April 24, 2012 — Planned Parenthood officials suspect that a series of unusual incidents at its clinics across the country are part of a new sting operation organized by antiabortion-rights activists, the Huffington Post reports.
Clinics in at least 11 states have reported more than two dozen similar "hoax visits" in recent weeks, according to Planned Parenthood spokesperson Chloe Cooney. The visits all involve an allegedly pregnant woman who asks multiple questions about sex-selective abortion, such as how soon she can be informed of the sex of the fetus and what options she could pursue to terminate the pregnancy if it is female.
Cooney said the abnormality and similarity of these incidents has raised concern among officials that the visits are being secretly recorded "with the goal of discrediting Planned Parenthood" and "restricting women's health." She noted that this would not be the first time that opponents of Planned Parenthood "have engaged in secret videotaping tactics with fictitious patient scenarios and selective editing in an attempt to promote misinformation" about the organization and its services.
Planned Parenthood suspects that the antiabortion-rights group Live Action, which has a history of similar secret videotaping campaigns, is behind the recent incidents. Kate Bryan, a spokesperson for Live Action, declined to comment on whether the group was responsible.
The incidents come as some federal and state lawmakers are promoting legislation that would impose criminal penalties on physicians who perform sex- or race-selective abortions. A few states -- Arizona, Illinois, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania -- already outlaw sex-selective abortion, the Huffington Post reports.
Cooney said Planned Parenthood condemns seeking abortion care based on sex but is "committed to providing high-quality, confidential, nonjudgmental care to all who come into our health centers." According to the Huffington Post, Planned Parenthood staff members are trained to address questions on the matter but will not deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one (Bassett, Huffington Post, 4/23).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership