APPLETON — A hidden video taken at the Appleton-area Planned Parenthood facility, showing an abortion counselor and doctor telling two young women, among other things, that an abortion is safer than childbirth, has raised questions about misinformation shared with vulnerable women in crisis pregnancies.

Live Action, a Los Angeles-based agency that has been investigating Planned Parenthood practices since 2008, recently released an undercover video taken at Appleton North Health Center, Planned Parenthood’s facility located in Grand Chute, in September 2009. In the video, two college-age women entered the facility to get information and answers to questions concerning what Planned Parenthood’s television marketing campaign positions as “counseling, education and health care services, (that have) helped many women make many choices.”

In the undercover video, the would-be abortion candidates ask if the pregnant woman’s 10-week-old unborn child has a heartbeat. The counselor and the abortionist can be seen and heard telling the young women that babies do not have heartbeats until 17 weeks; that a baby is not a baby until birth; and that an abortion is safer than childbirth.

The counselor emphasizes “heart tones,” and answers, “Heartbeat is when the fetus is active in the uterus – can survive – which is about 17 or 18 weeks.”

The Planned Parenthood counselor then says, “A fetus is what’s in the uterus right now. That is not a baby.”

Dr. Gary Prohaska, the abortion practitioner at the Appleton facility, insists “It’s not a baby at this stage or anything like that.”

He goes on to say that having an abortion will be “much safer than having a baby,” warning, “You know, women die having babies.”

Prominent embryologists, Drs. Dianne Irving and Ward Kischer, who serve on the American Bioethics Advisory Commission, told Dec. 10 that information presented during the counseling session was “scientifically erroneous and absurd.”

Christina Pallini, Respect Life consultant for the Diocese of Green Bay, points to “Langman’s Medical Embryology: North American Edition” by Thomas W. Sadler (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009), a textbook “standard for all medical aspects,” which states that “development of the human being begins at fertilization.”

“Fertilization is when the egg and sperm unite,” explained Pallini. ”Like a very small fruit that becomes a larger fruit, and a very small animal becomes a larger animal, so does a very small human being – an embryo – become a larger human being. This is a scientific fact, not opinion.”

She said that scientific evidence proves that the heart of an unborn child begins beating at around three weeks into the pregnancy – before most women realize they are pregnant.

Lila Rose, Live Action’s president, said Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, is clearly deceiving women. “Our team has visited dozens of Planned Parenthood clinics undercover. Planned Parenthood, while claiming to support patient self-determination, operates with an ‘abortion-first’ mentality.”

The undercover video, which can be viewed at, came one month after the resignation of Abby Johnson, center director for Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas. During an interview with Fox News, Johnson stated, “Planned Parenthood really tries to instill in their employees and the women that are coming in for abortions that this is not a baby.”

“Planned Parenthood is a billion-dollar organization with nearly $350 million of government funding, and stands to gain hundreds of millions more from national health care,” said Rose. “Do we really want to subsidize an organization that gives women in need atrocious misinformation and predatory abortion practices?”

“Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is the state’s number one abortion provider, both surgical and chemical. Planned Parenthood has proven they do not know, or they care to ignore, basic facts about human development,” said Peggy Hamill, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin. “Our affiliates have prayed and sidewalk counseled at this location for years, and we have seen firsthand the damage caused by this abortion facility.”

Virginia Zignego, communications director for Pro-Life Wisconsin, wants state and municiple officials to take action.

“Hopefully, charges will be filed against Appleton Planned Parenthood as has been done elsewhere in the country,” she said. “County board members and other elected state officials from these communities need to hear from their constituents that they don’t want their tax dollars used to fund this kind of activity.”

Zignego also encouraged people to show the undercover video to others.

“This is a unique opportunity to counteract Planned Parenthood’s persuasive marketing practices. The more young people see this, the better they’ll understand that it’s not the organization many have been led to believe.”

A statement released by Teri Huyck, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin said Prohaska provided “honest, medically accurate” information. Huyck said the videos were edited. Live Action has sent the full and unedited footage to Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Outagamie County District Attorney Carrie Schneider for review.