Video ››› ››› BRADLEY HERRING
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When the anti-abortion rights propagandists at Live Action began releasing their Planned Parenthood smear videos earlier this week, we explained that their claim that Planned Parenthood was covering-up "child sex trafficking" was clearly a lie.
That's because way back on January 18, Planned Parenthood's president wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder about the incidents and requested an FBI investigation into the possibility that "an individual or individuals are engaged in activities that violate several federal criminal statutes relating to sex trafficking involving minors."
So Planned Parenthood obviously wasn't covering up anything; they were fulfilling their obligation to keep children safe.
We also warned that media should be skeptical about the heavily edited video footage released by Live Action.
As it turns out, we were right to raise concerns.
Yesterday, Live Action released a video that it claimed showed a Richmond, Virginia, Planned Parenthood's supposed "willingness to aid and abet sexual exploitation of minors."
In reality, it showed nothing of the sort. ABC News reported that the Planned Parenthood employee "appears to act professionally and appropriately" and that "[l]egal experts ... said the clinic worker's advice on how a minor could obtain an abortion without her parents' consent is consistent with state law." According to Planned Parenthood, the employee "immediately notified her supervisor, who subsequently notified members of Planned Parenthood's national security team, who are working with the FBI, which is investigating these visits."
But Live Action also appears to have doctored the audio of its Richmond "sting," moving audio from one portion of their video to a different portion.
Andrew Breitbart and his lackeys are crowing over Planned Parenthood's firing of Amy Woodruff, because it proves ... well, I'm not exactly sure what it proves. That they don't condone her behavior?
Here's Breitbart himself on Twitter arguing that the fact that Planned Parenthood fired the employee shown in Lila Rose's videos somehow supports Rose's hoax claiming that Planned Parenthood tried to cover up sex trafficking:
Lila Rose's James-O'Keefe-lite smear against Planned Parenthood has made its way onto daytime Fox News.
On today's edition of America Live, host Megyn Kelly hosted a debate over the video between the Family Research Council's Cathy Cleaver Ruse and syndicated talk show host Nancy Skinner. Before starting the debate, Kelly noted that Planned Parenthood did, in fact, alert the law enforcement about suspected sex trafficking. This, Ruse said, was entirely beside the point.
Here's the video:
KELLY: Cathy, let me start with you. Why does this pose a problem? Planned Parenthood has already come out and said, "We are the ones who caught on to the fact that something was amiss in these clinics and we are the ones who alerted the federal authorities to this problem."
RUSE: Well, Megyn, they're just trying to change the subject
Really? That's weird. Because I thought Planned Parenthood's response to suspected sex trafficking was the subject. Rose's whole thesis was that Planned Parenthood is willing to cover up child prostitution instead of reporting it to the proper authorities. Her hoax exposed, the fringe right-wing activist is now taking to Big Government to similarly brush aside the actual actions of Planned Parenthood.
If what Planned Parenthood did -- that is, alerting the FBI and quickly firing Woodruff -- doesn't satisfy Ruse, what will? It's almost like she'll take any excuse, no matter how tenuous, to slam the organization.
Yesterday, right wing website Live Action broke a story attacking Planned Parenthood after 22-year-old president of the organization, Lila Rose, released an undercover video seeking to demonstrate that Planned Parenthood engages in criminal activities.
Predictably, right-wing blogs have seized on the video to accuse Planned Parenthood of all sorts of atrocities. What these blogs failed to report, however, is that over two weeks ago and well before Live Action's video was released, Planned Parenthood reported this incident and other similar incidents to authorities.
In a so-called "sting" video professional hit artist Lila Rose claims to have uncovered evidence of systemic corruption within Planned Parenthood to cover up "child sex trafficking." Not only do Planned Parenthoods recent actions flatly contradict that claim -- so does the content of the video itself.
In fact, even if we were to assume that Rose's heavily edited smear job is accurate - and there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical - the video very clearly establishes that the alleged wrongdoing is counter to Planned Parenthood policy: the employee on Rose's tape makes it clear that the actions in question would have to be concealed from others at the organization.
Even before Rose released the edited tapes, Planned Parenthood had already reported the "potential sex trafficking" to law enforcement officials.
In the video released today, Amy Woodruff, the office manager at the Planned Parenthood in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, talks to two Live Action employees who were apparently disguised as a pimp and a prostitute. Here she is counseling them on Planned Parenthood's legal obligation to report possible statutory rape cases (2:24 in the video):
Today, anti-abortion rights propagandist Lila Rose released her latest in a series of heavily edited videos seeking to demonstrate that Planned Parenthood engages in criminal activities. Rose's organization, Live Action, claims their video exposes what they call "Planned Parenthood's cover-up of child sex trafficking."
Except that isn't what the video shows at all.
Rather, the Live Action video shows edited comments made by a single Planned Parenthood employee. Live Action has so far refused to publicly release the full video of the incident, instead posting what the organization itself admits is an "abridged 11-minute video." (Live Action claims they are "sending full footage" to law enforcement officials.) [UPDATE: Live Action subsequently released what they say is the full video.]
Is Live Action accurately portraying the Planned Parenthood employee's statements and actions? It's impossible to say for sure without the full video, but there is good reason for media to be skeptical. Lila Rose, after all, began infiltrating abortion clinics in collaboration with James O'Keefe -- a convicted criminal who repeatedly lied about his heavily edited ACORN videos. Rose herself has a history of smearing the subjects of her videos.
But even if Live Action's video doesn't take the employee out of context, the incident obviously doesn't show Planned Parenthood covering up child sex trafficking. That's because Planned Parenthood has already reported the "potential sex trafficking" to law enforcement officials.
On January 24, Planned Parenthood released the following statement, titled "Planned Parenthood Informs Federal Authorities of Potential Sex Trafficking" [emphasis in original]: