Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla.
A string of undercover videos that shows employees of the nation’s largest abortion provider aiding and abetting underage sex-trafficking has prompted powerful players on Capitol Hill to call for the cash-strapped federal government to stop funding Planned Parenthood.
In the videos, members of the pro-life activist organization Live Action posed as the “managers” of 14- and 15-year-old prostitutes, even girls illegally brought into the country, and taped Planned Parenthood employees offering services, proposing ways to skirt mandatory reporting laws and helping the pimps find ways to get abortions for the girls.
Now Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – which in turn oversees federal grants to Planned Parenthood – is demanding action.
“We’re going to bring Health and Human Services Secretary [Kathleen] Sebelius, put her under oath in the spring and ask her to explain what is she doing about these videos,” Stearns said at a press conference yesterday. “And if she lies, then we’re going to ask the attorney general to investigate her.”
“Taxpayers are demanding to know how their money is being spent,” Stearns continued in a statement, “and these videos answer how Planned Parenthood uses public dollars.”
Members of the House have already proposed three different bills that would ensure no federal dollars fund abortions, Politico reports, and the appropriations panel has also promised to cut off a federal family planning program that Planned Parenthood relies on for grants and contracts.
Earlier this week, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., stood on the House floor and pushed for one of the bills that would end federal funding of the abortion industry:
“It’s heartbreaking news this morning,” he said, “that Planned Parenthood of America has now been the subject of one more undercover video showing someone posing as a pimp being facilitated by employees of Planned Parenthood in how to secure secret abortions, [sexually transmitted disease] testing and contraception for child prostitutes.
“The time has come to deny all federal funding to Planned Parenthood,” he continued. “Pro-life Americans and all Americans should not be forced to subsidize America’s largest abortion provider.”
Video of Rep. Pence’s comments can be seen below:
Stearns further insisted that at a time when legislators are looking for ways to cut the massive national deficit, there’s no excuse to keep Planned Parenthood in the budget.
“Taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood is increasing, rising from $337 million in 2008 to $363.2 million in 2009,” said Stearns. “We have a $14 trillion national debt while running a deficit this year of $1.5 trillion – Planned Parenthood is an egregious abuse of taxpayer funds.
“Not only does this organization provide about one in every five abortions in this nation,” he continued, “its centers have also been caught violating state sexual assault and child abuse reporting laws, and it has encouraged young girls to lie about their ages to circumvent state reporting laws.”
Live Action’s latest exposé, filmed only a few miles from Stearns’ press conference in Washington, D.C., includes the audio of a Planned Parenthood employee offering to refer a Live Action member posing as a sex-trafficker of underage girls to clinics where the teens could get abortions.
“If they need an abortion or something?” the “pimp” asked. “Well, what’s the process for that?”
“For that, we don’t do it,” the Planned Parenthood employee answered. “But we give referrals.”
Audio of the exchange can be heard below:
“The pattern in D.C., just miles from Capitol Hill and the White House, is clear: Presented with information that underage girls are being exploited for commercial sex, Planned Parenthood again shows its willingness to aid and abet sex traffickers,” Said Lila Rose, president of Live Action, on the organization’s website. “Untold damage has already been done to countless girls and young women, whose safety and health are clearly at risk because organizations like Planned Parenthood provide confidentiality and safe haven for sex traffickers.”
“Live Action has previously released more than a dozen hidden camera videos from ten states,” Live Action asserted in a statement. “This body of visual evidence shows several alarming patterns of illegal Planned Parenthood activities including cover-up of sexual abuse of minors, the skirting of parental consent laws, citing unscientific and fabricated medical information to manipulate women to have abortions, and Planned Parenthood’s willingness to accept donations earmarked to abort African-American babies.”
Live Action founder Lila Rose, a UCLA student, and her team of friends have conducted stings that prompted multiple investigations by states. Investigations in Virginia cost Planned Parenthood $500,000 in funding, in Orange County, Calif., $300,000, the potential loss of $1.1 million in Tennessee and another $4.5 million in California.
Further, the Monroe County, Ind., prosecutor launched a grand jury investigation in response to videos revealing alleged sexual abuse cover-up. In Arizona, the Maricopa County prosecutor asked the legislature to strengthen existing reporting statutes. In Alabama, Attorney General Troy King launched an investigation of Planned Parenthood and in the same state, the Department of Health put Planned Parenthood of Birmingham on probation after finding many violations.
Live Action notes that federal law makes sexual trafficking of minors a crime punishable by a 10-year-to-life prison term. And anyone who aids or abets the crime can be punished as if he or she had committed the crime.
The organization also noted that Planned Parenthood receives in the range of $300 million of taxpayer funding each year.
Previous videos document misinformation coming from Planned Parenthood:
Also uncovered was the willingness to accept race-based donations:
And then there’s the issue of concealing sex abuse: