A Planned Parenthood counselor was seen on video answering questions about bondage, sadomasochism and other kinky sex practices posed by a client she believed to be 15. / (Lafeyette, Ind.) Journal and Courier
INDIANAPOLIS -- Planned Parenthood and pro-life advocacy group Live Action don't agree on much.
Yet on Wednesday they agreed that a Planned Parenthood counselor crossed the line when she answered questions about bondage, sadomasochism and other kinky sex practices posed by a client she believed to be 15.
A day after Planned Parenthood officials said an employee at the Indianapolis-Midtown Clinic - who was captured in video offering the controversial advice - no longer worked for the organization, Live Action claimed they were lying.
The back-and-forth is the latest salvo in a long-running battle between Live Action, a Virginia-based pro-life advocacy nonprofit, and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. While the issue of abortion and public funding is at the root of their conflict, the latest flare-up highlights the divisive nature of providing sex education to teens.
It's a topic where middle ground is often hard to find, even for local experts who work with youth.
The allegation that Planned Parenthood was lying was based on a phone call Thursday, in which a Live Action worker posed as the 15-year-old girl shown in the surreptitiously captured video. This time she was seeking another appointment. She specifically asked for the counselor who Planned Parenthood said no longer worked for the agency.
A recording of the conversation was later posted online.
A Planned Parenthood official acknowledged the staff member who took the call Thursday set up an appointment for the woman posing as the teen, even though she knew it was a Live Action operative.
Planned Parenthood staff went along with the caller's request to meet with the specific counselor only because the agency would never tell a client about confidential personnel or employee issues, said spokeswoman Tammy Lieber.
"We knew it was a fake," she said.
Since 2008, the Indiana affiliate of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has been the target of several other, sometimes embarrassing, stings captured on videotape and audio recordings. Like the video released Wednesday, most involved Planned Parenthood's work with teen girls and claims that tax dollars are being used for inappropriate education and other services.
Live Action CEO Lila Rose, 25, defended her group's undercover tactics - including the phone call she made Thursday to the Indianapolis clinic - as necessary to fight what she believes is Planned Parenthood's promotion of misinformation and dangerous sexual activities among teenagers.
"This organization regularly hides the truth from the public, misinforms women, misleads people about their services and outright lies, so posing undercover was important to really get to the bottom of how they engage with teens about sexual issues," she said.
Despite Planned Parenthood's claim to the contrary, Rose insists the video released Wednesday proves Planned Parenthood is "pushing dangerous sexual practices on teens and promoting them to teens."
In the video posted on Live Action's web page, the Planned Parenthood worker tells a woman posing as a girl about different types of sex role playing, suggests reading the book 50 Shades of Grey, gives her a pornography website address and explains about some sadomasochistic practices and her personal experiences.
"This video does not reflect our education programs, the work our dedicated employees do every day, nor the experience shared by parents and teens who participate in our programs," said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.
Planned Parenthood provides "age-appropriate, accurate, non-judgmental, medically based" advice on sex practices, Cockrum said.
She added it also is appropriate for staff to talk with clients and respond to specific questions about healthy relationships, resisting sexual coercion, parental involvement in life decisions and understanding a person's own values and beliefs.
The worker crossed the line, however, when she coached and encouraged particular sex practices and directed the patient to search for information that was not age-appropriate.
The drama - in Indiana and beyond - is not likely to end with this week's exchanges of "gotchas." Rose said more secretly recorded videos will be released soon.
Contributing: Barb Berggoetz of The Indianapolis Star
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Read the original story: Planned Parenthood, anti-abortion group at odds again