiliates contacted by Live Action “on that first day of calling” turned down the money, she cited only two instances in her speech last year to a right-wing gathering in Washington, D.C., where the caller made clear his racist motivation--that his earmarked donation was designed to help reduce the number of “Black kids” on “the streets.”3 She did not say how many affiliates were contacted “on that first day,” or the total number ultimately called. And she referred not to an actor making the calls, but an activist.

Ken Blackwell, Ohio's former secretary of state and an African-American, was then running for governor. He called for a congressional investigation into the result of a call made to a Planned Parenthood office in Columbus, in which a receptionist replied “Okay,” when the caller said there were “definitely way too many Black people in Ohio.”4 After losing the gubernatorial race to Democrat Ted Strickland, Blackwell joined the Family Research Council staff. At press time, with the backing of the right-wing umbrella group the National Center for Policy Analysis, he was vying for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee. [Public Eye, Spring 2009]