|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Planned Parenthood, a perennial protest target because of its role in providing abortions, has notified the FBI that at least 12 of its health centers were visited recently by a man purporting to be a sex trafficker but who may instead be part of an attempted ruse to entrap clinic employees.
In each case, according to Planned Parenthood, the man sought to speak privately with a clinic employee and then requested information about health services for sex workers, including some who he said were minors and in the U.S. illegally.
Planned Parenthood's vice president for communications, Stuart Schear, said the organization has requested an FBI probe of the man's claims and has already fielded some initial FBI inquiries. However, Schear said Planned Parenthood's own investigation indicates that the man has links with Live Action, an anti-abortion group that has conducted previous undercover projects aimed at discrediting the nation's leading abortion provider.
Lila Rose, Live Action's founder and president, described Planned Parenthood's assertion as "very interesting." She declined to confirm or deny that the clinic visits were part of a Live Action operation, but did indicate in a telephone interview that an undercover videotape project of some sort was in the works.
"The story that speaks loudest will be in the evidence," she said. "I can't comment until we release the visual evidence."
The visits were made between Jan. 11 and Jan. 15 to health centers in Virginia, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Arizona. Among them was a clinic in Tucson, Ariz., which Planned Parenthood said was visited on the 15th, a week after the shooting rampage in that city that critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Last week, Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder summarizing the visits and requesting an FBI investigation. If the man's assertions were true, she wrote, they would indicate possible violations of federal laws dealing with interstate sex trafficking of minors.
However, Richards said the visits could be part of a hoax resembling some past actions by anti-abortion activists.
"Once inside, these people have recorded `undercover' videos of their conversations with our clinic staff and then selectively and maliciously edited the videos," she wrote. "This may be happening once again. If so, this kind of activity should be firmly condemned."