I’ve been taken to task for not commenting on the ink-blot of corruption that is spreading inexorably across the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria. But really, the revelation that dosh sloshed out by the GFATM gets swilled into politicians’ pockets is about as exciting as the discovery that FIFA board members accepted a free dinner or two from Russian oligarchs before awarding the World Cup to Moscow. As the AIDS mafia has joked for years, it’s not called the “ATM” for nothing.
So instead, I’ll have a rant about something that is somehow still shocking to me: the lengths to which loopy anti-abortion groups in the United States will go to deprive women of safe contraception and sexual health care. The target, once again, is Planned Parenthood. Over a one-week period last month, men went in to the sexual health service providers clinics in 11 cities, claiming to be sex traffickers seeking services, including abortions, for the underage girls they’ve enslaved. That would be a really dumb strategy for a real sex trafficker — in the US, even more than in Britain, the authorities are under pressure to find the army of enslaved girls that the abolitionists conjure up at every turn. It’s a well-hidden army; though a massive UK crackdown led to over 500 arrests related to selling sex a while back, it didn’t yield a single trafficker. Not that that has stopped the abolitionists’ conjuring. Shame on The Guardian for not referring back to its own excellent investigative work in this area.
Planned Parenthood immediately suspected that no trafficker would be that dumb. Certainly not 11 traffickers in different cities in a week, when such a thing had never happened before. Though it smelled like a hoax, they dutifully reported the alleged trafficking to the FBI and asked for an investigation. Now Loopy anti-abortionist group Live Action has admitted, with some pride, to their juvenile prank. They’ve released two of their “undercover” videos, to which they’ve they added juvenile-prank-style title screens.
My personal favourite: “Planned Parenthood Gets the Pimp Discount for His Underage Sex Slaves”. I will say that the clinic manager in New Jersey sails pretty close to the wind. But then which of us who has tried to provide services for people in need who have nowhere else to go does not bend the rules? As Planned Parenthood says: “Falsely claiming sex trafficking to health professionals to advance a political agenda is an astoundingly cynical form of political activity.”
Compared to this, the standard operating procedures in the AIDS world — using Global Fund money to buy 4x4s for officials — seem somewhat tame.