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Anti-abortion group targets Planned Parenthood in undercover video

By Michael Martinez, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The anti-abortion group Live Action secretly taped a video at a Planned Parenthood facility
  • The group sent a man and a woman posing as a sex-trafficking pimp and a prostitute
  • A Planned Parenthood employee purportedly advised them on abortions for underage girls
  • Planned Parenthood says the employee has been fired

(CNN) -- A secretly taped video by a male and a female posing as sex traffickers purportedly shows a Planned Parenthood employee in New Jersey telling them how to secure abortions and contraception for underage girls, anti-abortion activist Lila Rose told CNN Wednesday.

In response, Planned Parenthood described the January 13 video by Rose's anti-abortion group Live Action as a scheme to "take down" the abortion-rights organization, Planned Parenthood spokesman Stuart Schear said in a statement.

In a CNN interview, Schear added Planned Parenthood has already reported the claims of sex trafficking to federal authorities and on Tuesday fired the videotaped employee.

Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey also condemned the apparent misconduct of the employee.

"The behavior of our employee, as portrayed on the video, if accurate, violates PPCNJ policies, as well as our core values of protecting the welfare of minors and complying with the law," Phyllis Kinsler, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey, said in a statement.

Last month, Live Action activists with secret cameras visited two Planned Parenthood health centers in New Jersey, where human trafficking has been a major issue, Schear said in a statement.

After the visits were over, Planned Parenthood notified local authorities of alleged human trafficking and learned of at least 11 visits to facilities in six states over one week "in which persons claiming to be involved in sex trafficking with minors asked for services for young women," according to Planned Parenthood statements.

Planned Parenthood then notified federal authorities, and the FBI is reviewing photos of at least one person making the sex trafficking claims, Schear said. There was no immediate confirmation from the FBI that a review was underway.

In the visits, men, sometimes accompanied by a woman, appear at Planned Parenthood without an appointment saying they were seeking health services, but they quickly turn the conversation to a supposed sex ring they claim to be managing, according to a Planned Parenthood statement.

"If a multistate sex trafficking operation is in place, those responsible must be pursued to stop the exploitation of girls and young women," Schear said in a statement. "If these visits are part of a 'dirty tricks' campaign, they must be condemned. Falsely claiming sex trafficking to health professionals to advance a political agenda is an astoundingly cynical form of political activity."

Rose -- president of Los Angeles-based Live Action and, according to the organization's website, a student at UCLA -- said the video from January shows two individuals portraying a pimp and a prostitute. In the past 3 1/2 years, group members have gone "undercover" in a total of 11 Planned Parenthood clinics, she said.

"These are actors, and they investigate sexual abuse cover-up going on across the country institutionally at Planned Parenthood clinics," Rose told CNN. "This is the 11th clinic where it shows the worker aiding and abetting who they think is a pimp, a sexual abuser who commercially exploits young girls."

In the CNN interview, Rose, 22, did not detail what happened in the 10 other visits. She said she participated in an unspecified number of the undercover visits.

In the video, an female employee at Planned Parenthood's facility in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, advises the couple to have the underage girls lie about their age to avoid mandatory reporting laws for abortion.

"Even if they lie, just say, 'Oh, he's the same age as me, 15,'...it's just that mainly 14 and under we have to, doesn't matter if their partner's the same age, younger, whatever, 14 and under we have to report," the Planned Parenthood employee says in the video.

The employee also tells the male that he can get cheaper contraception by claiming the girls are "students," according to the video.

"If they're minors, put down that they're students. Yeah, just kind of play along that they're students. We want to make it look as legit as possible," the Planned Parenthood employee says on the video.

The employee cites another abortion provider to the couple in case an underage girl needs an abortion, according to the video.

"Their protocols aren't as strict as ours, and they don't get audited the same way that we do," the Planned Parenthood employee says on the video about the other abortion provider.

Live Action said it sent the entire video to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow, the FBI and other law enforcement officials. CNN could not immediately verify that claim.

"This 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," Rose said in a statement.

Rose pointed out to CNN that Planned Parenthood receives federal funding and added: "These clinics need to be defunded. Young girls are at risk."

Planned Parenthood spokesman Schear said the video posted on the Live Action website was edited and was shot with a secret camera by Live Action activists on January 13.

"The group that has undertaken this secret taping is on the record as saying its goal is to 'take down' Planned Parenthood over the next 10 years by creating 'controversy' in the organization and making Planned Parenthood 'not feel safe,'" Schear said in a statement.

In an interview with CNN, Schear added that the videotaped employee's immediate firing "is as clear a message you can deliver" that Planned Parenthood has "zero tolerance" for misconduct.

"Live Action is an extreme political group and their goal is to take away health care from women, to end abortion in the United States," Schear said. "There is no training that can prevent this from happening. This is a complete breakdown in judgment: we don't know understand what happened with this employee."

A statement on the Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood website said that "these secret video tapings of our health centers are being coordinated with anti-choice groups who are pressing for the passage of the federal Pence bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

"This bill would deny federal funds for family planning and preventive care to Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of reproductive health care to women in the United States," the statement by Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood in New York state said.

 
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