If you don't believe the Republican Party runs a prostitution ring because individual elected officials have engaged in these acts, then you must stop smearing Planned Parenthood for the actions of one employee out of 11,000.
Written by Jodi Jacobson for RHRealityCheck.org - News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original piece.
Congressional Republicans run a prostitution ring. I know this because Senator David Vitter admitted in 2007 to procuring the services of a sex worker, though he later refused to admit it was "illegal." I don't want to keep score, but elected Republicans outrank Democrats in prostitution scandals six to one, so clearly they are pimping people out.
Congressional Republicans also condone adultery and "out-of-wedlock" childbearing. I know this because the late Congressman Henry Hyde and the late Senator Strom Thurmond both admitted to extramarital affairs and to having children out of wedlock. Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, sponsor of the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, "was married three times, and paid for his second wife's abortion; failed to pay child support to the children of his first two wives and while married to his third and present wife and was photographed licking whipped cream off of strippers at his inaugural party." On the more kinky side of sex scandals, John Bolton, former Ambassador to United Nations "is suspected of forcing his former wife to be involved in unsavory group sex acts." And, whew!, that's just a sampling of the list.
The Republican Party also condones "payoffs" to mistresses and their families, which I know because Senator John Ensign's family paid $96,000 to the family of his mistress, which some believe was a payment to "keep things quiet." I think this might be a breach of ethics but, hey.
Moreover, it may surprise many, the Republican Party condones sexual abuse of minors and promotes gay sex, despite their many protestations to the contrary (they like to keep us guessing). I know this because there have been so many Republican gay sex "scandals" including those involving minors. There's Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Ted Haggard... oh there are so many I can't list them all. You'll just have to read about them here.
What's that, you say? One bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch, girl? I can't smear the entire party with the antics of individual members? These individuals don't represent the party as a whole or Republicans writ large? Their "failings" are those of individuals, some of whom make mistakes and some of whom, frankly, are just unethical dumbasses?
Oh! I thought you might say that.
Which is why I am so surprised at the reaction to a clearly highly edited tape produced by a group "out to get" Planned Parenthood which shows one clearly idiotic and unprofessional administrative person trying to jive with a fake pimp and prostitute.
Lila Rose and her LiveAction Film team (we might call it Lie Action Films) went "undercover to 12 Planned Parenthood clinics in six states" and managed to film... one employee who clearly should not have been hired in the first place and has now been fired. One employee at one site out of a total of 85 affiliates running 818 health centers in 49 states (plus DC) out of an estimated total of 11,186 employees based on 2009 data. If that is all their "smear tactics" could produce--one employee out of over 11,000--I'd say PPFA is lookin' pretty good. I mean, out of 535 members of Congress, my list of Republican scandals doesn't even begin to scratch the surface and the ratio of scandals to members far outstrips the ratio of bad hires at PPFA many times.
The video is, in a word, disgusting, on many levels.
It is of course disgusting, and unnerving, to watch this woman, who is supposedly there to serve clients, hobknobbing with these creepy people. But she is gone. Unlike, you know, Bob Barr, John Ensign, David Vitter...
Phyllis Kinsler, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey stated:
We were profoundly shocked when we viewed the videotape released this morning, which depicted an employee of one of our health centers behaving in a repugnant manner that is inconsistent with our standards of care and is completely unacceptable. We have a zero tolerance policy for this kind of behavior, and the employee in the video was immediately suspended from her duties this morning and was terminated this evening. We are fully committed to delivering high-quality reproductive health care to the women of our communities, complying with all laws, and upholding the highest ethical standards."
But the video is disgusting also for its intention, which, as stated by Rose, is to "bring down Planned Parenthood." For its lack of any substance or proof of any pattern or any evidence whatsoever to implicate Planned Parenthood in doing anything other than providing basic reproductive and sexual health care services to 2,961,392 clients according to 2009 estimates. Instead of worrying about actual child trafficking or actually helping people get services who need them, Live Action Films is engaged in a smear campaign that is gutless and directly targeted at undermining the health and well-being--and abrogating the rights--of low-income and minority women most reliant on publicly funded services.
Noble cause, Lila. What's next?
Planned Parenthod did the right thing immediately. It notified the Dempartment of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
As soon as the pattern of visits by these supposed "child sex traffickers," became apparent, Planned Parenthood employees immediately reported to Planned Parenthood management that two highly unusual visits occurred within hours of each other by persons that claimed to be engaged in sex trafficking. On that same day, notes Stuart Schear, Vice President for Communications at PPFA, "prior to learning that these visits had also occurred in other states, the local Planned Parenthood affiliate notified local law enforcement in New Jersey. Human trafficking has been a major issue in New Jersey and affiliate leadership was concerned that these visits were a part of this deeply troubling criminal activity."
"Moreover, Planned Parenthood’s national office notified federal authorities upon learning of these and additional visits to Planned Parenthood health centers in five other states in which persons claiming to be involved in sex trafficking with minors asked for services for young women. The FBI has been collecting evidence from Planned Parenthood employees and health centers, and, as of late yesterday, was reviewing photos of at least one of the persons making these claims. The photo image was caught on security videotape by Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood brought this potential criminal activity to the attention of the highest legal authority in the United States.
In short, PPFA reported suspected child traffickers and abided by both the law and its principals of protecting people.
So let's return to reality here folks. Planned Parenthood isn't breaking any laws; quite the contrary. Unless of course there is that Republican Prostitution Ring.