Planned Parenthood targeted by ‘hoax visits’ designed to ‘undermine’ women’s health

By David Ferguson
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 13:39 EDT
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Fetal ultrasound image via Flickr flatiron32
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Earlier today, the Planned Parenthood blog “Reproductive Health Reality Check” posted an editorial stating that the organization has been subject to several suspicious visits at clinics across the country.

“In recent weeks people who oppose Planned Parenthood, and our mission to provide high-quality reproductive health care, have been conducting a secret, nationwide hoax campaign in an attempt to undermine women’s access to services,” wrote Leslie Kantor and Dr. Carolyn Westhoff.

Planned Parenthood spokesperson Chloe Cooney told Raw Story, “We don’t know how many groups are involved in this propaganda campaign, but we know from experience that their ultimate goal is to undermine women’s access to reproductive health care services. We expect that this campaign will only further escalate the political battles over access to health care, rather than focus on helping women and their families get the care they need.”

In the past, anti-abortion activist Lila Rose has filmed undercover operations at Planned Parenthood clinics, posing variously as a 15-year-old and a 13-year-old purportedly impregnated by much older men. Her organization, Live Action, has also released video of individuals posing as pimps and underage prostitutes soliciting abortion services. Given the organization’s past activities targeting Planned Parenthood, Raw Story reached out to Live Action for a statement.

Live Action’s spokesperson Kate Bryan declined to offer details of its current project or whether it involves Planned Parenthood. Bryan would not specifically confirm whether it is the organization named in the RH Reality Check post, saying, “Live Action’s policy is not to comment on or confirm ongoing investigative research until its conclusion and public release.”

According to RH Reality Check, “For years opponents of reproductive health and rights have used secret videotaping tactics with fictitious patient scenarios and selective editing to promote falsehoods about Planned Parenthood’s mission, services, and policies. Recently, one group has escalated these hoax visits in many states, apparently using secret recorders while inquiring about sex selection abortions.”

The post states that the reproductive rights organization is anticipating a campaign based on these “hoax visits.” The group states for the record that Planned Parenthood is against the concept of sex selective abortion and that the organization does not offer sex determination services.

(Image via Flickr Commons user flatiron32)

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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