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Planned Parenthood Worried It's the Target of a New Sting

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"For years opponents of reproductive health and Planned Parenthood have engaged in secret videotaping tactics with fictitious patient scenarios and selective editing in an attempt to promote misinformation about Planned Parenthood."

Planned Parenthood has been at the center of any number of controversial scandals - involving everything from sex trafficking to old-fashioned eugenics. So it's only natural they'd start catching onto what probably isn't good faith from potential clients. And apparently, there's been a rash nationwide of Planned Parenthoods facing awkward questions from supposedly pregnant women - questions like "how do I tell what gender my child will be" and its corollary "can I abort my child if it's a girl?"

And despite their willingness to believe that widespread sexism is at the root of nearly everything wrong with the country,  including opposition to them, somehow the idea that their own clients might be sexist has them crying foul and wondering if they're the target of a "sting operation." The Huffington Post reports:

"For years opponents of reproductive health and Planned Parenthood have engaged in secret videotaping tactics with fictitious patient scenarios and selective editing in an attempt to promote misinformation about Planned Parenthood and our services," Cooney said. "As with the prior instances, we anticipate that once again this group, likely in coordination with a broad range of anti-abortion leaders, will soon launch a propaganda campaign with the goal of discrediting Planned Parenthood, and, ultimately, restricting women's health."

The most likely group behind the campaign, Planned Parenthood suspects, is anti-abortion activist group Live Action, which has a history of paying actors to walk into Planned Parenthood clinics and act out various controversial scenarios in an attempt to catch the family planning provider's staffers doing something illegal or immoral on tape. A recent operation involved actors posing as pimps and prostitutes engaged in human trafficking and seeking birth control, STD testing and other family planning services. HuffPost's Ryan Grim reported in February 2011 that Live Action heavily edited the videos they gathered to alter the meaning of conversations and falsely imply that Planned Parenthood is complicit in sex trafficking, but conservative lawmakers and media outlets cited the group's videos in numerous subsequent political attacks against the family planning provider.[...]

While Planned Parenthood condemns seeking abortions on the basis of the gender of the fetus, Cooney said the provider is also "committed to providing high-quality, confidential, nonjudgmental care to all who come into our health centers." While Planned Parenthood staffers are extensively trained to answer unusual and difficult questions and to refer women to necessary counseling, none of its clinics will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selection abortion (Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Illinois).

To be fair to Planned Parenthood, the pattern is quite pervasive - similar incidents have been reported in eleven different states - so something may indeed be seriously wrong. And this story from Life News surely does nothing to dull their fears, given the reaction of Live Action's leader, Lila Rose:

Life News talked with Rose, who said her group can’t confirm whether they are currently engaging in any undercover investigations focusing on the abortion business.

“Live Action’s policy is not to comment on or confirm ongoing investigative research until its conclusion and public release,” she said.

If Live Action is indeed conducting another investigation, Planned Parenthood’s attempt here to head off the results before the organization releases them would not mar the first occasion on which it attempted to do so. Planned Parenthood representatives spoke with the Washington Post just a short time before Live Action released the sex trafficking videos showing Planned Parenthood staffers arranging abortions for victims. The abortion business also spoke with the Washington Post to put its spin on the breaking of the story of Komen for the Cure cutting its funding — causing a massive backlash and an eventual reversal in its decision.

Both sides are clearly trying to pre-empt each other in this fight, so it seems possible at the very least that an expose was or is in the works. We'll be keeping an eye out for more.

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