MADISON -- In undercover videos taken over a three-year investigation and posted to the online video-hosting service YouTube, various Planned Parenthood employees engage in the concealment of statutory rape and child sex trafficking. One even gives advice to the mock pimp on how to run his business.
The videos triggered massive media attention, particularly as the timing of the release was during Congress' budget debates and the proposed defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Lila Rose, who had come to prominence during a similar sting several years earlier that revealed 10 Planned Parenthood clinics willing to cover up child sexual abuse, suddenly became a household name.
At the recent Wisconsin Right to Life Education Fund Annual Dinner and Auction, Rose spoke on her pro-life fight, begun years ago when at 15 years old she founded the organization Live Action in an effort to expose abuses in the abortion industry.
Now a recent graduate of the University of California-Los Angeles, she told the dinner's attendees of her experiences fighting the abortion industry and experiencing first-hand the deception that occurs.
One illustrating encounter she recalled during her talk had taken place years ago while she was speaking at an event in California. A board member of Planned Parenthood, she said, came up to her afterwards and told her that if she wanted to win the fight, she had to stop calling the opposition "pro-abortion" because "abortion" was too offensive a term -- that "pro-choice" was better because it was a deeply personal choice -- to which Rose responded with the question of "why?"
"We went in circles a few times, and a few people started gathering around, and I kept bringing it back to the question of why? What's so wrong with 'abortion'?" she said.
"But quickly I realized this woman would not be able to answer what's so wrong with 'abortion,' because if she did she would be looking head-on at her whole life's work's contradiction.
"Since her early twenties, she said, she'd been working for Planned Parenthood as a sex educator; she'd given her life's work to the organization, and I realized that if she answered the question, she'd be looking at this contradiction: that while she was advocating, or so she thought she was advocating, for women, for the rights of women, and for reproductive freedom, for choice -- these wonderful terms -- she was advocating for the killing of millions of tiny little women in the womb around the world, and tiny little men.
"I pray for this woman and the many others like her who are deceived in their minds, or there's a hardness or even hurt in their hearts because of maybe a past experience that they've had, and they refuse to see the truth: that scientific, logical, innate truth that we know deep in our hearts that these are human lives that are killed by abortion," she said.
Responding to God's call
Rose, one of eight children in a Christian household, described her early experience of learning the horrible truth of what abortion means and her turn to the pro-life cause. She was responding to God's call to change people's hearts.
God wants to use us when there is so much need and so much crisis -- and there is so much crisis in this country, Rose said.
"The purpose of laws is to protect people in this country. The purpose of laws is to protect the weak against the strong," she said. "But what happens to a country, to a legal system when the law is turned against the weakest member of the society? That at the very heart of that system is injustice. That's what we're facing."
Human rights abuse
There are hundreds of other causes we face, she said. "I kept coming back to abortion, because I couldn't think of a greater human rights abuse and I couldn't think of a greater destroyer of innocent blood that's happening in the world than the bloodshed of our innocent brothers and sisters. . . . That's why I've dedicated my life to this cause."
It took dozens of years to turn the tide in the fight against slavery, but eventually the abolitionists changed the hearts of enough people to see it outlawed.
Rose urged, "We're facing an even greater human rights abuse than slavery, because it takes away that most fundamental of rights, on which all other rights are based upon, and enabled by," she said. "Without the right to life you can't even enjoy liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Keep fighting for life
"But I believe with my whole heart that because of the efforts of people like you here in Wisconsin and the efforts across the country, there's a movement at work," Rose said. "And as we put faith in God and as we move forward with creativity, with boldness, and with faith, we will see a day in America where we will see every life protected. "
People travel the world, she said, quoting St. Augustine, to marvel at the height of mountains, the stars, the ocean. But then people pass by themselves without wondering.
"St. Augustine was saying how wonderful is the human person: the greatest of all God's creations, made in the image of God," Rose said. "How beautiful is just one person. . . . And so then if all of our work and all of our labor was just for one life, for the saving of one human life, wouldn't it all be worth it? Isn't that the example of Jesus Christ laying down his life?
"But we're not just going to save just one life, and we haven't. And Wisconsin Right to Life and you haven't been saving one life but many. And we will come to a day when every life is protected in this nation -- and that day is coming soon," she said. "So let's continue to fight."