In 2008, Live Action Founder Lila Rose went undercover at eight different Planned Parenthood facilities in six different states to see if the country’s largest abortion chain was reporting cases of sexual abuse against minors. Accompanied by pro-lifer Jackie Stollar, Rose visited Planned Parenthood facilities in Indiana, Arizona, Tennessee, Alabama, Wisconsin, and Kentucky. She posed as a 13-year-old, pregnant by a man of 27 or 31. Relationships between 13-year-old children and adult men are considered statutory rape, and are required by law to be reported.
In each facility, Planned Parenthood workers covered up the abuse and failed to report it to authorities. In Indiana, a Planned Parenthood worker told Rose to lie about the age of her boyfriend; in Wisconsin, a worker warned Rose that her abuse was supposed to be reported, and advised her to seek a judicial bypass in order to have the abortion without her parents’ consent. She was then advised to lie to the judge about her boyfriend’s age. In Alabama, Rose was told that the anything she revealed to Planned Parenthood workers “stays within these walls.” Planned Parenthood never reported the abuse in Alabama, or in any other state.
Ramona Treviño and Sue Thayer were both working at Planned Parenthood when Live Action’s investigation went public. Both women were directors of Planned Parenthood facilities that were not involved in the sting. Trevino later explained that right after the videos came out, Planned Parenthood set up a training session. It was conducted by Jean, the director of nurses at the administrator’s office in Dallas. Treviño, who was troubled by the videos, thought the training was going to be about how to identify and report sexual abuse. It wasn’t. In her book, she writes:
“… Jean never said anything about how we could help our clients. Instead, she started a PowerPoint presentation offering tips on what to do in the event Live Action were to target one of our clinics, ideas on how to protect ourselves from such an intrusion.
I doodled in a notebook to release the tension over what was unfolding. Finally, feeling the need to break the silence from the workers in attendance, I spoke up. What did I have to lose?
“Jean, uh, I guess what I’m wondering is, what we do to as managers if something like this really does happen at our clinics?” I asked. “How can we be prepared so that if it does happen, we can make sure our clients are safe and nothing illegal is going on?”
An awkward silence followed, and then Jean, clearly taken aback, responded in a stern voice, “We’re not here to discuss that, Ramona. We’re here to identify whether we’re being violated by an undercover operation.” …
“There are ways to identify whether we are being recorded on the phone or Internet, and that’s what we’re here to learn,” Jean emphasized.
Throughout the rest of the meeting, my stomach churned. The unease that had accompanied me to the meeting had been bumped up a few notches.
She sent us home with a pile of papers, mainly memos concerning what to look for in identifying potential undercover operations, including certain phrases that might be used to tip us off.
Instead of telling Planned Parenthood workers to start reporting statutory rape, or giving them training on how to identify it, Planned Parenthood’s priority was to protect itself from more undercover investigations.
Sue Thayer reports a similar situation at her Planned Parenthood facility. The Planned Parenthood administrators put Lila Rose’s photo on the wall so that workers could identify her if she ever came in. Their concern was to prevent more undercover videos from being filmed.
In an interview that took place when Thayer was no longer employed by Planned Parenthood, Rose asked her:
So after the investigations that were happening, that Live Action was doing, and exposing what was happening at Planned Parenthood and with child sexual abuse cover-up, my photo ends up in the facility. Did Planned Parenthood address that with the staff at all? Did they change their policy, did they start reporting?
No. No, quite the contrary. I mean – I actually did call in a suspected case one time, and I got in trouble for that. [I] should’ve called management first and found out if that was reportable or not, and I just called it in because I knew that it needed to be reported, and I was a mandatory reporter because of being a foster parent as well. So I felt like I really needed to. But that was frowned upon.
Even after the sting operations, workers were still expected to ignore cases of sexual abuse.
In the interview, Rose repeated, “So you had a warning poster up of me but there was no reporting, and it was in fact discouraged to report child sexual abuse.”
“Correct,” Thayer answered.
Planned Parenthood officials’ response to the Live Action investigation was not to retrain the workers or change the way Planned Parenthood handled sexual abuse cases. Instead, Planned Parenthood administration only told workers how to prevent pro-lifers from documenting more incidents. Even though Planned Parenthood had the opportunity to train workers to stop ignoring the sexual abuse of minors, it chose not to. Planned Parenthood’s concern was not with protecting the young girls, but with making sure it would not be caught protecting abusers again.
Clearly, the well-being and safety of underage girls is not important to Planned Parenthood. Covering up its complicity in sexual abuse is.
Source: Ramona Trevino “Redeemed by Grace” (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2015), 73 – 74
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