POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Feb 04, 2011
RICHMOND, Va. >> An anti-abortion group that has targeted Planned Parenthood released a secretly recorded video Thursday that purports to show a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute receiving abortion and contraceptive counseling at a Virginia clinic for underage sex workers.
The group, Live Action, said the video illustrates Planned Parenthood’s “willingness to aid and abet in the sexual exploitation of minors and young women.”
The shaky video and its soundtrack has been given to law enforcement officials, Live Action said, and it has asked anti-abortion state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to investigate “these heinous practices.”
Cuccinelli’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.
Gov. Bob McDonnell was “deeply troubled” by the video and urged an investigation by local police, a spokesman said. “The apparent actions of the clinic employee, if accurate, are alarming,” Tucker Martin wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America defended the Richmond clinic staff member for her professionalism in dealing with “a highly unusual person posing as a patient.”
After the visit the staff member notified her supervisor, who alerted Planned Parenthood’s national security team, the federation said in a statement. The organization said it is working with the FBI on the clinic visits. The Richmond visit was one of four reported in Virginia, Planned Parenthood said.
The Richmond film recorded Jan. 12 is similar to a video taken by Live Action on Jan. 13 at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Perth Amboy, N.J.
Following release of the New Jersey videotape, Planned Parenthood said it also had promptly notified law enforcement authorities after the visit, but fired the clinic employee for violating some of the organization’s policies.
In the Richmond video, a clinic worker talks primarily with the man while the woman apparently secretly videotapes the counseling. They talk about access to abortions, birth control and testing of sexually transmitted diseases for prostitutes described as 14 and 15 and either from out of state or another country.
At one point, the clinic worker discusses an abortion for an underage girl using what she calls a “judicial bypass” so the procedure can be done confidentially and without a legal guardian.
The worker advises the pair an abortion can be cloaked from a parent and adds, “We’re pretty good at handling if someone doesn’t want someone else to know.”
Live Action’s president, Lila Rose, said the videos illustrate Planned Parenthood’s willingness to “circumvent parental consent laws for secret abortions.”
National anti-abortion groups have used the earlier released video to intensify their calls for federal legislation to cut off the more than $350 million in annual federal family planning fund that Planned Parenthood receives. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., has introduced the legislation.
In Virginia, anti-abortion activists and social conservatives said the videos illustrate what they said is Planned Parenthood’s disregard of laws intended to regulate abortion.
“Their clinics are just blatantly violating laws, and they’re doing it to the sums of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds,” said Anna Franzonello, an attorney for Americans United For Life.
Rita Dunaway, an attorney with The Rutherford Institute, which generally promotes conservative causes, said the videos underscore “the need for greater regulation of abortion clinics. Having an abortion is different than having a wart removed and it needs to be treated more seriously.”
Planned Parenthood has reported that at least 12 of its clinics across the country had been visited by men claiming to be sex-traffickers.
Lila Rose began infiltrating abortion clinics in 2006. One of her early collaborators was James O’Keefe, who later became famous for wearing a pimp costume in a video that embarrassed the community organizing group ACORN.
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