Lila Rose, pro-life sweetheart and founder of the anti-abortion nonprofit Live Action, recently spoke with The Daily Wire about her journey in becoming a human rights activist, including her work on several anti-abortion industry undercover videos with conservative activist James O’Keefe, and her aspirations for the future.
An alumna of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Rose became known as a teen for participating in several undercover video stings with O’Keefe, exposing the pro-abortion health organization Planned Parenthood in potential fraud and ethical violations. Her nonprofit Live Action has expanded the scope and reach of her pro-life work, and Rose told The Daily Wire she intends to grow its "educational and investigative campaigns until every abortion facility has been shut down and every American has been given the opportunity to see the horror of abortion as well as the preciousness of life in the womb."
The Daily Wire: How did you get involved with Live Action as a teen? Did you have a mentor/role model?
Rose: When I was nine years old, I stumbled upon a book that contained photos of preborn children who had been killed in the 1st trimester by suction abortion. Even at that age, I could plainly see that abortion involves killing a child and does tremendous violence to its mother. As I grew older, I began to research abortion's impact on our nation, and its effects on the mother -- injuries, infertility, life-long depression and guilt, and even the likelihood for that guilt to manifest itself in physical or emotional abuse of later children. I also studied the lives of those who fought human rights abuses, from slavery to the Nazi extermination of the Jews to the civil rights movement, and activists and advocates like Martin Luther King, Jr., St Teresa of Calcutta, William Wilberforce, and Sophie Scholl.
I started Live Action with some school friends of mine when I was 15 years old because I knew of no other group in my hometown of San Jose that was educating my peers about abortion as a human rights abuse, about the dignity of children in the womb, and about the risks of abortion to women. I felt passionately that if people knew the facts, they would become pro-life. I also was convicted: I had been given life, I knew how precious life was, but there were children close to me, in my own city, who were not protected.
I had a lot of role models who inspired me. One was my grandmother, who volunteered at the local crisis pregnancy center and who also advocated for better options for women facing unplanned pregnancies. My parents also were strongly pro-life and lived that every day in the way they loved my seven siblings and me while also teaching us to serve others. I was also blessed with the support of Fresno Right to Life's youth director at the time, Jonathan Keller, who would drive over two hours up to San Jose to train my friends and me how to give educational pro-life presentations to our peers.
DW: Were all of your siblings homeschooled, as you were?
Rose: Yes. We were home schooled K-12, but my parents started a private, part-time academy to assist with our schooling, as well as to serve other families in our community.
DW: Your bio says that you were raised as an Evangelical Protestant. What made you convert to Catholicism? Did your teenage activism with Live Action develop at the same time as your spiritual transition?
I became Catholic when I was 20 years old while still a student at UCLA. It was years in the making -- I had been exploring my faith and reading the Church fathers and doctors as well as asking lots of questions! I was intellectually persuaded -- the beauty of the Church's teaching is that faith and reason work together and that reason can actually support our faith. The Church also teaches that in life there are mysteries -- about God and about ourselves -- that reason can never solve, but that these holy mysteries also do not violate reason (they may supersede it, however!)
As a teen and college activist, investigating faith was a natural interest--everyone, whether they realize it or not, puts their faith in something. I wanted to better know the God that I firmly sensed loved all humankind, the power that created life in the first place. Along with being intellectually persuaded and falling in love with the beauty of the Church, I became Catholic to draw closer to Christ in the sacraments, especially through confession and the Eucharist.
DW: How did you get involved with James O'Keefe?
Rose: I met James when I was a college freshman at UCLA. He had come to my school to give a workshop on how to start a student publication. I was late to his first workshop because I had been volunteering earlier that day at a community pregnancy center. I wanted to educate students at UCLA about the lack of pregnancy resources for students at the school as well as Planned Parenthood's and the abortion industry's many abuses. I wanted to connect fellow students that cared about human rights to the reality that abortion is a violation of the most fundamental of human rights -- a preborn human being's first right -- the right to life.
My first investigative journalism project was with James -- an expose of my student health center, the Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center, and its lack of pregnancy resources for students. With James posing as my sympathetic friend, I posed as a pregnant student and met with the head nurse at UCLA who told me point blank that UCLA "does not support women who are pregnant or help them necessarily."
DW: Did you receive any pushback/criticism from the black community after conducting the "Racism Project"? Have you received significant pushback or threats from anyone?
Rose: We received an outpouring of response and support form the black community. Black pastors around the country rallied and expressed their support, including hosting a news conference in Washington. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s niece, Dr. Alveda King, personally attended and helped manage some of the events. She called Planned Parenthood's targeting of black babies in the womb and the extremely high abortion rate in the black community "black genocide."
DW: PP claimed to have reported your "sex trafficking" incident to the FBI . Why do you think Attorney General Eric Holder declined to prosecute?
Rose: Planned Parenthood didn't report to the FBI that they had possible sex traffickers at their clinics, but instead complained to the FBI about Live Action investigators. It is no surprise AG Eric Holder did not prosecute. Unfortunately, his administration was riddled with ideological attacks and abuse. As an appointee of President Obama, the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history, as well as having a wife that co-owned an abortion facility, Holder had a whole series of conflicts of interest.
DW: How far would you go to expose fraud in the "pro-choice" movement? Would you risk violating the federal law? Would you risk your freedom?
Rose: Live Action operates by all applicable laws. I'm blessed to live in a country where we have freedom of speech and of the press. We use those freedoms to fight to restore the fundamental rights of our preborn brothers and sisters. It's not a matter of "risking" our freedom, but exercising it.
DW: What are your goals for the future? Do you plan to expand your reach in the pro-life movement? Do you have any other major causes that are close to your heart? How do you want people to remember you by?
Rose: Live Action's expansion plan is to grow our educational and investigative campaigns until every abortion facility has been shut down and every American has been given the opportunity to see the horror of abortion as well as the preciousness of life in the womb. We plan to expand our reach by building our national communications platforms (our social media and news site, primarily) and expanding our educational campaigns and investigative reporting, all for the purpose of changing more and more hearts and minds each day.
Personally, I want to contribute whatever time or gifts I have to help make this possible, and I want to continue developing creative projects that advocate for the most vulnerable in our society and that convince people of the beauty of every single life. If I am remembered for anything, I hope it is that I loved deeply and helped more people know the love of Christ with whatever time I was given on this earth.