by Jeff Shaw
On Tuesday, April 21, 2015, I posted a link to this YouTube video on our Out of Darkness Facebook page with a status that read “Planned Parenthood workers at various locations are caught on tape agreeing to help child sex traffickers get abortions for girls as young as 13, and provide advice on lying and avoiding detection.” Little did I know the blowback that would follow, and I think it warrants a more comprehensive statement. To avoid any confusion or questioning right off the bat, we do believe that each life is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.
Now let’s start by looking at what the video indisputably shows:
(1) The man identifies himself as being in sex work and managing girls as young as 13.
(2) A Planned Parenthood employee tells the individuals in the office that as long as they just lie about their age and it’s not too much of an age gap, “then we just kinda play it stupid.” She also instructs that if they’re minors, “just tell them to put down that they’re students…”
(3) The same Planned Parenthood employee is asked how long someone who has an abortion needs to wait to be sexually active again, and the employee says a minimum of two weeks. When asked what else the individual could do because “they still gotta make money,” the employee responds, “Waist up.”
(4) The clips that are shown in the video are edited, so there is content that is not seen or heard, and it is unclear the order in which the pieces that are shown occurred.
Now let’s look at what my Facebook post did and did not say:
(1) My post DID say that “Planned Parenthood workers at various locations are caught on tape agreeing to help child sex traffickers get abortions for girls as young as 13.” TRUTH = The people shown in the video are Planned Parenthood workers. The conversations do occur at multiple locations. The conversations are captured on tape. The man does identify himself as a child sex trafficker (Note: a minor involved in sex work is by legal definition a child sex trafficking victim). Some of the employees do provide advice on how the apparent trafficker can obtain abortions for minors under his control.
(2) My post DID say that they “provide advice on lying and avoiding detection.” TRUTH = The very first conversation that is depicted shows the employee advising that they lie about age and about being students.
(3) My post did NOT say that Planned Parenthood as an organization promotes sex trafficking or advises individuals to lie. It said “Planned Parenthood workers at various locations…” – which was true.
(4) My post did NOT say that all Planned Parenthood employees promote sex trafficking or advise individuals to lie. It said “Planned Parenthood workers at various locations…” – which was true.
(5) My post did NOT take a stance on abortion or reproductive issues. In fact, neither did the video appearing on YouTube. The focus of my post and the video is that some Planned Parenthood employees were willing to help an apparent child sex trafficker obtain abortions for minors.
(6) My post did NOT shame anyone. I posted a video with a factual summary of what the video depicts.
(7) My post did NOT provide opinion or commentary. Again, it was a factual summary of what the video depicts.
It is worth noting that nobody has alleged that those conversations shown in the video did not take place. In fact, at least 2 employees of Planned Parenthood have been fired since the video was released, which was a proper outcome. And it’s worth asking the question that if the video had not been created and shared, would those employees still be providing similar advice?
For those of you who have followed us through the years, you know that we do not make political posts or get involved in politically-charged issues. Our heart is simple – to love and serve with compassion, humility, and wisdom. We do not lobby for specific laws to be passed. The closest we come is attending an annual Lobby Day at the Capitol where bipartisan legislation that affects the issue of commercial sexual exploitation is reviewed and discussed by public officials. We have not even lobbied for or against those bills; we just go and listen. We have also declined opportunities to testify at public hearings and other events that address proposed legislation.
What we do without hesitation or apology is shine a light on EVERY area of society that perpetuates injustice and the exploitation of human beings (whether man, woman, or child). We have shared stories about law enforcement officers abusing their authority to exploit. We have shared stories about politicians abusing their power to exploit. We have shared stories about businessmen using their money to exploit. We have shared stories about mental health providers exploiting vulnerabilities. We have shared stories about exploitation occurring in schools and on campuses. And we have shared articles about people of faith using religion to exploit. We do not play favorites, and we do not go after targets. We are indiscriminate and unbiased in faithfully exposing where exploitation is occurring.
And so here is the original purpose of the post and what we want to shine light on. Some victims of sex trafficking, whether adults or minors, are forced to have abortions. This occurs when pimps do not want the girl to become “undesirable” because of a pregnancy, do not want the girl to come under scrutiny for being pregnant at too young of an age, do not want the girl to become attached to another human life that may lead her to reach out for help or otherwise leave that trafficker, do not want the girl to be unavailable to make money for periods of time due to the pregnancy or the waiting period after childbirth, and for other reasons. Just as with law enforcement, the medical community, the faith community, and politicians, the heat needs to be turned up on Planned Parenthood so that they identify and intervene in sex trafficking situations, not act with lack of knowledge, or worse yet, complicity.
We would love for Planned Parenthood and other providers to seek out training on identification and intervention, and we would be happy to provide it for any that are interested.
At Out of Darkness and Atlanta Dream Center, we love because God first loved us. We love those who are pro-life, and we love those who are pro-choice. We love those who have had abortions, and we love those who haven’t. We love those who work in the abortion industry, and we love those who don’t. We love those who have been exploited, and we love those who haven’t been. We serve all men, women, and children who reach out to us for help, and we never condition services on a person’s beliefs or choices. The only requirements are that they are at-risk youth, homeless, addicted, or commercially sexually exploited at some point in their lives, and they are choosing to be helped by us. All other accusations – that we are a pro-life organization disguised as an anti-trafficking organization, that we don’t understand or care about women, that we have a hidden agenda – are simply untrue. We trust that our faithful service and the impact that we have had on lives and communities speaks for itself. Thanks for taking the time to read.