scale justice

“Cocaine,” Rick James famously declared, “is a hell of a drug.” It must be, since according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s website, over twenty nine thousand kilos of it were seized in 2010. While it may have helped generate humorous anecdotes involving Rick James and Charlie Murphy, cocaine’s aggregate effects have been less than salutary. One problem has been criminal violence: being both lucrative and illegal, the cocaine market is run by organizations that often leave bloodshed in their wake. To combat them, the US government has a number legislative tools at it’s disposal, including the Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute and the RICO Act.

Passed in 1970, RICO is an acronym for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. Under its provisions, individuals can be prosecuted for running an organization through “a pattern of racketeering activity.” “Racketeering activity” includes a broad array of state and federal crimes. The Supreme Court ruled in  H.J. Inc v. Northwestern Bell Tele. Co. that a “pattern” exists where there is “continuity” and “relationship” between the offenses. Crimes have continuity if they have been taking place for a substantial period of time or were likely to have been committed in perpetuity. There is a relationship between the crimes if they share “the same or similar purposes, results, participants, victims, or methods of commission…” Those that run afoul of RICO’s criminal provisions face lengthy prison terms, while their victims are entitled to receive treble damages in civil court.

While Congress may have had narco-traffickers and the mafia in mind when it passed the RICO Act, not all of those prosecuted under it have resembled Tony Montana. The act has been used against corporations, as well as corrupt police departments. There is another group that deserves to be on this list, one that has assisted human traffickers and statutory rapists. Further, this syndicate would not be difficult for the federal government to track down–in fact, Congress writes it a check for three hundred million dollars every year. Its name is Planned Parenthood, and its history of racketeering has been extensive.

Some time ago, slavery went out of fashion in America. Evidence of this can be seen in Section One of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Further evidence can be found in the United States Code, which outlaws both sex trafficking and providing assistance to those who engage in it. At Planned Parenthood, however, it seems that the no-slavery-theme has yet to catch on: when individuals purporting to be pimps and underage prostitutes went to Planned Parenthood facilities in early 2011, they found representatives who were happy to aid and abet them.

At a clinic in New Jersey, a counselor stated that, “If they’re fourteen and under just send them right here if they need an abortion.” The counselor wanted “as little information as possible” so that if a fourteen year-old girl lied about her age, the staff could “just kind of play it stupid.”  A similar scenario took place at a Virginia Planned Parenthood clinic, where staff assured a self-described pimp that there was “no judgement.” In New York City, a Planned Parenthood employee proved that, like some of her co-workers, she was even able to help victimize foreign sex slaves. When told that the girls couldn’t speak English, the counselor explained that this wouldn’t be a problem because she was bilingual. A Planned Parenthood center in DC was just as helpful. When discussing girls brought from “out of the country,” an employee kindly offered to waive the donation fee. In all, staff at six Planned Parenthood clinics were willing to commit felonies by assisting human traffickers.

Planned Parenthood has described these as event as “isolated incidents.” In fact, they are proof that the federally funded group is a corrupt, racketeer influenced organization whose pattern of crimes has both relationship and continuity. It needs to be defunded and hit with the full weight of federal law. As a counselor at the New Jersey facility said, its workers are “partners in crime”–and that’s how they need to be treated.

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