Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lila Rose vs. Planned Parenthood

Now, here's some tricky shit:

Lila Rose (UCLA student and president of pro-life action group Live Action) , has been receiving tons of media clamor following her series of undercover investigations into the apparent corruption within the Planned Parenthood organization. For those who don't know, PP is a publically funded American reproductive health and abortion services provider.

Last year, Lila Rose posed as a 14 year old trying to obtain a waiver from a judge which would give the 'girl' permission to carry out an abortion. Claiming that she had a 31 year old boyfriend, Rose (posing as the 14 year old) was advised by a Planned Parenthood employee to tell the court that her boyfriend was, "17 years old, whatever..." so as not to get the alleged boyfriend into any trouble. Her debate is that Planned Parenthood is operating under poor ethics and defying compliance with the law, therefore, endangering young girls in search of abortion services. The hidden-camera footage we see is out of context and, thus, likely missing some important content. We, the viewers, do not know what is said by either party before or after the clip. The employee could have retracted her suggestion some time after the camera stopped rolling. She may also have known facts about the girls said situation before making the suggestion to obscure the boyfriend's age.

I have not yet been able to figure out exactly what Lila's beef is. Her Live Action organization's project called the Mona Lisa Project accuses Planned Parenthood of contributing to the abuse of young girls by rushing them into abortions under any circumstances and often thrusting them back into the volatile and abusive environments from which they came seeking help. Not once does Lila or Live Action use its investigation to prove that being pro-choice is dangerous in itself. Are Lila Rose's motives political? Self-interested? The stories don't cut to the chase in terms of convincing me that abortion itself is criminal. The videos on the Live Action website tell very little of pro-life values and spend more time attacking corruption within this particular organization, making it difficult to determine where the catch is.

I may be playing the devil's advocate by pointing out that, in the video of Lila's encounter with the Planned Parenthood employee in Memphis, the employee does retract to say that [she] doesn't know whether the girl's boyfriend would get in trouble if the girl were or were not to tell the courts his "true" age. After all, I doubt that she is legally bound to tell the young girl what may possibly happen if the boyfriend's age were concealed. Although unsettling, it's possible the employee [her]self did not know what repercussions would ensue if the girl chose to take her advice. I would imagine that if it were eventually uncovered that the advice given to the "young girl" was to lie about her boyfriend's age, it would be somewhat difficult to criminally prosecute and subsequently charge Planned Parenthood for any illegal activity.

Who knows, maybe the employee did alert authorities once the girl left. Maybe the employee was poorly trained or not properly equipped with information on how to handle such a report. On the other hand, I imagine that without detailed information about this boyfriend, it would be a complex case to report anyway.

As discussed on the most recent episode of Yeah, What She Said, it's worrisome to think that people can be so devoted to bringing down organizations that deal with social issues most others prefer to avoid.

I must admit, I don't understand why the PP employee would encourage the girl to lie unless she was personally determined to see the girl wind up back in a relationship that was potentially unsafe; I won't deny that the video is disturbing in that sense. Live Action's reports on the Mona Lisa Project leave me questioning whether these reports are factual and if any crucial details have been omitted and, if these reports are legit, is PP as an organization behaving this way strictly out of carelessness? Seriously? The fact that Live Action will pursue their efforts to 'expose' corruptness in abortion service centers like Planned Parenthood bothers me. Is it abortion they are fighting against or is it crime? And is The Mona Lisa Project merely attempting to affect the generalized notion that abortion is crime? If so, it's a cheap tactic and it's unfortunate that Lila Rose and Live Action don't think the majority of us will be able see through it.

Among other notoriously right wing networks, Lila appears on Fox TV's Glenn Beck program (where Glenn ends up referring to her as "Twila"), for crying out loud...

Thoughts, please.

Watch more Glenn Beck videos on AOL Video

*Be sure to check out the Association for Women's Rights In Development's article for more on this.

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