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A Planned Parenthood Center is seen in Long Island City, Queens, New York. (AP) A Planned Parenthood Center is seen in Long Island City, Queens, New York. (AP)

A Planned Parenthood Center is seen in Long Island City, Queens, New York. (AP)

Sara Swann
By Sara Swann July 20, 2023

No, these decade-old-plus videos don’t ‘expose’ Planned Parenthood aiding sex traffickers

If Your Time is short

  • The anti-abortion group Live Action recently reshared hidden-camera videos from 2011 that show hired actors posing at multiple Planned Parenthood locations as underage sex workers with their adult sex traffickers.

  • Planned Parenthood said the videos are edited to show only parts of the conversations between Planned Parenthood employees and the undercover actors. Planned Parenthood fired the employee shown in one video for acting inappropriately; the employee in the other video followed the law and company protocol.

  • This new post omits that soon after the incidents shown in the videos, Planned Parenthood workers reported the alleged sex trafficking to authorities and fired the non-compliant employee.

For more than a decade, the anti-abortion group Live Action has attacked Planned Parenthood, saying the reproductive health care provider helps sex traffickers exploit minors. Live Action continues to push that narrative.

In a July 16 Instagram post, Live Action shared a series of tweets about Planned Parenthood posted by Live Action founder and president, Lila Rose.

"Planned Parenthood helps human traffickers continue to abuse & sell children," Rose’s first tweet in the post reads. "Planned Parenthood is a pillar of the sex trafficking industry."

Subsequent slides in the Instagram post show hidden-camera videos from 2011 in which Live Action said actors working for the group posed as a "pimp" and a "prostitute" at multiple Planned Parenthood locations.

"Planned Parenthood has repeatedly been exposed by @LiveAction for aiding sex traffickers in their crimes," a slide referencing one video says. Two slides that follow include portions of Live Action’s undercover videos.

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The videos are more than a decade old and Planned Parenthood said they are edited selectively. Live Action’s post also omits the actions Planned Parenthood took after these incidents occurred.

The first video, released in 2011, shows an employee at a New Jersey Planned Parenthood advising undercover Live Action actors on how an underage prostitute could continue to work after having an abortion. The clinic’s staff notified law enforcement of an alleged sex trafficking ring following this incident, and Planned Parenthood fired the employee shortly after the video was released, ABC News reported.

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.

Thirty-five states, including Virginia, have a judicial bypass process that lets minors request court approval for abortions without their parents’ knowledge or consent, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion-rights research organization.

Virginia and most other states also require medical professionals to report evidence of alleged sex crimes involving minors. ABC News reported in 2011 that Planned Parenthood said the employee immediately reported the incident involving the undercover actors to a supervisor, who informed Planned Parenthood’s national security team that works with the FBI.

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These videos were part of a series of sting operations Live Action executed in 2011 at several Planned Parenthood locations. Planned Parenthood said at the time that it alerted federal authorities of these incidents involving the alleged sex trafficking of minors. Soon after, Planned Parenthood identified one of the actors and his affiliation with Live Action, and informed the Department of Justice that these visits were "likely a hoax."

Planned Parenthood also said the Live Action videos were "heavily doctored, often merging together disparate pieces of conversation to create false impressions and remove critical context."

In documents provided to HuffPost in 2011, Planned Parenthood conducted a frame-by-frame analysis of similar hidden-camera visits by Live Action in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The analysis shows Live Action’s videos omitted large parts of conversations.

In 2008, Rose, Live Action’s founder, who was then 20, posed as a pregnant 13-year-old at an Indianapolis Planned Parenthood. In the edited video, Rose says, "If they find out about I — us — pregnant, then they will find out about my boyfriend. And I don't want him to get in trouble." The Planned Parenthood volunteer responds, "Yes, absolutely."

But in the unedited video’s transcript, Rose said, "If they find out about I — us — pregnant, is it confidential?" To which, the Planned Parenthood volunteer responds, "Yes, absolutely."

Then Rose says, "If they’ll find out about my boyfriend, then I don’t want him to get in trouble."

The Planned Parenthood volunteer responds, "I can understand that. We have laws to follow here in Indiana. And you have to get approval if you’re a minor. And we have to follow the laws. Now I can give you a lawyer, someone to go to to get that judicial bypass." (The last sentence was omitted from the edited video.)

Following Live Action’s undercover operations, Planned Parenthood said in 2011 that it would retrain more than 11,000 staff members across its over 800 U.S. locations. The training focused specifically on the organization’s policies and procedures for responding to situations in which a minor’s welfare seems endangered.

Our ruling

A Live Action Instagram post claimed videos showed Planned Parenthood aiding sex traffickers in their crimes.

Planned Parenthood said the videos, released in 2011, were edited to show only parts of conversations Planned Parenthood employees had with people whom Live Action had hired and posed as sex workers and sex traffickers. The employee in one video was fired for acting inappropriately; an employee in a different video followed the law and company protocol.

These videos show staged events involving undercover actors. Live Action’s post omits that context and other actions Planned Parenthood took following these incidents, including alerting federal authorities of alleged sex trafficking involving minors.

We rate this claim False.

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No, these decade-old-plus videos don’t ‘expose’ Planned Parenthood aiding sex traffickers

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