A former Planned Parenthood employee recently recounted the moment that radically changed her views about the controversial women’s health organization, describing a purported training session that left her flabbergasted.
Ramona Treviño told pro-life advocacy group Live Action about what reportedly unfolded after a series of undercover videos landed Planned Parenthood in the headlines back in 2011. At the time, Live Action released a number of clips purporting to show clinic staffers offering advice to help secure medical care for underage prostitutes.
“In 2011, Live Action investigators exposed eight Planned Parenthood clinic staffers at seven different facilities willing to aid and abet child sex traffickers,” Live Action said in a new video report. “Planned Parenthood tried to defend themselves claiming that the encounters with sex traffickers had been properly reported to the authorities.”
A 2011 New York Times report noted that the organization responded to the fallout by pledging to “retrain thousands of staff members across the country on its rules for reporting possible dangers to minors.” The group also pledged to fire anyone in violation of those policies.
And, in fact, the video led to the firing of at least one worker at a Planned Parenthood center in New Jersey after that person was seen on tape giving advice on how to get medical help for underage prostitutes. The New York Times had more:
The video was produced by 22-year-old Lila Rose, who runs Live Action. It shows a woman identified as Amy Woodruff, the office manager, responding to an unseen man and woman. The man says he is involved in sex work and wants to bring girls, some only 14 or 15 and illegal immigrants, for medical exams.
The manager says that 14-year-old girls should not admit their ages, because doing so triggers extra reporting requirements. “For the most part, we want as little information as possible,” she says. Asked if the girls can obtain abortions, the manager replies that if they are under 15, they should go to another clinic where “their protocols are not as strict as ours.”
Treviño told Rose in a recent video interview that she at first assumed the undercover sting operations targeting her former employer were bogus and unwarranted, but later changed her perspective on the matter.
“I just blew it off,” she said. “I thought, ‘This is ridiculous. We don’t have anything to hide, so why are we so concerned about these undercover investigations?’ If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, right?”
And it was with that attitude that Treviño managed her clinic location, though that all changed when she finally attended the training she says Planned Parenthood promised to offer.
“Planned Parenthood Federation of America went out publicly saying that they would retrain all of their staff on how they reported abuse,” she said, noting that she assumed the training would focus on how to stop sexual abuse. “When we were called into this meeting I went in really believing that Planned Parenthood could redeem themselves.”
Once inside the room, Treviño said the organization started playing all of the undercover clips that had been recorded, leaving her completely perplexed, wondering if the goal might be to show staffers what not to do in the future.
“And so I raised my hand and I said, ‘I’m confused. When are we going to actually begin to retrain. What can I do as a manager to take this information back to my staff?'” she asked. “(The leader) immediately shut me down and said, ‘We’re not here to talk about that…we’re here to teach you how to identify if you’re being videotaped or recorded or entrapped in any way.’ At that moment my heart just sunk. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”
In the end, Treviño said she was “so disgusted” after the meeting that she didn’t believe her former employer could ever redeem itself. Since, she has become a pro-life advocate, publishing a book in 2015 titled, “Redeemed by Grace: A Catholic Woman’s Journey to Planned Parenthood and Back.”
Watch her discuss these issues below:
As for Live Action, the group claims in the clip that there are inconsistencies in Planned Parenthood’s claims that it reported the undercover visits from visitors who clinic staffers might have believed were engaged in underage sex trafficking.
“Live Action also used public records requests to check the abortion chain’s claim that it had reported the suspected sex traffickers to authorities,” a statement from the organization reads. “The responses from law enforcement show that Planned Parenthood failed repeatedly to report the suspected crimes to local police departments, state police, or even child protective services.”
Planned Parenthood did put out a statement in 2011 noting that it alerted authorities to suspicious visits to its clinics — visits they said they presumed to be part of a hoax; the organization alerted U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at the time, saying in the statement that its central goal is to diligently protect women.
“When Planned Parenthood learns of an operation that exploits young women, we vigilantly work with law enforcement authorities to uncover and stop this abhorrent activity,” Stuart Schear, Planned Parenthood Federation of America vice-president for communications, said at the time.
He continued, “Planned Parenthood’s top priority is the health and safety of our patients and the health and well-being of women and teens across the country, and we have been in contact with federal and local authorities to identify the persons involved in these visits.”
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