The Mark Bucher Lowdown, part 2: his long war on Planned Parenthood.




Lila Rose, as self-regarding visionary crusader.

Remember how, as soon as the new 2010 Republican Congressional class was sworn in after vowing to concentrate on “jobs, jobs, jobs,” one of their IMMEDIATE priorities suddenly became defunding Planned Parenthood [PP] clinics across the nation? And remember how their most important bit of propaganda was the deceptive prank videos made by 20-something anti-abortion activist Lila Rose, reminiscent of James O’Keefe’s deadly-effective pranks on ACORN?

Well, a few things I didn’t know, until I started researching Mark Bucher: Lila’s hoaxes actually pre-dated O’Keefe’s ACORN pimp hoaxes; she got her start out here in Orange County, although she had to go all the way to Tennessee to find a PP worker who’d do anything arguably wrong;  and her main funder from the beginning was none other than Mark W. Bucher, candidate for OC Supervisor.

No wonder our retarded supes were among the first to de-fund Planned Parenthood, in 2009, at the urging of the uber-connected Bucher.  So, how did Lila and her sugar daddy pull this off?


Although Republicans’ hatred and demonization of ACORN was due to its massive voter registration of poor people, who usually vote Democratic,  the Breitbart/O’Keefe pimp carnival had to fabricate the abetting of teenage prositution in order to discredit ACORN in the popular and Congressional mind.

Very similarly, the real reason these anti-choice crusaders like Lila and Mark hate Planned Parenthood is that one of the services they provide is abortions, which are perfectly legal… SO, in order to get at them they had to make it look like PP was doing something illegal – namely, failing to report supposed statutory rape and fictional prostitution rings!

There’s something here about young rightwingers determined to drag liberal idealism down into the sewer, the sewer of their own repressed imaginations or something.


Lila as faux jailbait

In Lila’s 2008-9 Bucher-funded foray, the fresh-faced 20-year old dyed her hair blonde and visited multiple PP clinics across the nation, hidden camera in tow, posing as a desperate 13-year-old pregnant from a much older boyfriend.  PP policy in cases like this is to follow the law and alert Child Protective Services.  And we have no idea how many times that DID happen, because Lila’s (and O’Keefe’s) policy is to never let on how many places they visit that DO follow the law to the tee.  (Real honest work, there.)

But eventually, way off in Tennessee, Lila did find a worker who, reacting to her tearful reluctance to incriminate her “boyfriend,” advised her to go ahead and lie about his age.  And a similar worker in Indiana.  (Both these workers were later disciplined by Planned Parenthood; and it should be noted that Lila’s videos, like O’Keefe’s, are highly edited, so it probably wasn’t even as bad as it looked.  And no criminal investigations have ever taken place resulting from Lila’s shoddy tapes.)

When her sponsor Bucher saw the tapes she had created, he was shocked, SHOCKED! to have gotten what he paid for.   All in a dither, he brought them straight to his friend OC Supervisor John Moorlach, another anti-abortion zealot.  Moorlach, the alleged fiscal genius whose claim to fame is being one of the few to foresee the OC’s 1994 bankruptcy, was shocked not only by the tape, but also to find out that county funds were even going to the hated Planned Parenthood – something that was no secret and had been going on since 1965.

Shocked sage Supervisor Moorlach.

In point of fact no county funds ever went to abortions – by law no public funds can go to abortion – but $290,000 originating from a federal tobacco settlement fund HAD been steered by the supes for the previous nine years, through HCA, to a program administered by Planned Parenthood, focused on “comprehensive reproductive-health education for teens, health-education training and family-communication workshops.”

Moorlach brought this outrage to his brain-trust colleagues Campbell, Nguyen, Bates and Norby, and all distraught they voted unanimously to pull that money away.  So, so much for that program.  PP did what they could, and replaced the unfunded class with a hotline – which has received over 25,000 inquiries this past year.

Why is it that unlike ACORN, Planned Parenthood has dealt with the local and federal stripping of funding and not only survived but thrived? (Although they can certainly still use your donations!)  ACORN had other bigger organizational and financial problems before they experienced the rightwing onslaught.  But Planned Parenthood is firmly ensconced and beloved in middle America.

ONE IN THREE ORANGE COUNTY WOMEN have used the services of Planned Parenthood at at least one point in their lives; it’s long been “the primary health-care provider for thousands of women whom the county’s dismal public health system no longer serves.”  As senior VP Stephanie Kight says, “We’re a mainstream health-care provider, a primary provider. Women are turning to us in droves during these tough economic times.”  That’s for sure – at the time of Daffodil Altan’s exhaustive 2009 Weekly article (one of my main sources) PP was seeing 75,000 patients a year;  they now tell me, two years later, that figure has more than doubled to 160,000And no help coming from the County and our wretched Supervisors.

Pro-Life Christians should not attack Planned Parenthood, but support them.

Let me tell you why it makes no sense for Christians and others who consider themselves “pro-life,” who cherish the value of life before AND after birth, to be hostile to Planned Parenthood or to wish and fight for its demise.

Number one, as you know I’m going to say, abortions are only a tiny percent of what they do.  Here in the OC, that would be under 7%.  The vast majority – 93% – is contraception, life-saving cancer screenings, well-woman exams, education programs, STD prevention and treatment, family planning, WIC nutritional services, prenatal care, and more.  These services save lives – lives of fetuses, brother!  Fetuses AND born people!

But, much more importantly, as pro-life Representative Stephen Lynch fruitlessly pointed out earlier this year while voting against defunding, without the services provided by Planned Parenthood, there would be many more abortions.  Many more, and less safe. Lynch:  “That is the natural consequence of what is on the table here in this amendment. You are going to reduce funding for contraception; you are going to have more unwanted pregnancies, and you are going to have more abortions.”

So, why don’t these “pro-life” activists think this through?  Are they so blinded by the anger and disgust abortion fills them with that they don’t see how they are hurting their own pet cause?  Or do they really not care, and they are only doing something cynical and symbolic by going after Planned Parenthood?

Mark W. Bucher, candidate for Board of Supervisors and Lila’s original sponsor, can legitimately take the lion’s share of credit for cutting off county funds to our Planned Parenthood.  Do we really want a guy like that as Supervisor, someone who would go to these deceptive lengths, and risk hurting the health of thousands of OC women, and even causing more abortions, just to score a political/religious point?


Previously in this series:

Coming up:

  • Mark Bucher’s Long War on Labor.


  • OC GOP Treasurer Mark Bucher’s Long War on Financial Transparency.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.