Live Action (organization)

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Live Action
Live Action's Logo
FounderLila Rose
Type501(c)(3) non-profit
Area served
United States

Live Action is an American pro-life movement non-profit organization founded in 2003 by then 15 year-old Lila Rose. Live Action is known for its undercover video sting operations on Planned Parenthood clinics.


In 2006, James O'Keefe met Lila Rose, founder of a pro-life group on the UCLA campus.[1] They 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]

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.[3] Daleiden went on to create an organization called "Center for Medical Progress".[4][5]


Live Action publishes The Advocate, a student-based magazine distributed on dozens of college campuses throughout the country.[6]



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."[7]


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.[8] 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.[9][10]

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.[11][12]

On March 1, 2011, attorney general Eric Holder announced that there would be no prosecutions resulting from the video sting.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15]


In May 2012, Live Action released a series of videos allegedly showing employees at Planned Parenthood and National Abortion Federation (NAF) abortion centers discussing sex-selective abortions with actors pretending to be pregnant. 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) was released, Planned Parenthood denied supporting sex-selective elective abortion and fired the employee featured in the tape.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18] The video release coincided with intense media scrutiny of the ongoing Kermit Gosnell murder trial. These include a video where a Washington, D.C. abortion doctor, said that if the fetus survived he would not help it.[19][20][21]

Pro-choice commentators have accused Live Action of editing the Inhuman videos in an intentionally misleading manner, although Live Action provides full, unedited footage for public viewing.[22] 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."[22]

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.[23] The bill eventually passed in the House, by a vote of 228 to 196,[24] but was not taken up for Senate debate.


In Spring of 2019, as Live Action hosted the #ResignBrianSims rally in response to harassment by politicians towards pro-life individuals. [25]


  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. Archived from the original on February 23, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2010.
  3. ^ "Maker of Planned Parenthood Video Called Abortion 'Genocide'". The Daily Beast. 15 July 2015.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ Fram, Alan (20 Jul 2015). "Planned Parenthood says video part of decadelong harassment". Archived from the original on July 22, 2015.
  6. ^ "The Advocate | Pro-Life Campus Magazine". Live Action. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  7. ^ Hunter, Desiree (2010-02-10). "AP: Birmingham abortion clinic put on probation". Associated Press via The San Diego Union-Tribune.
  8. ^ "Planned Parenthood to retrain after anti-abortion group videos". CNN. February 9, 2011.
  9. ^ Planned Parenthood Informs Federal Authorities of Potential Sex Trafficking
  10. ^ Planned Parenthood Seeks FBI Probe into Possible Ploy by Anti-Abortion Group
  11. ^ Planned Parenthood fires worker caught on video. Retrieved February 16, 2017
  12. ^, the Atlanta Wire, John Hudson, February 2, 2011 Planned Parenthood Fires Manager After Undercover Video. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  13. ^ Holder: No Prosecution in Connection With Planned Parenthood Video Sting
  14. ^ LiveAction, Planned Parenthood Embark On Rival Bus Tours
  15. ^ February 16, 2011, Ex-Planned parenthood director joins Live Action [1]/
  16. ^ Bassett, Laura (2012-05-29). "Planned Parenthood Sting Caught On Video, Released By Anti-Abortion Activists (VIDEO)". Huffington Post.
  17. ^ 2012 Arizona Revised Statutes - Title 13 Criminal Code
  18. ^ Inhuman: Undercover in America's Late-Term Abortion Industry
  19. ^ Inhuman: Washington, D.C., April 29, 2013 Archived September 9, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ John McCormack, April 29, 2013 Undercover Video: Abortion Doctor Says He'd Let Born-Alive Infants Choke to DeathWeekly Standard, April 29, 2013
  21. ^ Travis, Shannon (May 1, 2013). "Anti-abortion group warns it has more controversial videos - CNNPolitics". CNN. CNN. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  22. ^ a b Slate, May 16, 2013
  23. ^ House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Hearing: H.R. 1797, May 23, 2013 Archived June 9, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Roll Call 251 on H.R. 1797". Archived from the original on 2013-11-27.
  25. ^ "'We Will Not Back Down To Bullies': Anti-Abortion Rally Outside Philadelphia Planned Parenthood Draws Large Crowd". May 10, 2019.

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