Live Action is back with a new "undercover investigation" which it says depicts an abortion counselor advocating infanticide, similar to — you guessed it — what allegedly went down at Dr. Kermit Gosnell's clinic. Timely! But just as the Gosnell trial only emphasizes how important it is that women have access to safe and legal abortion, this video shows that the clinics targeted by the sting operation are totally playing by the rules — and that Live Action is becoming less and less relevant with every misleading video it releases.
Live Action, founded by 24-year-old wannabe Joan of Arc Lila Rose (read our profile of her and her misguided savior complex here) aims to "reveal the truth" behind Planned Parenthood, a challenging goal given that the "truth" behind Planned Parenthood is that its services are safe, legal and necessary. Rose got lucky a few years ago, when Live Action caught a clinic staffer on tape encouraging an actor masquerading as a patient to lie to avoid mandatory reporting laws; the staffer was quickly fired, because Planned Parenthood has no hidden agenda. Live Action does, however, and its subsequent videos, which usually have a news peg, are all spin and no substance.
This time, the peg is the Gosnell trial — although his business was very clearly able to thrive because of limited access to reproductive choice, not because of reproductive choice itself, Live Action's staff saw a solid opportunity to preach their 100% anti-abortion dogma and went for it. They flopped.
"Gosnell is not alone," reads the video description. "Videos document the blatantly inhuman and barbaric acts of abortionists leaving crying babies to die, or even killing the newborns themselves."
We must not be watching the same video? Here's a quick recap from Media Matters:
The Live Action video depicts a woman at Dr. Emily Woman's Health Center in the Bronx inquiring after an abortion in the 23rd week of her pregnancy — a procedure that is legal in New York State. The woman speaks to both a clinician and a counselor at the facility, and the video is edited down to make it appear as though the clinician describes a procedure in which a baby that survives an abortion is killed using a toxic solution.
Based solely on this exchange, Live Action claimed that the doctor who performs abortions at the clinic "has violated" the state's law against murder in the first degree and called on the state's attorney general to launch a homicide investigation. But Live Action edited out from the video the portion in which the clinician makes clear that the situation they're talking about has never happened in her experience and the discussion is hypothetical, and the video shows the counselor explaining to the woman that the doctor would have to resuscitate the baby if that situation did occur.
Rose told me last year that she's "completely at peace" with Live Action's chopped-up videos, which she claims are only edited for clarity. "We're not doing this to trick anybody." But when the only "truth" that matters has little to do with actual facts, the definition of "trick" also has to be taken with a grain of salt.
The overly chill intake person in the video is admittedly unprofessional; she didn't break any laws, but she also didn't seem very well trained, which is a case for better training, not fewer/no abortions. At worst, this video could serve as fodder for legislators who want to control what doctors and nurses can and can't discuss with patients. Luckily, it doesn't seem like it's making much of an impression on anyone.