Death and Taxes

A man working with the anti-abortion group Live Action has visited at least a dozen Planned Parenthood clinics around the country, including in Arizona, New Jersey and Alabama, to “prove” the group performs abortions on underage girls, preferring confidentiality to the law.

According to Planned Parenthood, the man has come into the clinics, and first asks for treatment for STDs. Once in a private session with an employee, he explains that he has underage, sex trafficked girls who need an abortion. His tapes “show” the employees agreeing to perform the procedure, “no questions asked.”

“In ten Planned Parenthood clinics, Live Action videos depict investigators posing as underage girls, as young as 13 years old, saying they were impregnated by men over twice their age,” the group’s found, Lila Rose, brags on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government website.

While Live Action tried to present these tapes as evidence for defunding the “corrupt” and “abusive” organization, Planned Parenthood Arizona CEO Bryan Howard told The Arizona Republic the tapes have been “highly edited” and were made solely to “embarrass us”.

And the most important detail: none of the Planned Parenthood clinics agreed to perform the hypothetical abortions. Instead, they notified the police of potential sex trafficking, while their national president, Cecile Richards, last week called on the FBI to launch a complete investigation.

Live Action desperately wants to take down Planned Parenthood, just one of the many campaigns currently underway to dismantle abortion, and are clearly inspired by James O’Keefe, the conservative activist who launched a “pimp sting” against controversial community organizing group ACORN.

O’Keefe can’t take all the credit for ACORN’s eventual demise, but his videos helped fuel opposition that ended up defunding the group, which eventually filed for bankruptcy and closed its doors. Live Action’s actions won’t be nearly as successful.

First of all, it’s clear Planned Parenthood has procedures in place to safeguard young women’s confidentiality, yes, but also safety. Second, the group’s onto Live Action, and will surely be on the lookout for suspicious appointments and activities. And then there’s FBI involvement, which makes Live Action’s campaign even more complicated.

But Live Action’s greatest hurdle comes thanks to their unspoken hero, O’Keefe: his videos “exposing” ACORN employees advising a pimp helped raise awareness of such tactics.

While conservatives like Breitbart and his followers may buy into the smoke and mirrors, the public, and its politicians, won’t take video, especially in the wake of Shirley Sherrod’s firing last year, at face value.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that Planned Parenthood is in the free and clear: conservative Republicans such as Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota are backing a bill to defund the abortion provider.

If such a bill becomes law, Live Action does, in fact, win, which is why those who believe in choice need to fight back with as much moxie and gusto possible. Live Action proves right wingers will do anything feasible to eradicate abortion in the United States, and their must be countered.

Not with the type of shenanigans and trickery Live Action obviously enjoys, but with cold, hard facts, like that “Obamacare” does not fund abortions, and pressure for Republicans to expand on why they’re backing legislation to redefine rape in order to make it harder for women to get abortions. The right has as a whole remained silent on this issue thus far. Perhaps because the know they’re wrong.

Here’s Live Action’s video of one of the attempted “stings:”