The evidence is damning. A 13-year-old goes to Planned Parenthood to get an abortion, tells her counselor that her boyfriend who impregnated her is 31, and the counselor advises her to lie about the baby’s father’s age — otherwise the girl can’t get the abortion and will instead have to deal with making statutory rape charges. Except the girl isn’t 13. She’s 20. Her name is Lila Rose. She’s a UCLA student and anti-abortion activist. And she recorded the whole thing for YouTube.
The story isn’t new. Rose has been recording videos since 2006. She’s been on Bill O’Reilly’s television show (see video, right). But the repercussions of Rose’s videotaped investigation are coming to fruition: Planned Parenthood faces the loss of three-quarters of a million dollars in taxpayer dollars, and that’s just in Tennessee.
Ideally, it’s fair to assume, Rose wants to see abortion outlawed, but as the Los Angeles Times notes, that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Instead, her pro-life position is being propped up in other ways, like with legislators canceling Planned Parenthood’s contract.
Tennessee lawmakers said they would seek to end a $721,000 contract with Planned Parenthood, citing outrage over what they saw in a video Rose had posted two days earlier from a Memphis clinic. She posed there in July as a 14-year-old impregnated by a 31-year-old; a Planned Parenthood staffer says, “Just say you have a boyfriend, 17 years old, whatever.”
Last month, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to suspend a grant worth nearly $300,000 to Planned Parenthood that was earmarked for sex education, not abortions. A conservative Tustin businessman raised the issue with Supervisor John Moorlach after meeting Rose and seeing her videos.
Last year, after the Indiana videos were posted on Rose’s website, Bloomington’s Herald Times reported that the nurse’s aide seen on the tape had been fired. A second Planned Parenthood staffer, in Indianapolis, resigned: Rose’s tape appeared to show that employee directing the young woman across the state line to a clinic in Illinois, which doesn’t have a parental consent law.
A grand jury is investigating whether Planned Parenthood violated the law, said Mario Massillamany, a spokesman for the prosecutor of Marion County, where Indianapolis is located. “After we stated we were conducting an investigation, they hired a group to conduct better training for their staff,” he added.
The brand damage suffered by Planned Parenthood and pro-choice causes, meanwhile, is immeasurable. In Rose’s version of things, organizations like Planned Parenthood are promoting abortions over sexual exploitation, overlooking rape to protect a woman’s right to choose.
It’s hard to argue with the footage. But Planned Parenthood must. Its leaders argue Rose’s videotapes are isolated incidents, and with 30,000 employees and volunteers in 850 clinics, it’s impossible to police all behavior. They’re “investigation” the “authenticity” of the videos.
One question that remains, however, is whether somebody (or some organization) is backing Rose’s efforts. Her films are produced by something called Live Action Films, which was legally formed only last year and thus has no tax trail yet, though Rose says she began the organization at age 15. Rose, who works with another activisit, James O’Keefe, says she uses “mostly student volunteers” and makes do with “a very low budget.” She was awarded $50,000 in February by the “Gerard Health Foundation, a Massachusetts-based charity founded by a Catholic businessman that funds antiabortion and abstinence-only sex education efforts.” She was awarded something called the 2008 Life Prize Award (see video of her acceptance speech). Her tactics mimic Mark Crutcher, who in 2002 “taped fake calls to hundreds of Planned Parenthood clinics around the country featuring women posing as pregnant minors.”
On Friday, Rose appeared on Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News to showcase her latest infiltration of a Memphis clinic.
Lisa Rose is, undoubtedly, polarizing. But is she a menace to the pro-choice movement? Or is she a hero to young girls whose sexual exploitation is being overlooked by Planned Parenthood?