Sunday, April 26, 2009

safe from harm

today's l.a. times has a front-page feature by robin abcarian, about this ucla student named lila rose (pictured above, from the article), who lies to planned parenthood staffers that she's a 13/14-year-old girl impregnated by her 31-year-old BF and reluctant to reveal his identity (as naming him will open him up to criminal charges). lila and pals videotape these encounters so that she can catch PP employees flouting laws about reporting statutory rape.

these videos have been posted on youtube and have resulted in some repercussions for planned parenthood. if people in the organization really aren't reporting suspected child abuse/statutory rape, then they're violating PP's rules as well as the law. which is fucking wrong and needs to stop. i can't really say what might motivate a PP staffer to do something like that, but i will bet it would have more to do with a perhaps misguided attempt to help, rather than a hunger to suck out one more innocent baybee omg. but it's hard to really know, since the videos she posts on youtube are edits of the longer encounters (footage of which is supposedly also available), leaving out the parts where the faux-underage girl cries and begs and otherwise plays on people's sympathies ... or whatever. yeah, real cinema verite.

abcarian notes that accusing PP of not reporting suspected statutory rapes is an old tactic with a new twist (that would be the vaunted "new media" element), but doesn't tell us how well the tactic has worked thus far (as PP is still in existence and abortion is still legal, i'm thinking not so well). also, admittedly i'm not too bright, but i don't even understand why exposing some PP staffers' possible wrongdoing WRT statutory-rape reportage will return us to a world where abortion is illegal.

but the bigger question that was never addressed, surprisingly, is did lila and her partners in crime ever try this tactic and it didn't work? if so, how many times? as ms. rose would only deign to answer questions via e-mail, she may not have answered that question. but i don't think it was even asked, b/c if it WAS, then abcarian could have said she didn't answer it. i mean ... am i the only one who wants to know that?

speaking of answers, i don't get why this story was granted such big play when the girl wouldn't even do a proper interview. she's got all this time to go around the country playing pregnant teenager, but she insisted on answering questions via e-mail. why, so the PR company that gives her "guidance" (the same folks who brought you the swift boaters) could help her with her homework? e-mail interviews are for eccentric authors and famous recluses, not able-bodied 20-year-old activists who think it's ok to ambush people but heaven forfend anyone get an unscripted shot at HER.

there is also a boosterific blog item about this feature on the times's "top of the ticket" blog, described as "politics, coast to coast ... ." the writer of that item, andrew malcolm, actually uses the phrase "antiabortion struggle" -- that's a rather loaded phrase, unlike, say, "antiabortion campaign," perhaps? (also note the description of the article in the link: "antiabortion-crusader-ucla-lat.html" -- "crusader," indeed!) andrew also parrots a quote from one of the pro-forced-birthers in the article, claiming that "the videos of an attractive, reasonable young woman also play against the anti-abortion stereotypes of angry, older men imposing their moral will on females ..."

that's a little more wildly stated than the original (see below), but no less confusing. in these videos, lila rose plays a 14-year-old girl impregnated by a much older man. this is a "reasonable young woman"? furthermore, the anti-choice movement is hardly populated only by men or even stereotyped that way, so i call strawman on that.

the actual quote from the article is:

"'There is this stereotype of who we pro-life leaders are, and for the most part it would be white middle-aged religious men trying to impose their will on women,' said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition." (who, haha!, is a white middle-aged religious man.) "'So now with Lila, you bring this young, fresh college student that completely blows any stereotypes away. No one is going to accuse Lila of being mean, vindictive and harsh.'"

perhaps not, but i WILL accuse her of being a tool of said "stereotypes." (also, having argued with plenty of anti-choice "young, fresh college students" in my distant days of being a college student, i call b.s. on the entire alleged newness of lila as a type of antiabortion activist.)

as the article notes WRT lila (emphasis and bracket comments mine):

* "In February, she was awarded $50,000 from the Gerard Health Foundation, a Massachusetts-based charity founded by a Catholic businessman [named Raymond B. Ruddy, a white middle-aged religious man] that funds antiabortion and abstinence-only sex education efforts."

* "David French [a W M-A R M], an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group, gave her free advice when Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles threatened action, and appeared at her side during an interview with conservative TV talk-show host Bill O'Reilly."

* "She also receives guidance from CRC Public Relations, a Washington-area firm [owned by a W M-A M ... not sure if he's R] that represents conservative clients and had a hand in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign that targeted Democrat John F. Kerry during the 2004 presidential race."

toward the end of the article, lila's partner in crime james o'keefe mumbles something about how they justify lying and setting people up in the name of, uh, whatever it is they stand for. and also asserts that ...

"The videos are not supposed to necessarily show people breaking laws. They are supposed to change hearts and minds."

y'know, like in vietnam, when we won the hearts and minds of the people. uh ... right?

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