Photograph by Greg Schneider/Genesis

Truth detector

Roe v. Wade | Even some allies question Lila Rose's tactics, but her undercover work has revealed the ugly nature of Planned Parenthood

Lila Rose walked into the Santa Monica Planned Parenthood, heart hammering. She was wearing flip-flops and an old T-shirt. A camcorder was buried inside her purse.

Stepping out of the elevator, she saw six women sitting in the reception area, waiting for their appointments-waiting to extinguish a life. Lila stared at their faces, weight pressing on her heart-these women carried two lives. Soon, that second life would be gone.

The green wall behind them featured an elegant mural with the word Esperanza (meaning "hope") flourished across it. Rose thought, "This must be the most hopeless place in Santa Monica."

We see you’ve been enjoying the content on our exclusive member website. Ready to get unlimited access to all of WORLD’s member content?
Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.
(Don’t worry. It only takes a sec—and you don’t have to give us payment information right now.)

Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.

When her turn came, Rose told the Planned Parenthood staffer she was 15 years old and impregnated by her 23-year-old boyfriend.

But in reality, Rose is a passionate pro-life advocate, a Christian, and a former homeschooled debater whose passion for the pro-life movement began when she was 9 years old. One day, she found a little book in her living room, John Willke's Handbook on Abortion. Its cover bore the image of a somber woman with haunting eyes. Rose opened the book and saw a creased page in the middle displaying images of aborted babies. She saw their tiny hands and feet.

Horrified, Rose pushed the book away. But something pulled at her to open it again, and she began to read. She read that 4,000 babies were aborted every day. It was unreal to her 9-year-old mind that anyone could deliberately kill a baby. A frightening world opened up to her: Young, innocent lives were not safe.

Rose was the third-oldest child, sandwiched between five boys, in a family where life was always treasured. As a high-school student, she participated in debate and researched human-rights issues. She traveled to Mexico at age 14 on a house-building mission trip. During the next two years she also traveled to Morocco and organized a benefit for Nigerian famine victims.

But her heart was constantly drawn back to those tiny hands and feet-to the defenseless unborn. In every country she visited, the thought tugged: "Children down the street from my house will never have a chance to live." At age 15, Rose began to focus her work on fighting abortion. She founded the organization Live Action in her living room.

Live Action focuses on reaching young adults and helping them overcome the "stifling din" of pro-abortion marketing. Rose and her comrades began giving Power Point presentations in schools and churches-but the work was lonely. Rose remembers a time when no one showed up for a Live Action meeting. Discouraged, she turned to her mom and asked, "What am I doing wrong? Do they not care?"

"Leadership is lonely," her mother replied. "You have to forge the path, and people will follow." Rose struggled with the desire to please others, to fit in, to have friends. But the more time she dedicated to fighting abortion, the more these worries dwindled. She became consumed in the work before her.

By the time Rose enrolled in UCLA, her new organization was gaining traction throughout California. During the first quarter of her freshman year she began undercover work. She wanted to find out what the UCLA Student Health Center was telling young women about abortion, so she walked into the center with a voice recorder in her blouse.

Rose sat down with the head nurse and told her that she was pregnant and wanted to keep the baby. The nurse told Rose matter-of-factly that UCLA would not help pregnant women, but two abortionists were on call. If Rose continued her pregnancy, the nurse reasoned, she would have to make embarrassing bathroom trips during class.

The nurse also told Rose that the health center could get her a state paid-for abortion so that her parents would never have to know. Appalled by the nurse's coercive demeanor, Rose thought to herself, "This is the farthest thing from real choice." She produced a video and audio exposé using the material.

Rose organized her first investigation of Planned Parenthood only a short while later. It was more intense and frightening for the 19-year-old freshman. When Rose claimed to be 15, the staffer suggested that Rose change her birthdate on the paperwork so that her boyfriend would not get in trouble.

Rose visited a second Planned Parenthood that day. The manager of the clinic told Rose that she had gotten pregnant at a young age as well. "If I could do it again," the manager said, her voice firm and reassuring, "I would not continue the pregnancy." She said her son is now 16 years old.


You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading


    Troubling ties

    Under the Clinton State Department, influence from big money…