By Cassy Fiano-Chesser
A so-called ‘fact check’ from Politifact this week responded to a July 16 Instagram post from Live Action which pointed out how Planned Parenthood has aided sex traffickers in the past, which it exposed in a series of undercover videos in 2011. Politifact rated Live Action’s post “false” — using Planned Parenthood itself as the primary source to refute Live Action’s content.
In Live Action’s Child Sex Trafficking investigation, two actors visited seven Planned Parenthood facilities across the country, posing as a sex trafficker and his underage victim seeking an abortion. Though these videos were released 12 years ago, the movie “Sound of Freedom” has brought the issue of child sex trafficking to the attention of many Americans. Live Action founder and president Lila Rose tweeted about the investigation, applauding the film for bringing awareness to the issue, but condemning the media for keeping silent on the role Planned Parenthood plays in propping up the criminal industry.
The tweets from Rose were then shared on Instagram, prompting the fact check.
Failing at due diligence
“The videos are more than a decade old and Planned Parenthood said they are edited selectively,” Politifact claimed. “Live Action’s post also omits the actions Planned Parenthood took after these incidents occurred.”
Yet neither the age of the videos nor any corrective action allegedly later taken by Planned Parenthood as a result changes the information captured in the undercover investigation.
Though Politifact had no issue using Planned Parenthood as a source, they neglected to check Live Action’s own website, where they would have found that not only is the full, unedited footage publicly available, but that Planned Parenthood’s actions after the investigations are, in fact, acknowledged.
Live Action’s website points out that Planned Parenthood employee Amy Woodruff was fired. A follow-up investigation in 2017 (read Live Action’s press release here) also acknowledged that Planned Parenthood claimed it would retrain thousands of staffers on how better to identify sex traffickers; however, according to former Planned Parenthood employee Ramona Treviño, the corporation instead trained staffers on how to better detect undercover journalists.
Live Action also “used public records requests to check the abortion chain’s claim that it had reported the suspected sex traffickers to authorities. The responses from law enforcement show that Planned Parenthood failed repeatedly to report the suspected crimes to local police departments, state police, or even child protective services.”
Using target of investigation’s unverified claims as “evidence”
Politifact’s listed sources for its “fact check” do not include Live Action’s website, nor do they include public record requests to confirm Planned Parenthood’s claims that they reported the suspected trafficking. Politifact merely takes Planned Parenthood’s statements at face value. In fact, even in the instances where it’s clear that the abortion giant did not notify police, Politifact still applaud Planned Parenthood, writing:
The second video, also released in 2011, shows a similar staged scenario. A Virginia Planned Parenthood employee talks with a woman posing as an underage sex worker and a man posing as her sex trafficker; both were actors hired by Live Action. But unlike in the first video, this employee appears to follow protocol by informing the couple about their legal rights to privacy.
The scenario was one of teenaged children being trafficked into the United States and forced to work as sex slaves. There is no “right to privacy” under such a scenario. As Live Action pointed out on Twitter:
Furthermore, Politifact does not acknowledge at all the numerous real-life scenarios in which traffickers and abusers were aided by Planned Parenthood. In numerous heartbreaking examples, predators took their victims to Planned Parenthood so they could use abortion as a means of covering up their crimes… and authorities were not notified. Live Action did an extensive investigation into Planned Parenthood in this regard with its 2018 Aiding Abusers video series, which involved eyewitness testimony, victim testimony, former staffer testimony, and even prosecutor testimony.
Ignoring other sources showing traffickers’ use of Planned Parenthood
Politifact also ignored evidence from other sources, in which Planned Parenthood is repeatedly cited as being familiar to trafficking victims. In a report published by the Annals of Health Law in 2014, it was noted that trafficking victims had “significant contact with clinical treatment facilities, most commonly Planned Parenthood.” These survivors said their abusers would take them to Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood “didn’t ask any questions”:
I got pregnant six times and had six abortions [while being trafficked]. Several of them were from a doctor who was a client — he did them back door — I came in the back door after hours and paid them off the books. This kept my name off any records… At least one of my abortions was from Planned Parenthood because they didn’t ask any questions.
Another study funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of Justice found that abusers and traffickers would sometimes involve themselves in making sure their victims underwent abortions. The study stated, “A cross-sectional survey of female patients in five family-planning clinics (affiliated with Planned Parenthood) in Northern California found that of the 9% of young women (aged 16-29 years old) who sought services at these family planning clinics, 16% reported pimp involvement.”
A survivor of human trafficking, who went by the pseudonym “Marlene,” told Facing Life Now that “[t]he pimps and the traffickers would get fake I.D.’s for the girls and we would take them to have abortions.” She also affirmed that no one at Planned Parenthood would turn down committing an abortion on a trafficked child, saying, “Oh, no, absolutely not… honestly they had to know that these were teenagers, they were not adult women.”
None of this was acknowledged by Politifact’s ‘fact check.’ As Live Action stated on Twitter, this is “awful journalism” and “awful fact checking.”
Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.