Update: Planned Parenthood fires worker after undercover video surfaces
Family planning organization Planned Parenthood said Tuesday that it had fired one of their managers who an anti-abortion group had accused of counseling a man posing as a “pimp” on how to skirt the law, according to Statehouse Bureau.
Original story continues below…
An anti-abortion group run by a woman who once worked with “ACORN pimp” James O’Keefe launched a campaign Tuesday accusing Planned Parenthood of aiding in the sex trafficking of minors, even though its undercover sting had already been uncovered by the family planning organization.
Planned Parenthood contacted the US attorney general last week after reports came in from 11 of its offices that visitors were asking staffers advice about abortions for underage, illegal-immigrant sex workers.
The group reported the visits as evidence of a potential sex-trafficking ring, but expressed suspicions that they were part of a sting operation aimed at discrediting Planned Parenthood. The organization even pointed a finger at a suspect — Live Action, an anti-abortion group run by 22-year-old Lila Rose.
Live Action on Tuesday released a video indicating that one of its visits to Planned Parenthood may have borne fruit. The group accused Amy Woodruff, a Planned Parenthood manager in northern New Jersey, of giving advice to a “pimp” on how to get abortions for his underage prostitutes without drawing the attention of authorities.
According to Live Action, Woodruff counseled a “pimp” — evidently an undercover Live Action agent — to lie about the ages of sex workers receiving abortions, and suggested that prostitutes under 15 go to a nearby hospital for abortions because “their protocols aren’t as strict as ours and they don’t get audited the same way that we do.”
The video “proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Planned Parenthood intentionally breaks state and federal laws and covers up the abuse of the young girls it claims to serve,” Live Action’s Rose said in a statement.
But MediaMatters’ Ned Resnikoff suggests that the video shows no such thing. Even if it reflects poorly on Woodruff, the video doesn’t discredit Planned Parenthood, Resnikoff writes.
[E]ven if we were to assume that Rose’s heavily edited smear job is accurate – and there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical – the video very clearly establishes that the alleged wrongdoing is counter to Planned Parenthood policy: the employee on Rose’s tape makes it clear that the actions in question would have to be concealed from others at the organization.
In a statement obtained by TalkingPointsMemo, Planned Parenthood said the video was shot in a New Jersey office on Jan. 13 and added that “appropriate action is being taken” into Woodruff’s actions. Though the organization had said staff informed authorities after the sting attempts, it was not clear if Woodruff had contacted law enforcement after her encounter.
The allegations reminded many of amateur videographer James O’Keefe’s surreptitious taping of ACORN employees giving advice to a “pimp” on how to manage his “underage prostitutes.” (It later emerged that the videos were edited and O’Keefe never claimed to the ACORN employees that he was a pimp.)
According to MediaMatters’ Jeremy Schulman, Live Action’s Rose has previously worked with O’Keefe on videos attempting to discredit abortion providers. Schulman wrote that Rose “has a history of smearing the subjects of her videos.”
Following Planned Parenthood’s complaint last week, the FBI launched an investigation, Planned Parenthood has said.
The following video was posted to the Web by Live Action. An unedited version of the video, which the group says it has forwarded to federal and New Jersey law enforcement, is available on its website.