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Published: July 18, 2011 6:17 pm to Opinion Column

‘RH Reality Check’ misrepresents Lila Rose, pro-life movement as ‘anti-sex’

At RH Reality Check, Amanda Marcotte offers a perplexing and colorful story about pro-life activism that is bound to leave reality-conscious readers scratching their heads. Marcotte’s claim is that the pro-life movement is not at all about protecting life but is, instead, “anti-sex”. For reasons that only Marcotte knows, she adds false claims about Live Action and Lila Rose to the mix. More troubling, she appears to have no understanding at all that child sex trafficking is something that should be prevented. Is this the new ‘reality’ at RH Reality Check?

I’ll leave it to others to take on Marcotte’s conspiracy theories about an “anti-sex” agenda in what she terms the “religious right”, but will address her misrepresentation of Live Action and Lila Rose. There is nothing in Lila Rose’s work at Live Action that could reasonably be interpreted to be “anti-sex” unless Marcotte believes that working to keep predators from sexually exploiting children is “anti-sex”. Sadly, this does appear to be her position.

Marcotte specifically refers to Live Action’s investigation of Planned Parenthood clinics where workers showed willingness to turn a blind eye to child sex trafficking.

“[T]he only reason to release the videos and act like something scandalous is in them is to suggest that the “dirtiness” of some people should prevent them from obtaining reproductive health care.”

Are we really now at the point in America’s discourse on human dignity that we have to explain to so-called “pro-choice” columnists why child sex trafficking is bad? Child sex trafficking is not bad because the “religious right” thinks it is “dirty”. Child sex trafficking is bad because it is an egregious assault on the dignity of the human child. It is because it is an assault on the dignity of children that laws are in place to require reporting.

Any culture that is turning a blind eye to the practice of child sex trafficking is a culture in need of reform. Marcotte is not merely suggesting that Planned Parenthood does not possess such a culture, she is saying to us that if it did possess such a culture, it would not be wrong.

I do appreciate that Marcotte gives credit to Live Action for sparking a movement to defund Planned Parenthood.

“It’s worth noting that Lila Rose set the tone for this with her round of videos that kicked off the current defunding craze.”

Pro-lifers would argue that it is not a “craze” to call for defunding any organization that has allowed such a culture to develop in its local branches. Rather, we will continue in our hope that it will never become a “craze” to defend such organizations by claiming that something as hideous as child sex trafficking might actually be a legitimate form of income for a corporation, whether that corporation is tax-funded or not.

About Lisa Graas

Lisa Graas is a single, disabled mom of four. Lisa has served as a board member for Kentucky Right to Life and as a crisis pregnancy counselor for the Archdiocese of Louisville. Lisa was previously a contributor at NewsRealBlog.com and is a current contributor for TreeFrogClick.com. Lisa was voted the second best Catholic to follow on Twitter (after the Pope) at About.com's 2013 "Catholicism" Readers' Choice Awards.
View all posts by Lisa Graas

  • Mademoiselle B.

    No one needs to misrepresent Lila Rose, she represents herself quite accurately as a dishonest attention whore – all on her own. If you’re going to lie and pull dirty tricks to serve your agenda, you don’t get to whine about people calling you on it. Acting like a lying, conniving and shameless fraud will get people talking about you. Go figure. Being a decent, honest, fair human being might get people off your back. Unlikely, I know.. but just a thought.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stacie.picklesimer Stacie Zoppel Picklesimer

      Just a thought… but if you were to see PETA doing undercover videos at puppy mills or a kill shelter and they caught some underhanded (and illegal) behavior, would you call  those PETA members out as “Dishonest attention whores”? Or would you laud them as heroes who were able to uncover horrible, inhumane injustices?

      You only don’t like her or her work because you disagree with what she’s doing.  Which also makes me wonder, why? Why do you speak with such venom, and why are you so defensive?  Is it because you’re seeing truth and you can’t handle how it shines?

      • Anonymous

        I don’t care for PETA’s ad campaigns, usually, but whether or not I considered a PETA person an attention whore would depend upon whether that person plastered photos of him/herself all over the PETA website and kept trying to get him/herself on camera in a miniskirt with his/her hair done up as if for a shampoo commercial.

        Actually, I would like to know how Ms. Rose gets her hair so shiny.  Lila, if you tell me what product you use, I’ll skip my next bimonthly donation to Planned Parenthood in your honor.

        • Huh?

          Everyone seems to hold a different view.  I consider perpetual trolls the biggest attention whores of all.

          And when did Lila ever post photos of herself in a miniskirt on this website?

        • Stitzelfritz

          Because no one from PETA ever poses nude on billboards or wearing lettuce dresses on the street or body paints themselves like a fox in nothing but underwear and parades around in public like that.  And also, no one every in the history of television has tried to get themselves on TV.

          Though I’ll concede that Lila does have shiny hair.

        • Djushi

          LY112, for one thing whether a person craves attention or not has nothing to do, really, with the cause they back, and for another Lila does not seem to have very many photos about considering that she started Live Actions – did she not? If a good-looking girl started PETA I am pretty sure, no, very sure, that photos of that person would be really plastered everwhere. On articles which she wrote, she’s got a thumbnail of herself by her name, as do the other autors. Just because they may not be stunningly good looking, they’re allowed to do that? Would you rather she appeared with blurry eyes, fuzzy hair and wearing her pj’s?

      • Mademoiselle B.

        If Peta were proven to have doctored, edited or manipulated the videos, yes I’d say the same thing as I just did. (Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened and Peta or others apparently don’t have to edit their videos to “prove a point” – the abuse is real and all that’s needed is to film it – editing or fabricating isn’t necessary.)

        If Lila Rose’s videos were made honestly, it would be very different. Unfortunately, the videos were not made honestly and were proven to have been the result of crappy editing. Editing to change what had actually been said to attempt to “prove” wrongdoing or to ignorantly (or if not ignorant, then maliciously) claim some illegal advice is given when in reality it was absolutely legal and in fact proper procedures.

        Misinformation and propaganda are not on my list of honest and respectable tactics to use. Ever. I have no respect for bottom feeders who cheat to win – no matter how entitled they believe they are to win,

        I am disgusted by such dishonest and underhanded tactics to further a cause, any cause, regardless of whether it affects, animals, people or foetuses, I don’t support that kind of thing and I find it questionable that you would defend it.

        Even though she probably thinks of herself as some kind of hero and is probably oblivious of the serious consequences and damage caused by her stunts, her lying and deception trash videos or the REAL impact they have on people’s lives and health. Innocent bystanders that have nothing to do with abortion or sex trafficking but who depend on Planned Parenthood for other health services they could not afford otherwise. Lila Rose doesn’t have that problem herself, does she, Privilege is nice that way, it comes with medical coverage for herself, doesn’t it? Of course it does.

        Well isn’t that nice. How heroic of her to save the day and make sure people lose access to these health services that don’t even have anything to do with abortion. Yes, sure, Lila Rose is an example of White Privileged Heroes are all about, isn’t she?!

        Her little games may be justified to her but if that’s the case, it’s only because she could not care less who or how many people get hurt by her lies, even if they’re just collateral to her. I cannot respect that.

        That is why I have so much (according to you) venom… I prefer to think of it as absolute disgust for liars and bottom feeder tactics. But if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t value critical thinking and objective reasoning or if you just agree with the cheap tactics Lila Rose champions…then keep defending her.

        I’m afraid I won’t be joining to cheer for her. And I certainly will not defend her underhanded bs.

        • Guest

          Which video was doctored and how?  The full footage is available online in each case.  Unless you’re talking about that minor a/v synch error MediaMatters found in one of the abridged releases, which distorted absolutely nothing.  It was caused by a junior editor who lives in a different state and had never before worked with Live Action.  Crappy editing, maybe, but in no way misleading.  I would suggest actually watching the full videos for yourself and drawing your own conclusions.  You seem to imply that you’re the kind of person who values critical thinking and objective reasoning:

          http://liveaction.org/traffick

          If you actually do that, you may suddenly find it very difficult to argue that they’re doctored…

          This picture also casts doubt on the idea that the videos are doctored:

          http://liveaction.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/lila-huckabee-foxnewss-alert2.jpg

          Notice that Lila doesn’t appear to be in federal prison for sending the FBI a bunch of doctored tapes.  This leaves only two possibilities, if your argument is correct:

          1.  She outsmarted the feds (!!!)
          2.  She has a twin that she hasn’t told anyone about.  This twin looks, sounds, and acts exactly the same as Lila herself.

          Which would you say you subscribe to?

          Next, you seem to suggest that what the videos showed was legal, ethical behaviour.  I believe this is what one calls “kettle logic”, a form of reasoning where you make multiple mutually exclusive claims.  If the videos don’t show any wrongdoing, why would you accuse Live Action of doctoring them (and why wouldn’t they make more damning videos if they really are doctoring them anyway?)

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kettle_logic

          Planned Parenthood, some leftist blogs, some media outlets, and yourself may think that telling a pimp how to get exactly what he needs to keep his 14 year old sex slaves on the street is professional behaviour.  Law enforcement authorities and real sex trafficking experts seem to have a different opinion:

          http://liveaction.org/blog/planned-parenthood-willingness-to-support-sex-trafficking-of-minors/

          http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/2/planned-parenthood-a-culture-of-sexploitation/

          It would likely take someone more patient than myself to explain why contacting the FBI 3-7 days later isn’t an acceptable response to a sex trafficker of underage girls.  There is only one credible report (which is discussed in the source that you link to) of Planned Parenthood immediately contacting local authorities as required by state law (and common sense?).  The other six are either unaccounted for or disproven:

          http://liveaction.org/blog/police-no-record-from-planned-parenthood/
          http://www.jillstanek.com/2011/02/planned-parenthood-lies-did-not-tell-authorities-about-new-york-sex-trafficker/

          Other than the very likely possibility that you strongly support legal abortion, I can’t see why you would direct all of your vitriol toward Lila Rose instead of Planned Parenthood.  If Planned Parenthood’s priority really was providing health care and not abortions, which they themselves say is only 3% of what they do, they could stop doing them entirely.  This way, they wouldn’t have to put up with Lila Rose or any other pro-life organization.  They wouldn’t face nearly as many defunding scares.  But the fact is that they will sooner reject funding and cut their health services than stop doing abortions.  For financial and/or ideological reasons, Planned Parenthood is first and foremost an abortion organization, doing more than a quarter of abortions nationwide.

          http://liveaction.org/blog/planned-parenthood-in-nh-stops-giving-birth-control-but-not-abortions/
          http://liveaction.org/blog/pp-new-hampshires-actions-reveal-its-abortion-minded-agenda/

          I’m not sure which medical service would suddenly become impossible to get without Planned Parenthood.  Most, if not all, of their services are available from a primary physician:

          http://liveaction.org/blog/medicaid-misinformation-planned-parenthood-caught-on-tape-lying-about-indiana-healthcare/

          They talk so much about their cancer screenings.  Yet they do less than 2% of the pap tests nationwide, one of the two main types of screening they do.  The other main one is the clinical breast exam, which is of debatable importance:

          http://women.webmd.com/clinical-breast-examination

          Contrary to popular belief, Planned Parenthood does NOT do mammograms, which are considered essential for cancer detection:

          http://liveaction.org/blog/planned-parenthood-ceos-false-mammogram-claim-exposed/

          Interestingly enough, it appears that they once did based on some old news articles I’ve read.  They seem to be scaling back their health services despite record federal funding.  One number does keep going up though.  Care to guess which one?

          And Lila hasn’t advocated for the defunding of women’s health care.  Her preferred course of action is to simply remove funding from Planned Parenthood and send it to other health centres to provide the same services (aside from abortion, of course).  This is what Mike Pence (the main congressman sponsoring Planned Parenthood’s defunding) advocated for as well, and it is what some states have done.  This is not a “war on family planning”, and certainly not a “war on women”.

          If you are really concerned about health care, you should be more worried about the fact that community health centres (which provide more services than Planned Parenthood) lost $500 million in federal funding this year.  The President of the United States is also holding Indiana’s entire Medicaid program hostage because they refuse to fund his pet causes.  This should also be more concerning.

          http://liveaction.org/blog/health-care-hypocrisy

          Personally, I would agree that America’s health system is in need of serious overhaul.  I won’t even try to understand the mess that it is or the right solution (mandated coverage, market based solutions, or some of each).  But defunding one billion dollar organization in a trillion dollar system isn’t going to make a huge difference either way.

          You call Lila Rose privileged at the end of your diatribe.  I would agree with you here.  She is fortunate enough to have legal protection unlike the unborn children she defends, who are at risk of losing their lives to state sanctioned killing (possibly in a taxpayer funded clinic).  I have admiration for someone who devotes her life to extending justice for the most vulnerable humans.

          Nobody here is asking you to defend or support Live Action.  You can if you’re interested in spreading the truth and advancing human rights.  But you don’t have to if you don’t want to, as it does not receive a cent of funding from any level of government.  You are more than welcome to click the X in the corner of your screen and pretend you never saw this site.  But don’t falsely call someone a liar and an attention whore without real evidence.  It is called slander, and it seems to be something you strongly oppose coming from anyone.

          • Mademoiselle B.

            Sorry guest, I’m really not willing to spend any more time debating this and going around in circle. Say what you will, if the FBI thought there was any merit to the accusations against Planned Parenthood or that they acted illegally, they would have gone after them. But they didn’t, did they? If the video proved wrongdoing then why wouldn’t the FBI do anything? The whole thing is amateurish and the reasoning and *gotcha* arguments are just childish. If it amuses you, fine,  but I personally am not willing in wasting any more time on this. I still believe what I said in my first comments but I’m afraid you’ll have to find someone else if you want to debate this. I just wonder how she sleeps at night considering the harm she does to others so that she can further herself and her cause. Real noble.

          • Guest

            Suit yourself then.  I can tell you the truth, but I can’t force you or anyone else to change their minds.  Why the FBI didn’t further investigate should be easy to understand if you follow the chain of command and connect the dots.  Who controls the FBI?  Who heads that department?  Who does he answer directly to?  And where does this person receive his campaign funds from?  This should lead you right back to Planned Parenthood if you do it right.

            There’s also the issue that the videos do not show any real cases of criminal activity because the person in the video wasn’t a real pimp and there were no children being trafficked.  This would make it much more difficult to successfully prosecute, not to mention the political risk involved.

          • Hoffmanfive

            Yep. Run from the actual facts.
            The FBI can’t use Lila Rose’s videos as evidence in prosecuting Planned Parenthood, so that’s ONE reason they haven’t “gone after them.” And the scenarios that Lila Rose and her team created, and the way they presented themselves to the Planned Parenthood staff members, would constitute entrapment in a legal context. But the responses they received were no less wrong. And to my knowledge, the validity of the videos hasn’t even been seriously debated.

            The TRUTH (not that you’re interested in THAT) is that defunding Planned Parenthood would not in ANY way diminish access to preventative health care. There are PLENTY of other health care providers who DON’T kill babies who will be more than happy to accept those same funds for health services to women. THAT is a verifiable FACT. Unlike a single thread of the nonsense you have spewed here. So yeah, you SHOULD probably excuse yourself from this debate. You’re not quite up to it.

          • Anonymous

            Speaking of not being up to the debate:

            And the scenarios that Lila Rose and her team created, and the way they
            presented themselves to the Planned Parenthood staff members, would
            constitute entrapment in a legal context.

            “Entrapment in a legal context” refers to conduct by law enforcement officers, not by pseudo-reporters.  Whatever law school you’re attending clearly needs to tighten up its admission standards. 

  • Anonymous

    Marcotte isn’t stupid – she knows perferctly well that pro-lifers are not anti-sex. She’s just throwing out insults so as to discourage Lila Rose and other pro-lifers like her. Marcotte’s message is clear: speak out publicly against abortion and you’ll be ridiculed as “anti-sex.”

    Back in the days of slavery, Democrats called Republicans “[racial slur]-lovers” because they wanted abolition. There’s no logic in calling someone a name like that; it’s merely intended to hurt and discourage people from speaking out against injustice.

    • Guest

      Some of them even call us “fetus fetishists”.  I must assume they don’t see the historical parallel that can be drawn.

  • prolife71

    The accusation is rather funny.  If you look at those of us in the pro-life movement that are married we are normally surrounded by a car load of kids.  I can assure them that sex was involved to make that happen!

    • Mademoiselle B.

      LOL FYI – I don’t really think that’s the kind of sex she was referring to. She wasn’t referring to sex between married people, I think she’s very aware you have no problem with that kind of sex. Duh.

      • Hoffmanfive

        Well then, it’s not “anti-sex,” now is it?
        “Duh.”
        If you want to characterize me as “anti- wanton casual irresponsible sex without acceptance of the natural consequences,” then I’ll cop to it. Otherwise, I’m not “anti-sex.” I’m a big fan of sex. My mini-van full of kids and the satisfied smile on my husband’s face will attest to that. It’s funny that your camp would accuse OUR side of “making sex something dirty” but the only sex YOU guys consider to be “real” sex is the illicit kind.
        ‘Cause we’re “sexually repressed,” you know. ;-)
        I am disease free, all of my children know who their father is (it’s the same one for all four), I have never experienced “morning-after regrets, and a night of unbridled passion is mine for the asking on ANY given night… I am a lot of things, but not one of them is “sexually repressed” or “anti-sex.”

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