In their comprehensive war on a woman’s right to choose, conservatives have contorted the women’s health organization Planned Parenthood into the epicenter of anti-family villainy. Conservative anti-choice advocates have attacked Planned Parenthood for running an “abortion factory,” increasing the STD rate, and aborting African Americans. But this year, the right tagged Planned Parenthood with a new evil: sex trafficking.
Yesterday, Tony Perkins, the radically conservative head of the Family Research Council (FRC), held a online event to explore the issue of child sex trafficking in the U.S. According to the Department of Justice, more than 250,000 American youth are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation, with the average age of entry for female prostitutes in the U.S. around 12 to 14 years old. But instead of attacking the roots of this terrible problem, Perkins took the opportunity to push his narrow agenda.
Titling his event “Sex Trafficking in America: from The Boulevard to Planned Parenthood,” Perkins predictably blamed the breakup of the traditional family, pornography, and “the post-modern view of morality”:
PERKINS: What’s fueling this epidemic? A number of factors contribute to the increase in sex trafficking. The breakup of the family is a major contributor. The best protection against being lured into sex trafficking for a young girl is a father in the home who is married to the child’s mother. The explosion of obscenity and pornographic material on the internet and an apparent indifference from federal law enforcement officials — all facilitated by the post-modern view of morality that essentially says there is not right or wrong. My friends, what you will see in here today is wrong.
Perkins then quickly pivoted to LiveAction President and “anti-abortion propagandist” Lila Rose, who garnered attention recently for her undercover video stings targeting Planned Parenthood. As she has before, Rose accused Planned Parenthood of being complicit in sex trafficking and actually “furthering the victimization of these girls.” Using her heavily manipulated videos as evidence, she said the organization demonstrates an “immediate willingness to cover up abuse on repeated occasions, and to go beyond that to actually work with the abusers.” Watch it:
Regardless of Perkins’ social agenda, actual causes of to sex trafficking include poverty, “being sold into the sex trade by parents husbands, boyfriends,” or “being kidnapped by traffickers.” Meanwhile, despite Perkin’s claim that law enforcement organizations don’t care about sex trafficking, the truth is they lack the coordination and tools to effectively address the issue, and attempts to solve this problem have been stalled by the GOP. By muddling the issue with his “post-modern view of morality” theory, Perkins not only ignores the real root causes of sexual trafficking but shields them from much-needed scrutiny.
But elevating Rose’s politically-driven and false accusations is particularly destructive. After all, Planned Parenthood does a lot more to stop child sex trafficking than does the FRC. The organization actually “alerted federal authorities to a potential multistate sex trafficking ring” only to learn that the ring was in fact Roses’ “sting” operation. As Planned Parenthood’s Stuart Schear said, “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.” Rose even admitted the purpose of her sting operation was “to create controversy within the organization, keep them on their toes” and “help them feel that fear.”