Lila Rose has become one of the more recognizable and ardent figures in the pro-life movement with her surreptitious videos of abortion providers.
The 24-year-old UCLA graduate founded the nonprofit Live Action at age 15. The organization has waged a crusade against abortion and abortion providers and, in her words, “advocates for the human rights for the pre-born.”
Before visiting Phoenix on June 6 to lead a pro-life rally in front of Family Planning Associates, one of the targets of her undercover videos, Rose spoke with the Arizona Capitol Times in a 27-minute interview. Following is an excerpt of that interview in which she spoke about her style of activism, women’s health in Ireland where abortion is outlawed, the rights of pre-born children and the death penalty.
Do you have a sense of whether your style of activism is galvanizing the pro-life movement and convincing the people who were undecided to join your side? And then the flip side of that — do you have a sense of to what degree you might be turning people off or driving them away?
I think we obtain amazing responses from people across the aisle about abortion when they watch these videos. The power of these films is that they actually tell the story of what happens within the clinic, unadulterated without the talking heads or without the debate that is ongoing. It’s really words from the abortionist, or the abortion nurse or the staffers themselves discussing how abortion is done, discussing even the way they would work to kill the child that survives the abortion attempt. It’s irrefutable. You can’t argue with their actual words.
The second part of the question, do you think that you might be turning some people off by doing this, there might be the fence-sitter who is drawn away from it?
I think the truth is going to offend people so it certainly is up to each individual to examine their own conscience and to weigh the matter in their own heart and their own head, but what we’ve seen from these videos is a whole wealth of responses from people across the aisle who said, “I was pro-choice or I supported Planned Parenthood and now after seeing this video or these videos I have changed my position.”
A much-cited study by the World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute in New York that was released in 2007 concluded there was little difference in the abortion rates between countries that legally allowed it and those that don’t.
I think that with regard to that, that’s a bigger question about abortion being legalized versus not and when you look at the history of abortion in America there is no debate about the stat that before abortion was legalized the rates were significantly lower. If we were to legalize, for example, some other form of child abuse, and abortion is certainly a form of child abuse in its most grievous form because you’re killing a child, then will that behavior go up? Most likely (it will) because there is no penalty or no social effort to avoid that behavior. Instead it’s acceptable, and with abortion, instead of addressing the root cause of abortion, instead resolving women’s problems, we’ve offered abortion as some sort of solution. It really doesn’t solve a problem, it just creates more problems.
The other conclusion was: It’s safer for women in countries that legally allow an abortion as opposed to countries that outlaw.
That’s just not true, it’s also not a fair assessment. I don’t know what study you’re referring to, but it’s probably not looking at the right nations, it’s probably looking at a country that doesn’t have other forms of maternal health care. But if you look at Ireland, and Ireland is one of the only remaining abortion-free countries in the European Union, Ireland has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world, lower than the United States, lower than Great Britain, and they have insisted on viewing the child and the mother as equal patients. Love them both, protect them both, and that’s a model that respects and promotes human rights that other nations should look up to and aspire to.
In case a woman finds out that her preborn child has Down syndrome or any other degenerative disease, or that the baby is not going to survive for long after birth, is it right for the state to intervene and force her to keep the baby?
I don’t think that a woman should be forced to keep a baby because a woman should have the opportunity to give that child up for adoption or say they are unable to care for that child and that happens often. Fire stations have safety boxes or places you can leave the child if you feel there’s no way for you to care for that child, but what a woman never has the right to do is to kill her child or an abortionist never has the right to kill a child, a doctor never has the right to kill a child and that’s a really important point when we’re discussing human rights. We can talk all day long about quality of life and say, well, children with disabilities they have difficult lives, but just because somebody has a difficult life or a disability doesn’t warrant a death sentence.
We know where you stand on abortion. Have you ever talked about the death penalty? Where do you stand on that?
I’m opposed to the death penalty, but that’s me personally. Live Action as an organization focuses on the greatest human rights abuse of our time, which is the attack against the most defenseless members of our society, which are our unborn brothers and sisters.