There are threads of discussion and news arising out of the ‘sting’ operation that saw Planned Parenthood in New Jersey caught on video coaching a supposed pimp and prostitute on how to acquire contraception and abortions for trafficked underage sex slaves. The enquirers, who were in fact undercover Live Action members, posted the video, and also supplied it to the FBI
One is that this joins a great deal of other evidence that Planned Parenthood is not on the side of women, and that its employees are prepared to break the law in order to bring in business. Former director of a Planned Parenthood facility, Abby Johnson, says: “I can tell you from experience that Planned Parenthood often turns a blind eye to sexual abuse and trafficking – what you see in Live Action’s videos is not a rare occurrence. But ignorance is no defense, especially when it has turned their clinics into a safe haven for those who sexually exploit women and girls. This is not a training problem so much as it is an ideology problem.”
The other is the debate on the Catholic blogosphere about whether the tactics used by Live Action to get the video constituted lying, and if so, whether and in what circumstances lying is acceptable. Siris has an excellent roundup of the debate, with links to articles on both sides and his own considered opinion.I particularly like his characterisation of lying (in some circumstances) being a morally defective way of achieving an end that is consistent with love of God and neighbour.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood supporters have said that the released video was edited and even the full version cannot be trusted since it might have been tampered with. In other words, they’re accusing Live Action of lying.
That said, the clinic concerned has fired the manager caught on video, so they, at least, didn’t think the video was provably false.
If this is war, as many people have said – and I think it is indeed the war against good and evil – then it should be no surprise that ‘truth’ has been a casualty.
The title of this piece, by the way, is from the poem Marmion by Sir Walter Scott: ‘Oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.’ My mother used to quote that to me.