An undercover video by pro-life activists released today shows clinic workers in Phoenix and Tucson agreeing to violate a year-old state law that prohibits gender-based abortions.
In the video (below), an activist explains to "Barb" at the Camelback Family Planning clinic in Phoenix that she wants to terminate her pregnancy because of the fetus' gender.
"Um, don't tell us that," says Barb. "We don't want to know."
Last year, Governor Jan Brewer signed a bill that makes it a felony to perform an abortion when it's known that the woman wants the procedure because she'd prefer the baby to be a different gender.
The law also calls for a $10,000 fine for medical professionals and assistants who knowingly violate the law and allows a baby's father to sue over suspected violations.
Opponents suggested that few, if any, women actually get abortions based on the gender of the fetus.
But in the video, which was sponsored by Live Action, Barb suggests otherwise, agreeing that she's heard of such cases at the clinic. She also tells the undercover activist that if she tells the clinic's doctor, Gabrielle Goodrick, her reason for the abortion, Dr. Goodrick will give her the same advice in regards to the new law.
"Just don't let it be known," Barb advises.
A man at the Tucson's Women Center tells the activist she can't have an abortion after she informs him that she already has a girl and needs the procedure because she believes she's having another girl and wants a boy. Then, at the urging of the activist, the clinic worker agrees he'll just "forget" the conversation happened.
The video's release comes a week after Congress voted against a proposed law that seeks to ban such gender-based abortions.
We called the Camelback Family Planning clinic this morning and were told that Barb no longer works there. The woman who answered the phone did not elaborate, but said she'd pass along our message to Dr. Goodrick.
Though the group presents the release of the video with the headline, "AZ Abortion Clinics Break Law to Abort Baby Girls in New Undercover Video," it's unclear if the law actually was broken in these cases because no abortion took place.
But the video also portrays the clinics as preparing to break the law.
Still, it seems as though a real violation of the law would be difficult to prove, making the law more useful as a political tool than anything else. Before getting an abortion, a women must sign an affidavit that states she is not doing it based on the baby's gender -- but any other reason is okay.
Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, says she believes the video represents a violation of the law, at least in the case of the Tucson clinic, because money was solicited to perform a sex-based abortion.
The video "adds to a growing pile of evidence" that sex-based abortions do occur in the United States, Rose says.
She adds that her organization's ultimate goal is to get abortions banned for any reason.
State Representative Katie Hobbs (D-Phoenix), who opposed the law, agrees nonetheless that it would be good if the law prevents someone from having a sex-based abortion. But she doubts the law addresses an actual problem.
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"I don't think there is evidence that there are gender-based abortions," Hobbs says, adding that she hasn't seen the Live Action video.
The notion that gender-based abortions are rampant in America is just a "red herring" that allows activist groups to erode the trust between a doctor and a woman who's making a "personal and difficult decision."