As predicted, after a dozen strange visits to Planned Parenthood clinics across the country, the anti-abortion group Live Action yesterday released a video (then an unedited version) that purports to catch a Planned Parenthood staffer at a New Jersey clinic aiding a child sex trafficker. As I wrote on Monday, the video release is well-timed to anti-abortion efforts in Congress.
First, the charge that the video is exposing a “cover-up” is laughable because Planned Parenthood alerted the FBI to the possibility of a sex-trafficking ring more than a week before the videos were released. Several of the clinics who received visits reported the incident to local authorities (it’s unclear if the New Jersey clinic in the video did so). There was never a cover-up.
Live Action believes that the video footage proves that Planned Parenthood condones child sex trafficking because, I’m guessing, the New Jersey staffer humored the pimp and his female companion rather than throwing them out. The next few days will reveal more needed details, but the video shows a staffer responding to a specific situation by offering advice on helping young girls, not actually doing anything. When the man asked if he could “slide you like what, a 100, 200” to treat the girls, she demurred. While it’s pretty obvious from the video that the visit was a hoax, the staffer asked the sorts of questions she might use to catch the guy later; questions about their location and asking them to text her on her cell a few days prior to coming in. But again, whatever the individual staffer did, Planned Parenthood immediately alerted federal authorities.
There have been snickers on the left at what a failure this is for Live Action since Planned Parenthood reported the incident and we all knew a video was coming. But the Breitbart-Fox noise machine doesn't need facts to call Obama a socialist, or foresee death panels, or blame the housing crisis on a community housing organization. (ACORN, which fell for a similar ruse, wasn't rescued when it came out that similar videos from similar activists were highly edited. It still lost funding from Congress.) Likewise, simple facts won't present a problem in starting a smear campaign against Planned Parenthood. Already a New Jersey state senator is calling for an investigation.
If it turns out the staffer was trying to help the pimp, then she was caught trying to help care for young sex slaves. If the staffer was caught doing anything illegal (in the case of ACORN, the only person who possibly broke the law was the the guy with the video camera), it was because she was tricked into offering services to someone in need, as she was trained to do. The war against abortion -- from long-standing restrictions on Medicaid funding for abortions to the new restrictions currently making their way through Congress -- is a war against access to reproductive health services for poor women. Planned Parenthood exists to counter that war. If there was wrongdoing, it was in the service of helping society’s most helpless, not exploiting them.
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