Monday, February 7, 2011

Abortion Clinic "Investigations"

I am so tired of the "investigations" that anti-abortion activists do to make clinics look bad. They set up a crazy situation to try to trap people. Let's take the most recent stunt at a Planned Parenthood in New Jersey. If you were the clinic worker, and a man came into the clinic and was asking questions about how to help minor prostitutes get abortions, what would you do? What would you say? The particular worker in this situation was fired. Maybe she shouldn't have advised this man how to avoid having reports made with CPS because of legal issues. Ultimately her job is to help these girls, right? Help them get abortions. Is it wrong that she was trying to do that? I don't think so.

These anti-abortion activists aren't doing anything for the women and girls they purport to be helping. If they truly cared, they would help women who want to keep their pregnancies. They would help those women get prenatal care and get diapers, clothes, and formula once they're born. Are you doing that Lila Rose? How about you Jill Stanek? If you care, channel your efforts into helping those that are already here and are struggling.

It's like a friend of mine once said, "If you're pre-born, they want to "help" you. If you're post-born, you're screwed."


  1. In the hypothetical situation of underage prostitutes, do you think PP has the resources or ability to help girls get out of that lifestyle? If this PP worker reported the suspicious situation, would that be likely to help the girls involved? From what I understand, many of the PP's that got "stung" did actually report the situation to the authorities.

  2. M, I think you make a good point. While I don't think the "pimp" and "prostitute" in the video should be given tips on how to thwart CPS, I don't know what a clinic worker is empowered to do. In other videos, the workers reported the conversations to their superiors after the people left and the police were then notified.

    Really the clinic worker's job is to try to help the women and girls who need health services. If they can help them get out of a terrible situation, great but that's not always possible. It's something I've struggled with in the work I've done counseling women and girls, wishing I could do more but ultimately being pretty powerless.

  3. What do you find are your biggest blockades to being able to help women and girls out of dangerous situations like this?

    I would be interested to learn how the authorities typically react if/when PP does report situations like this--how quickly do they respond, what are they authorized to do based on suspicions only, etc.

  4. Yeah, there's a lot of articles that actually came out a week or two BEFORE "Live Action" and the wider media supposedly broke the news of these visits. Apparently they tried it at a dozen different clinics, and only got "good" footage at this one [plus at Media Matters there's two videos up, the edited and the unedited one, and it's really suspicious to me how they edited the conversation - and I just saw they're listing more examples of this here, near the bottom]. At the other 11 clinics, this inappropriate conversation didn't happen; at all 12 clinics, the staff person notified a supervisor, who notified the parent organization, who notified the FBI. When the FBI started investigating this alleged sex trafficking and/or child prostitution operation, they discovered that at least one of the participants was connected with Live Action; they called PP back with the news and PP was all "WTF you guys."

    It really grosses me out that Live Action got a $125,000 anonymous grant to carry out this sort of activity just to waste the time and energy, and attempt to damage the reputation, of the country's most significant provider of sexual and reproductive healthcare to youth and low-income people.

    It's like they don't care that sexual health services ARE a really important need in helping girls who have had sexual encounters they probably didn't consent to and couldn't control. Beyond that, even though PP doesn't have their own police force or other capability to "rescue" trafficked girls/women, they are an important source for linkages and referrals to other resources that could help.

    Sure, I wish those of us who provide abortion-related services could also offer more -- everything -- the world to our patients. Most of us wish that, and therefore try as hard as we can to squeeze water from a stone. But it's hard to hear these really far-out criticisms ("You didn't offer to buy the pimp's 'girls' off him! You explained that they could get treatment for their STIs!") as though we are supposed to be EVERY social service under one roof, plus also have some kind of magical fix-everything-bad-in-the-world fairy dust. And it's especially annoying to hear that when the same people are simultaneously trying to defund reproductive health clinics like Planned Parenthood (AND government social services, often).

  5. Yeah, I do think there are a lot of people who don't realize the tasks PP undertakes besides abortion. It would be interesting if Gallup did a poll just on what the average American knows about PP juxtaposed with what they think of PP.

    So the clinic director who was fired had also notified the FBI?

  6. M, from what I read, I think the person in the video that Live Action is publicizing was not a director but some other staff member; and after that conversation, she notified her clinic director, who notified the Planned Parenthood Federation of America execs, who notified the FBI. However, she was still fired when it surfaced that she evidently hadn't responded appropriately *during* the conversation. At least, this is what I understood from the reports.

  7. Oh btw (@M again), I think that would be a super interesting poll. There's quite a bit of weird bluster in the air about what Planned Parenthood does.


This is not a debate forum -- there are hundreds of other sites for that. This is a safe space for abortion care providers and one that respects the full spectrum of reproductive choices; comments that are not in that spirit will either wind up in the spam filter or languish in the moderation queue.