Montana Attorney General Implies Planned Parenthood Is Trafficking Humans

Austin Knudsen casually implied the nation's largest family planning provider is enabling trafficking, but said he doesn't have the "bandwidth" to investigate.

Politics
Montana Attorney General Implies Planned Parenthood Is Trafficking Humans
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen is sworn into office on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, inside the Montana State Capitol in Helena, Mont. Photo:Thom Bridge/Independent Record (AP)

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen accused Planned Parenthood of “intentionally” falsifying records and having “flagrantly violated” state laws to potentially further human trafficking, during a newly surfaced talk radio appearance on Aug. 1.

A woman identified as Marilyn called into Montana Talks, a conservative radio program broadcasted throughout the state, to ask Knudsen’s opinion on an abortion clinic in Montana to voice her concerns about its alleged connection to human trafficking. Knudsen took her accusations and ran with them.

“Marilyn, you bring up a great point. And we do know from the discovery of some of our lawsuits that we got going with Planned Parenthood and against Planned Parenthood. There are numerous instances where Planned Parenthood has flagrantly violated, state law and not reported rape cases, even statutory rape cases, and intentionally falsified records in order to protect people and not to tell the state,” Knudsen said. “I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this could be happening with human trafficking victims.”

However, Knudsen said he doesn’t have the manpower to investigate such claims. “But I will say I mean, candidly, we just that’s not an area that we’ve got the bandwidth to get into. Like I said, I’ve got, I’ve got really about three and a half human trafficking agents, they’re running all over the state, trying to take down a lot of these a lot of rings, a lot of johns,” Knudsen said. I guess we’re just supposed to take him at his word!

Planned Parenthood—which is not even the largest abortion provider in the country—has been dogged for years with baseless trafficking accusations by right-wing activists. In 2009 and 2011, the anti-abortion group Live Action released multiple doctored “sting” videos trying to catch the provider in the act of helping underage trafficking victims and not alerting authorities to the existence of trafficking rings. Those allegations went nowhere.

It’s worth emphasizing—again—that while Knudsen, Montana’s top law enforcement officer, said the potential for human trafficking at (??) Planned Parenthood (???) is “something that definitely needs to be looked at by law enforcement,” he obviously doesn’t think it’s important enough for his own agency to do it. Perhaps if he believes this is such a real problem, he should turn his limited resources away from decimating abortion access and onto pursuing answers to that crisis. Let’s see what he turns up!

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