Over the last few weeks, Planned Parenthood locations across the country have been visited by becostumed actors pretending to be women desperate to know whether or not their baby is a girl so that they can abort it. The similarity of the incidents combined with the strange series of questions asked by the visitors suggests that this may be the work of Live Action, a group known for staging "stings" that attempt to make outrage-inducing videos of Planned Parenthood employees acting like how conservatives imagine Planned Parenthood employees act, all shifty-eyed and bloodless.
According to the Huffington Post's Laura Bassett, the mysterious visitors have made stops at Planned Parenthood locations in at least 11 states, and the similarities between visits have led executives to believe that they're part of a coordinated effort to create more misleadingly edited sting videos. And at the top of the lists of suspects is Live Action.
This time around, the "patient" visits a Planned Parenthood desperate to learn the sex of their fetus so they can abort if it's a girl. They press to learn at what point it's possible to determine prenatal sex, and emphasize the fact that they're desperate to de-girl themselves.
In early 2011, a similar sting involved actors dressed up like a pimp and a prostitute. In that situation, Planned Parenthood employees acted ethically and did the right thing, but the videos were deceptively edited to make it seem as though the organization was totally cool with sex trafficking. Even though they've been debunked as misleading, the videos are still cited by conservatives looking to bolster their anti-Planned Parenthood stances.
Going after Planned Parenthood for being sexist would fit well with current anti-choice lines of argument; the hip new thing among "pro-life" advocates seems to be arguing that abortion is racist and sexist and is immoral because they believe that racism and sexism is immoral, not because they believe that sparing sexually active women the punishment of unwanted pregnancy is immoral. Late last year, Arizona Rep. Trent Franks introduced a bill to the US House of Representatives called The Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, which sought to address the nonproblem of race- and sex-selective abortion in the US. As an organization, Planned Parenthood is against abortion based on the sex of the fetus, but they're also pro- minding their own damn business about why a woman is choosing to have an abortion.
At this point, Planned Parenthood must feel like they're babysitting an overimaginative and under-reverent child that insists on wearing a cape and being addressed as "Captain Fantastic."
Nice try, Live Action — but the gig's up. I'd recommend aborting the mission, but you're against that.