WASHINGTON, D.C. The CEO of Planned Parenthood, who is lobbying to protect taxpayer funding in light of numerous allegations that it failed to report instances of suspected statutory rape, is now accused of being deceptive about the prevention services her organization provides.
Live Action, a Southern California-based pro-life group that specializes in undercover investigations at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country, said the group's CEO Cecile Richards lied during an interview on the Joy Behar Show when she said that women would lose access to mammograms if the government defunded her organization.
"If this bill ever becomes law, millions of women in this country are gonna lose their healthcare accessnot to abortion servicesto basic family planning, you know, mammograms," Richards told Behar in the Feb. 21 interview on HLN.
In recent months, Planned Parenthood has been under increased pressure as Republicans push to strip the organization of its taxpayer funding. In February, the House of Representatives approved the Pence Amendment. Authored by U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican, the amendment would curtail all taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. The amendment is now in the hands of the Senate, however passage there appears unlikely.
After the Richards interview aired, a Live Action actor called 30 Planned Parenthood clinics in 27 different states, inquiring about mammograms at Planned Parenthood. Every Planned Parenthood office it called, without exception, said that she would have to go elsewhere for a mammogram. Several employees insisted that none of the Planned Parenthood clinics provide the breast cancer screening procedure.
"We don't provide those services whatsoever," a staffer at Planned Parenthood of Arizona admitted over the phone, according to Live Action. At the Planned Parenthood's Comprehensive Health Center clinic in Overland Park, Kansas the caller was recorded as saying, "We actually don't have a, um, mammogram machine, at our clinics."
The calls were recorded by Live Action and released to the public March 30.
"Planned Parenthood is first and foremost an abortion business, but Planned Parenthood and its allies will say almost anything to try and cover up that fact and preserve its taxpayer funding," said Lila Rose, president of Live Action. "It's not surprising that an organization found concealing statutory rape and helping child sex traffickers would misrepresent its own services so brazenly, playing on women's fears in order to protect their tax dollars."
In an interview with The Washington Post, Stuart Schear, vice president for communication for Planned Parenthood, said the Behar video clip released by Live Action was taken out of context and that Richards was discussing possible repercussions on women's health should the national healthcare reform package approved last year be rescinded, and not about the Pence Amendement.
"Planned Parenthood provides a wide range of preventive health care services to millions of women through its 800 health centers including contraception, Pap tests, annual exams, HIV and other STI tests, and lifesaving breast exams," Schear told the Post.
But Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said the latest discovery reflects a pattern within Planned Parenthood.
"With increasing pressure from both social and fiscal conservatives to eliminate federal funding to an organization that has shown a brazen willingness to break federal law, Planned Parenthood is scrambling to protect its lifebloodtaxpayer funding," Dannenfelser said.