Leah Anthony Libresco
Lila Rose's pro-choice group, Live Action, continues to release videos from their 'sting operations against Planned Parenthood. They're trying to position the videos as exposés, and the allegedly damning material has turned out to be a revelation... about the tactics and anti-rule of law mindset behind many pro-life groups.
In the so-called stings, Live Action sent a team of actors claiming to be seeking STI tests into Planned Parenthood clinics to meet with staffers. The actors pretended to be a pimp and a prostitute who were considering bringing their charges in to see a doctor. Once they were talking to an employee, the Live Action actors explained that, in addition to STI testing, they wanted to know what kind of medical services might be available to sex workers, especially if they were illegal immigrants or underage. The whole time, the Live Action spy cameras were rolling.
Live Action has trumpeted the videos as a scandal and castigated Planned Parenthood for 'helping sex traffickers.' Rose and her friends in Congress have called for the complete defunding of Planned Parenthood. So what crimes did the Planned Parenthood employees allegedly commit? They explained the law to the actors. That's it.
Live Action slammed a clinic in Roanoke, Virginia for telling the actors that girls over the age of 12 did not need the permission of a parent or guardian to be prescribed birth control. The clinic worker was correct. A clinic in the Bronx was attacked by Live Action for explaining that any sex workers, even those under 18, would not require the signature of a parent to receive an abortion. The clinic worker correctly explained New York law. In Falls Church, Virginia, a clinic worker told the actors that the doctors did not require proof of citizenship to schedule an abortion. Once again, a legally correct opinion.
Live Action has tried to claim that Planned Parenthood was aiding and abetting sex offenders (ignoring the fact that clinics reported their visits from the pimp to the FBI), but their outraged rhetoric betrays their real grudge: they are furious that Planned Parenthood helps women access legal medical procedures that Live Action believes to be immoral. Their press releases ask if anyone can think it is 'professional' to explain to a criminal the criteria for anonymous medical care or how to properly navigate the clinics scheduling system.
That is exactly what professionalism looks like. Criminals are not denied access to medical care, and trafficked sex workers certainly should not be prohibited from receiving care, especially because they are at high risk of STI against their will. Live Action would apparently prefer that Planned Parenthood deliberately misrepresent the law to a patient, rather than do anything which might help a criminal and his victims. They see the doctor not as the advocate for the patient, but as a deliberate stumbling block, preventing people from knowing their legal rights.
Pro-life activists show a contempt of law when they encourage medical professionals to act as gatekeepers, acting to prevent patients from receiving care they are legally entitled to. Citing conscience, pharmacists refuse to dispense birth control pills to unmarried women. They refuse to fill prescriptions for the morning after pill, plan B, and other forms of emergency birth control, even when their deliberate slow-down prevents women from receiving their legally prescribed medication within the narrow time horizon in which it is effective. In a particularly horrific case, an Idaho pharmacist refused to fill a prescription to stop uterine hemorrhages requested by Planned Parenthood because the pharmacist believed the life-saving medicine might be used to treat a woman after an abortion. The pharmacist actively obstructed care, refusing to dispense the anti-bleeding medication and refusing to refer the woman's doctor to any other pharmacy.
Ostensibly pro-life activists are trying to throw up barriers to legal and lifesaving care nationwide. Currently under a law called EMTALA, any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding is obligated to treat anyone in a state of medical emergency, regardless of citizenship, criminal record, or ability to pay. If a patient requires emergency treatment, but the hospital is incapable of performing it, the hospital is required to transport the patient to a hospital with the appropriate facilities. Republicans and anti-abortion groups are now trying to claim that EMTALA applies to all emergency care except abortion.
In other words, the people purportedly on the side of life want doctors to have a special exemption to not provide urgently needed, life-saving medical treatment to women if they require termination of a pregnancy. All people would be permitted the legal treatments they require except pregnant women. Even worse, anti-abortion doctors are contending that they won't refer women suffering a medical crisis to a different hospital to get the abortion that could save their life.
A school shooter with a gunshot wound would be entitled to an ambulance ride to a better-equipped hospital if the first one he staggered into didn't have the ability to treat him. A pregnant woman who had committed no crime and was seeking a legal treatment could be turned out into the street, no matter how grave her condition.
When those on the anti-abortion side can't win their legislative battles, they encourage doctors to break the law or to misrepresent it, in order to prevent women from receiving the care to which they are legally entitled. Their actions are a serious threat to the integrity of the medical profession, the rule of law, and the lives of women. Their calls for other doctors to join them in their campaign of malpractice deserve to be ignored.