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Gazette's Wayne Laugesen on why he thinks Planned Parenthood covers up statutory rape

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In 2002, some time after this incident, an organization called Life Dynamics conducted a sting operation in which, according to Laugesen, 91 percent of 813 calls made to Planned Parenthood featured operators agreeing to cover up reports of a thirteen year old being impregnated by a 22-year-old man. Laugesen followed these developments closely, as he did the work of Lila Rose, a former UCLA student who's staged similar stings over the years. In his editorial, he mentions both of these campaigns, as well as a more recent court case in Ohio, to support his view that Planned Parenthood "probably covers up more sexual abuse of children than any other institution in the United States" and should be investigated by President Barack Obama's Justice Department.

Laugesen admits that he "can't say as an absolute fact" that this is true -- and neither can he know whether or not past abuses documented by Life Dynamics and Rose have been addressed and no longer take place with frequency, if at all.

Nonetheless, he says, "it seems logical that Planned Parenthood would see more victims of statutory rape than almost any other institution one could think of. Obviously, teachers and school counselors are in a position to learn about these kinds of things, but not in as good a position as Planned Parenthood. So we should be seeing a number of reports coming from Planned Parenthood to law enforcement or Social Services, and I don't think that's the case.

"If I'm wrong, I'd love to see Planned Parenthood document, without any names or identifying information, the number of reports they make to law enforcement or Social Services. If they can provide that, I think it would be wonderful. I'd love to see that it's fairly routine that they alert the proper authorities to suspicion or evidence of statutory rape."

In an earlier interview seen below, Monica McCafferty, speaking for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, stressed that the organization takes reporting about such potential crimes seriously and will fire any employee found not to have done so. She added her view that the various sting operations are tactics by pro-life organizations dedicated to ending legal abortions. Laugesen didn't mention abortion in the editorial in part, he says, because the name "Life Dynamics" makes it clear the organization is [correction] pro-life -- and he says that during past conversations with Rose, they've never directly addressed the topic of abortion.

For what it's worth, the bio on the website for Rose's organization, Live Action, begins with this sentence: "Lila Rose, a recent UCLA graduate, has dedicated herself to building a culture of life and ending abortion."

Laugesen emphasizes that he'd like nothing better than to be wrong about Planned Parenthood -- but he's not willing to take the outfit's word for it. "I hope they've reformed," he says. "And If they have, I'd like to see evidence of it."

Continue reading for our previous coverage, including Planned Parenthood's response to the comparison with Penn State.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts