Jamilah King at ColorLines highlights the effort of an anti-abortion group called Live Action to "O-Keefe" Planned Parenthood -- that is, to try to catch employees on video cooperating with someone posing as a sex worker the way conservative activist James O'Keefe did with ACORN.
According to the report, the man has visited several clinics this month and requested information about services for sex workers, some of whom he said are under 18 and may be undocumented. While the FBI’s investigation is just beginning, an internal inquiry done by the organization itself linked the unidentified man to Live Action, an anti-abortion group that’s targeted Planned Parenthood in the past.
The accusations were all but confirmed by Live Action founder and president Lila Rose, who called the assertion “very interesting,” according to a report in the Washington Post. Rose also noted that while she couldn’t confirm or deny the claims, a videotape project was in the works.
It's worth noting that these situations put workers at Planned Parenthood in an almost impossible bind. In an ideal world, they would be able to offer services to women in need regardless of their situation, and, if they suspect they're victims of illegal activity like sex trafficking, report the situation to the proper authorities while still protecting women. If they are confronted with a real-life sex-trafficker, they're almost obligated to agree to offer services to them so that they can help the women once they're in a doctor's care.
As King points out, attacks on abortion rights are almost always attacks on poor women of color, who are most in need of services at clinics like Planned Parenthood; these are also people who are criticized by society regardless of the choices they make about their pregnancies. But I'm wondering whether Live Action overreached here, and we'll see an end to these ridiculous, manipulated attacks. Attacking ACORN, an organization that was in many places struggling, underfunded, and in disarray, was one thing, but attacking a behemoth like Planned Parenthood is another.
-- Monica Potts