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.