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Associated Press/Photo by Charles Krupa

Going undercover

Abortion | Though Lila Rose's videos shot at Planned Parenthood locations are incriminating, no one yet has been convicted

When a girl with platinum blond hair and dark eyes walked into Planned Parenthood of Alabama in Birmingham and told the counselor she was pregnant, the counselor set up an appointment for an abortion and then asked how old the girl was. The girl laughed and said, "14." When the girl told the counselor the baby's father was 31, the counselor barely paused: "As long as you consented to having sex with him there's nothing we can truly do about that."

When the counselor told her that her parents needed to give consent to her abortion the girl asked, "Can we talk about that more? Because I can't-I don't want my parents to know." The counselor told her to talk to the health counselor manager: "I know sometimes she does bend the rules a little bit." Then she assured the girl that Planned Parenthood can't disclose anything that happens within its walls to the 14-year-old's parents, and that anyone with the same last name can sign.

The problem is that this advice violates Alabama law on several points. A parent must consent to a minor's abortion-not just someone with the same last name. An adult having sex with a 14-year-old has committed statutory rape and must be reported to law enforcement immediately.

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The girl who posed as the pregnant 14-year-old and recorded the exchange with the counselor is Lila Rose, president of Live Action, and this is the fifth video released in her undercover investigation of nine Planned Parenthood locations. This particular recording, which took place in July 2008, got a response from government officials. The Alabama Department of Public Health investigated and has put center on probation after finding nine legal violations.

The investigation revealed that a 13-year-old girl-this one legitimately pregnant-came for an abortion twice in four months. She reported that she had sex as a 12-year-old and had multiple partners. Although, as the investigative report states, "a reasonable person would suspect abuse or neglect" in such a case, there is no record of Planned Parenthood exploring the possibility of abuse or neglect in the case. Investigators also reported that Planned Parenthood failed to develop policies that could consistently implement the parental consent law and failed to obtain proper parental consent in nine of nine sampled cases.

Bottom line, says the report: Everyone at center has a different idea of Alabama law, and "this places all minor patients who receive abortions at the center at risk."

Rose said that Planned Parenthood has to this date not been criminally convicted of a crime-an omission she calls "shocking." While Live Action investigations have turned up similar legal transgressions at other Planned Parenthoods, most of its investigations so far have seen attorney generals balking at the political cost and passing the buck, she said. In Tennessee, the legislature voted to defund Planned Parenthood after the Live Action investigation. In Indiana, a grand jury trial is investigating the matter further. In Arizona, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney told The Associated Press, "The videos are disturbing," but would not comment on any further activities the office might take.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood offices across the country are posting Rose's picture so that employees can recognize her when she's undercover. The platinum blond hair job kept the brunette under the radar for this investigation, but now centers are starting to post pictures of her as a blonde as well as a brunette. "So they're catching on," she said-but not quite soon enough.

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