Image: Lila Rose
AP
Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action, seen in an undated photo provided by the organization.
By
updated 2/2/2011 4:14:04 AM ET 2011-02-02T09:14:04

A member of staff at a New Jersey clinic has been fired after an anti-abortion group released undercover video showing operatives posing as a pimp and a prostitute seeking health services.

Live Action, the group that released the video, said Tuesday that it depicted a Planned Parenthood clinic employee offering to help cover up a sex ring so that its prostitutes could receive health services.

Planned Parenthood said it had promptly notified law enforcement authorities after the visit, but it also announced late Tuesday that it had fired the clinic employee for violating some of the organization's policies.

Planned Parenthood had proactively revealed the broad outlines of the new undercover operation last week, reporting that at least 12 of its clinics across the country had been visited by men claiming to be sex-traffickers.

The organization, which is the leading U.S. provider of abortions, asked federal authorities to investigate and said it had identified a man involved in the visits as linked to Live Action.

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On Tuesday, Live Action released a video that it said was taken Jan. 13 at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

In the video, a woman identified as the clinic manager converses with a man and a woman posing as sex traffickers regarding their interest in accessing contraception, abortions and sexually transmitted-disease testing for underage prostitutes.

As depicted in the video, the clinic manager advises that the underage girls could lie about their age to lessen the chance of triggering an investigation once they sought health services.

"For the most part, we want as little information as possible," the employee says, according to the video.

Allegations under investigation
The video also depicts the employee suggesting that prostitutes could get cheaper contraception by claiming they were students.

"Yeah, just kind of play along that they're students — we want to make it look as legit as possible," the woman identified as the clinic manager says.

Live Action said it was making available both edited and unedited versions of the video.

"This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Planned Parenthood intentionally breaks state and federal laws and covers up the abuse of the young girls it claims to serve," said Lila Rose, president of Live Action.

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She called for federal and state investigations of Planned Parenthood practices, and urged Congress to cut off federal family-planning grants to the organization.

Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow, said Dow's office was "looking into the allegations."

Responding to the video release, Planned Parenthood issued a statement detailing its efforts to notify state and federal authorities after the recent clinic visits.

It said the FBI had been collecting evidence from Planned Parenthood employees and clinics, and reviewing photos of at least one of the persons claiming to be a trafficker.

"Planned Parenthood insists on the highest standards of care, and safeguards the trusted relationship we have with patients, families and communities," the statement said.

"What appears on edited tapes made public today is not consistent with Planned Parenthood's practices, and is under review," it added.

'Repugnant manner'
Phyllis Kinsler, chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey, said in a statement issued late Tuesday that she and her colleagues were "profoundly shocked when we viewed the videotape released this morning, which depicted an employee of one of our health centers behaving in a repugnant manner that is inconsistent with our standards of care and is completely unacceptable."

"We have a zero tolerance policy for this kind of behavior, and the employee in the video was immediately suspended from her duties this morning and was terminated this evening," Kinsler said.

"We are fully committed to delivering high-quality reproductive health care to the women of our communities, complying with all laws, and upholding the highest ethical standards," she added.

Rose, in a telephone interview, declined to say whether Live Action would be releasing videos from any of the other clinics that Planned Parenthood says were visited between Jan. 11-15 by men posing as sex traffickers.

"We'll let you know if we have more to share," she said.

Rose, 22, began infiltrating abortion clinics as a college student in 2006.

After forming Live Action, she gained prominence with a series of undercover videos in which she posed as a girl in her early teens who had been impregnated by an older man.

The aim was to portray Planned Parenthood staff as willing to ignore laws that required the reporting of cases of suspected statutory rape.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Nun ousted for support of life-saving abortion

  1. Closed captioning of: Nun ousted for support of life-saving abortion

    >> al, thanks very much.

    >>> a catholic bishop in arizona is under fire for what some say was too harsh a punishment for a popular nun. a hospital administrator who approved an abortion to save a woman's life. here's nbc's lee cowan.

    >> reporter: the agonizing question facing st. joseph's hospital in phoenix last year wasn't "if" someone was going to die, it was how many. sister margaret mcbride, a catholic nun on staff at the hospital, had to make a tough call.

    >> it was a terrible decision for sister margaret to make and she didn't make it alone. she was on the ethics committee .

    >> reporter: a pregnant woman had been rushed to the er, gravely ill. according to st. joseph's, the treatment necessary to save the mother's life required the termination of an 11-week pregnancy. it was a moral and ethical dilemma that would test anyone's faith.

    >> for that nun and for everybody else on that committee, that is a life-altering moment. they are making a decision to end a life to save a life.

    >> reporter: decisions like that are made in hospitals around the country every day. and usually, says this ethicist, they choose the mother.

    >> the primary concern is saving the life in front of them.

    >> reporter: so, that's what sister margaret and the ethics committee decided. the abortion was approved and the mother lived. but when her superior found out, phoenix bishop thomas olmstead, he excommunicated sister margaret saying in a statement, "the end does not justify the means." but some experts in church law say the bishop went too far.

    >> if a person knowingly and willingly performs an abortion, then that person is excommunicated. but my contention is that there was naganoingly and willingly done in this regard. they were acting, you see, to save the life of the woman and that was their main concern.

    >> reporter: the punishment is prompting some to ask just how the church could turn its back on a nun for saving a life, while priests accused of abusing boys take years to be defrocked.

    >> in answer to the question, i would say it doesn't look good.

    >> reporter: the diocese of phoenix stands by the decision. the perspective simply that a person can't do evil even to bring about good. but it is frustrating to san jose who knew sister margaret as a nun first, a hospital administrator second.

    >> i think they're out of touch. they're out of touch with reality today.

    >> reporter: sister margaret still works at the hospital, in another position, and is not talking. her decision, it seems, between her and god. for "today," lee cowan, nbc news, los angeles .

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