Live Action (organization)

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Live Action is an American anti-abortion non-profit organization founded by Lila Rose in 2004. They are known for their undercover video sting operations on Planned Parenthood clinics.


In 2006, James O'Keefe met Lila Rose, founder of an anti-abortion group on the UCLA campus.[1] They secretly recorded encounters in Planned Parenthood clinics. Rose posed as a pregnant teenager seeking advice (a 15-year-old girl impregnated by a 23-year-old male); they made two videos and released them on YouTube.[2]

James O'Keefe went on to produce edited hidden camera recordings in which his associate posed as a prostitute when visiting the offices of Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), leading to the service for low income citizens being shut down.[3] He was arrested on January 25, 2010 for a plot to hack the phone system of Mary Landrieu and record her conversations.[4]

David Daleiden met Lila Rose at a Junior State of America meeting, running the Live Action chapter at Claremont McKenna College in 2007, and was the organization’s director of research "during the early stages" of the project to make secret recordings of Planned Parenthood clinics.[5] Daleiden went on to create an organization called "Center for Medical Progress".[6][7]


Live Action publishes The Advocate, a student-based magazine distributed on dozens of college campuses throughout the country.[8]

Live Action also operates an online news and opinion outlet called Live Action News.[9] The group maintains a Facebook page[10] with over 650,000 fans and a Twitter feed, @LiveActionFilms,[11] with over 22,000 followers.

As a youth advocacy organization, Live Action regularly organizes and participates in rallies and protests,[12][13] demonstrations, and media events.[14][15]



In 2010, a sting by Live Action on a Birmingham, Alabama, Planned Parenthood clinic led to a state investigation and the clinic being placed on probation by the Department of Health for what the state described as a "technical violation."[16] This same facility shut down "temporarily" in early January 2014 and has yet to reopen.[17]


Live Action gained attention in February 2011 for undercover videos at multiple Planned Parenthood affiliates. The videos show Planned Parenthood staff counseling an investigator posing as a pimp on how to procure clandestine abortions and STD testing for his underage sex workers.[18] According to spokespeople at Planned Parenthood, the organization reported the activities of the individuals involved to the Federal Bureau of Investigation before the videos were made public. Neither the Justice Department nor the FBI would confirm that an investigation was launched.[19][20]

After the video releases, Planned Parenthood denied Live Action's allegations that they condone or support sexual slavery and statutory rape. They also fired one of the employees in question.[21][22]

On March 1, 2011, attorney general Eric Holder announced that there would be no prosecutions resulting from the video sting.[23]

In March 2011, Live Action partnered with the Susan B. Anthony List for a bus tour through 13 congressional districts either condemning or praising their representatives for their votes on defunding Planned Parenthood of tax dollars through the Pence Amendment. Planned Parenthood sent a bus to follow the Live Action & SBA List bus in response.[24] Former Planned Parenthood clinic director-turned-pro-life activist Abby Johnson joined Live Action's effort in early 2011 and partnered with the SBA List on ad campaigns to support the defunding.[25]


In May 2012, Live Action released a series of videos showing employees at Planned Parenthood and NAF abortion centers advising patients on how to procure sex-selective abortions. The undercover investigator posed as a pregnant mother seeking an abortion on the grounds that her child was female, whereas she preferred a male.

After the first video (captured in Austin, TX)[26] was released, Planned Parenthood denied supporting sex-selective elective abortion and fired the employee featured in the tape.[27] Similar footage from Planned Parenthood locations in Maui and Honolulu, Hawaii[28] - including a counselor's advice on how to fund a sex-selective abortion with state tax money - elicited no subsequent response from the organization.

Another video showed employees at two Arizona abortion facilities - Camelback Family Planning in Phoenix and the Tucson Women's Center in Tucson - instructing the investigator to suppress her reason for seeking the abortion. After hearing that the investigator desires to abort her fetus for being female, the Phoenix counselor tells her, "Don't let it be known!," while the surgical assistant in Tucson says, "I'll just forget about it ... but just be sure not to mention it [to the abortion provider]." Sex-selective abortion is illegal in Arizona. [29] Neither the two taped clinics nor the NAF took any action following the release.


In the Spring of 2013, Live Action released a series of undercover videos documenting late-term abortion doctors' stated policy toward children born alive as the result of a failed abortion attempt.[30] The video release coincided with intense media scrutiny of the ongoing Kermit Gosnell murder trial. These include a video where Cesare Santangelo, a Washington, D.C. abortion doctor, admits that he would let a child die if born alive during an abortion:[31][32]

Technically – you know, legally we would be obligated to help it, you know, to survive. But, you know, it probably wouldn’t. It’s all in how vigorously you do things to help a fetus survive at this point," Santangelo tells the undercover activist working for the pro-life group Live Action. "Let’s say you went into labor, the membranes ruptured, and you delivered before we got to the termination part of the procedure here, you know? Then we would do things – we would –we would not help it. We wouldn’t intubate. It would be, you know, uh, a person, a terminal person in the hospital, let’s say, that had cancer, you know? You wouldn’t do any extra procedures to help that person survive. Like ‘do not resuscitate’ orders. We would do the same things here.

Commentators opposing restrictions on abortion have accused Live Action of editing the Inhuman videos in an intentionally misleading manner.[33] William Saletan of Slate criticized Live Action's Inhuman videos as "orchestrated to embarrass doctors and their clinics." Saletan claimed that he "went through the raw footage to see what the video editors took out."[33] Live Action includes raw footage with every video release.

On Thursday, May 23, 2013, U.S. Representative Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) showed Live Action's Arizona video from the Inhuman campaign as support for HR 1797, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban the majority of abortions after 20 weeks' (five months') gestation throughout the United States.[34] The bill eventually passed in the House, by a vote of 228 to 196,[35] and now[when?] awaits consideration in the Senate.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dewan, Shaila (February 26, 2010). "To Court Blacks, Foes of Abortion Make Racial Case". New York Times. Retrieved March 20, 2010. 
  2. ^ Burchfiel, Nathan (May 16, 2007). "Planned Parenthood Threatens to Sue Undercover Activist". CNS News. Retrieved October 4, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Report of the Attorney General on the Activities of ACORN in California" (PDF). California Dept of Justice. April 1, 2010. Retrieved December 9, 2011. 
  4. ^ Leonnig, Carol D.; Franke-Ruta, Garance (January 27, 2009). "James O'Keefe charged in plot to bug Senator Mary Landrieu's office". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 26, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Maker of Planned Parenthood Video Called Abortion 'Genocide'". The Daily Beast. 15 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "Planned Parenthood: More Sting Videos Are Coming". Huffington Post. The CMP was founded by David Daleiden, an anti-abortion activist who previously worked for the group Live Action, known for its heavily edited undercover videos of Planned Parenthood staffers. 
  7. ^ "Planned Parenthood says video part of decadelong harassment". 20 Jul 2015. 
  8. ^ "The Advocate | Pro-Life Campus Magazine". Live Action. Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  9. ^ "Live Action News & Opinion". Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  10. ^ Live Action Facebook page
  11. ^ Live Action Twitter feed
  12. ^ Anti-abortion leaders rally in favor of new clinic regulations, June 6, 2013
  13. ^ Group behind video rallies outside D.C. abortion doctor's office, May 1, 2013
  14. ^ Lila Rose on Hannity discussing the 'Inhuman' investigation, May 30, 2013
  15. ^ Roe v. Wade, 40 years later, January 28, 2013
  16. ^ Hunter, Desiree (2010-02-10). "AP: Birmingham abortion clinic put on probation". Associated Press via The San Diego Union-Tribune. 
  17. ^ Burch, Edward (January 16, 2014). "Birmingham's Planned Parenthood temporarily closed". ABC 3340. 
  18. ^ "Planned Parenthood to retrain after anti-abortion group videos". CNN. February 9, 2011. 
  19. ^ Planned Parenthood Informs Federal Authorities of Potential Sex Trafficking
  20. ^ Planned Parenthood Seeks FBI Probe into Possible Ploy by Anti-Abortion Group
  21. ^ AP Exclusive: Planned Parenthood seeks FBI probe. Retrieved February 2, 2011
  22. ^ Planned Parenthood Fires Manager After Undercover Video. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  23. ^ Holder: No Prosecution in Connection With Planned Parenthood Video Sting
  24. ^ LiveAction, Planned Parenthood Embark On Rival Bus Tours
  25. ^ [1]/
  26. ^ Sex-Selection in America: Part 1 — Undercover in Texas
  27. ^ Bassett, Laura (2012-05-29). "Planned Parenthood Sting Caught On Video, Released By Anti-Abortion Activists (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. 
  28. ^ Sex-Selection in America: Part 4 — Undercover in Hawaii
  29. ^ 2012 Arizona Revised Statutes - Title 13 Criminal Code
  30. ^ Inhuman: Undercover in America's Late-Term Abortion Industry
  31. ^ Inhuman: Washington, D.C., April 29, 2013
  32. ^ Weekly Standard, April 29, 2013
  33. ^ a b Slate, May 16, 2013
  34. ^ House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Hearing: H.R. 1797, May 23, 2013
  35. ^ Roll Call 251 on H.R. 1797

External links[edit]