Planned Parenthood of Idaho officials have apologized after a fundraiser for the organization was caught on tape agreeing with an actor posing as a racist donor who wanted his money to reduce the numbers of black people.
However, the organization also criticized the journalists whose investigation sparked the story, accusing them of using “racist” tactics.
Last summer, writers with The Advocate, a student magazine at the University of California at Los Angeles, called several Planned Parenthood fundraising centers across the country to discover how they would respond to donors with racist motives. In February they released recordings and transcripts of some of the calls.
In a phone conversation with an Idaho Planned Parenthood office, the caller stated, “the less black kids out there, the better.” Autumn Kersey, the office’s Director of Development, laughed nervously and said, “Understandable, understandable. ... Excuse my hesitation, this is the first time I've had a donor call and make this kind of request, so I'm excited and want to make sure I don't leave anything out."
On Wednesday, February 27 Planned Parenthood of Idaho released a statement apologizing for the employee’s actions, the Idaho Statesman reports.
"A fundraising employee violated the organization's principles and practices when she appeared to be willing to accept a racially motivated donation," said Rebecca Poedy, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Idaho, in a written statement. "We apologize for the manner in which this offensive call was handled. We take full responsibility for the actions of the fundraising staff member who created the impression that racism of any form would be tolerated at Planned Parenthood. We took swift action to ensure that each of our employees understands their responsibility to communicate clearly with donors about the fact that we believe in helping all individuals, regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation, make informed decisions about their reproductive health care."
Poedy went on to attack the student journalists who started the story.
"While the actions of our staff member were unacceptable, it's also unacceptable for opponents of abortion to use racist, deceptive tactics to smear Planned Parenthood," Poedy said. "The race-baiting tactics on display in this case are not news 'exposes,' but rather the product of the most cynical form of politicking."
Lila Rose, a UCLA student and editor-in-chief of The Advocate who led the investigation, responded to the apology statement.
"They do not change their ways," Rose said. "They attack the whistleblower."
The Advocate is calling for UCLA to cut its ties to Planned Parenthood. The magazine is waiting for responses from Idaho and Ohio before releasing recordings from Planned Parenthood offices in other states.