The Proof is not in the Video
The issue of abortion is hotly debated across America. Pro-life and pro-choice groups have rallies, petitions, and more in hopes of garnering support for their side. Recently a pro-life group called “Live Action” released videotapes of their supporters acting as people interested in receiving services from Planned Parenthood. The videotape was created to question whether or not Planned Parenthood should continue to receive funds from the federal government. The reality of Planned Parenthood is that it is a necessity for women who cannot otherwise receive the care that they need. The funds for Planned Parenthood are already low, and should not be cut. The video tries to show Planned Parenthood in a bad light, but it really shows how Planned Parenthood is there for every type of women who needs the medical care it offers and the confidentially it promises.
An article in the New York Times discussed the recent tape of a Planned Parenthood in the Bronx, New York. The Bronx Planned Parenthood Is Target of Under Cover Video article’s link is here: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/bronx-planned-parenthood-is-target-of-undercovervideo/?scp=4&sq=women%20rights&st=cse. The article, written by Anemona Hartocollis, discusses the videotape of a man and woman going into this Planned Parenthood as a pimp and his prostitute. The video can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCWf1MB92Pw&feature=player_embedded.
This video has different effects on people. On the one hand, for people who are pro-choice the video suggests that Planned Parenthood allows for child prostitution to occur. On the other hand, for people who are pro-choice the video shows the reality of Planned Parenthood’s predicament to protect women at risk, and to try to get women to come in so as they can receive medical and social help. Lila Rose, president of Live Action, made a statement saying that Planned Parenthood’s funds should be cut directly because they are abetting crimes of sex trafficking and exploitation of minors (Hartocollis 1). As a pro-life leader, she is directly against the service of abortion that Planned Parenthood offers. Planned Parenthood responded to this by saying that this is a false claim and that after the incident the staff woman in the video reported what happened to the F.B.I., following protocol. The organization defended itself against the attacks by pointing out how the girls who were “in need” of health services were not actually there, and if they had been they would have been screened for child abuse and met by a social worker. This video has spurred many members of pro-life and pro-choice to become angry over the implications.
Planned Parenthood is officially known as Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and offers health services at its various clinics around America. It is funded by the federal government and has been in existence since 1916. Its founder was Margaret Sanger. She was a feminist in the early 1900’s who worked for women to have their rights, health, and equality. Today Planned Parenthood describes itself as: “A trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide.” (PlannedParenthood.org). Planned Parenthood offers health services to men and women who are in need. The organization does not just provide health services, however; it also tries to educate the community and spread awareness.
Live Action is a non-violent pro-life group. They are “a youth led movement dedicated to building a culture of life and ending abortion, the greatest human rights injustice of our time. We use new media to educate the public about the humanity of the unborn and investigative journalism to expose threats against the vulnerable and defenseless.” (LiveAction.org). Their projects are all about abortion, and most of them aimed at Planned Parenthood too. The project site is: http://liveaction.org/projects-of-live-action. Live Action accuses Planned Parenthood of allowing statutory rape, prostitution, and abortions, as well a being racist. Planned Parenthood is their target because legalized abortions take place there. One of Live Action’s projects actually leads to a video where an abortion procedure is shown. This is a powerful group with over 47,900 people liking it via Facebook. Live Action passionately believes in their cause and pursues their goals fervently.
Live Action questions the necessity of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood does offer abortions to women. In some states, a woman may not receive an abortion if she younger than 18 without her parent’s permission, but this is not true in all states. Planned Parenthood will provide abortions if the requirements are met, along with offering other health services. Pro-life groups disagree with Planned Parenthood and their stance on abortion. Pro-life groups, such as Live Action, are calling for Planned Parenthood’s funding to be cut.
Planned Parenthood is portrayed as an organization that allows for many crimes to be committed because they will let “anyone” have an abortion by Live Action. On Live Action’s website there is a blog which argues that Planned Parenthood is not, as others will portray it, a feminist organization but the opposite. The blogger, Lauren Uhrich, writes, “To its defenders Planned Parenthood is the allegorical home of FEMINISM. Never mind, that the rights and freedoms of hundreds of thousands of little women are denied by their abortion procedures each year.” (http://liveaction.org/blog/). This is an interesting argument because many people do consider Planned Parenthood to be a feminist organization because it allows women to control their own bodies. In The Essential Feminist Reader, Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards write about the importance for “a woman’s right to bear or not to bear a child” in their Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future (Freedman 425). The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margret Sanger, a famous feminist is also accused of being a eugenicist and having a plan to kill black children through Planned Parenthood (Rose, http://liveaction.org/planned-parenthood-racism-project). The central argument against Planned Parenthood is that it is an organization that allows for crimes and other atrocities, and it should be shut down.
The question, right now, is whether or not the federal government should fund Planned Parenthood. Pro-life groups argue against tax money going to abortions, when Planned Parenthood uses no federal money for abortions. The videotape of the Planned Parenthood in the Bronx does not show that is allows for illegal activity, as Live Action argues. The reality of the world is that abortions will occur even if they are illegal. Before abortions were legalized, women died because they went through “back alley” abortions. Planned Parenthood offers women a safe, sterile place to have an abortion. The organization does not advocate that women have abortions, and before each abortion staff members discuss the other options with the patient. Planned Parenthood offers abortions to women who want one, they do not force anyone into it, and the government should support the organization.
Like abortions, prostitution is sad reality of the world today. Prostitution exists across the world and saying that organizations like Planned Parenthood some how encourage it is ridiculous. Yes, it is true that there are some prostitutes that come to Planned Parenthood to receive abortions. However, is it not better that there is somewhere safe for these women to go rather than to have them try to lose the fetus is some other way? Also if Planned Parenthood does suspect that something is wrong with the woman (for example if is she is a teenage sex worker) than they are meet with a licensed social worker. The staff member who met with the Live Action workers might have been trying to get the “pimp” to bring the girls in so that they could be brought safely away from him. It is unreasonable to accuse Planned Parenthood of allowing prostitution or statutory rape, and it is even more unreasonable to try to shut down Planned Parenthood.
The videotape in question does not prove that Planned Parenthood agrees with prostitution or statutory rape. After the “pimp and his prostitute” left Planned Parenthood, a staff member reported the situation to the F.B.I. What is interesting is that there is no mention of the F.B.I. following up on the situation. No one seems to have accused the F.B.I. of being killers, only Planned Parenthood. It makes one wonder how many cases of prostitution are not investigated by the F.B.I. and why no one questions this.
Live Action’s stance on the video is not subjective; it only shows what Live Action wants to see. Clearly, Live Action is going to be against Planned Parent because Live Action is a pro-life organization. Live Action is calling for the government to not fund Planned Parenthood, but this would be a mistake. Planned Parenthood offers services to many who are in need. It also offers confidentiality, which is allows people to feel comfortable enough to go to Planned Parenthood. The accusations against Planned Parent by Live Action are unfounded. Planned Parenthood may provide a service that is controversial, but it is the woman’s right to have those services.