Critics: Clinics foster abuse of minors
WASHINGTON (BP)--Planned Parenthood has long denounced rumors that the organization fails to report the sexual abuse and statutory rape of underage girls, despite compelling evidence that tells a different story.
The largest abortion provider in the United States came under scrutiny in May when incriminating recordings were posted on YouTube, the hugely popular video-sharing website. The videos show an employee at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Los Angeles encouraging an allegedly pregnant 15-year-old and her 23-year-old boyfriend to lie about her age so she could get an abortion without reporting the case as statutory rape.
The minor turned out to be Lila Rose, an 18-year-old journalism student at the University of California-Los Angeles and editor of the pro-life student magazine The Advocate. Rose went undercover with fellow student James O'Keefe to discover if Planned Parenthood was following protocol.
California law requires abortion clinics to report cases of statutory rape to the police. The age of consent in the state is 16.
The hidden camera Rose and O'Keefe took into the clinic shows an unnamed Planned Parenthood employee telling Rose to say she is 16 on the abortion paperwork.
"If you're 15, we have to report it. ... If you're not, if you're older than that, then we don't need to," the employee said. "You could say 16. Just figure out a birth date that works, and I don't know anything."
Rose, who has been pro-life for as long as she can remember, was shocked at Planned Parenthood's blatant disregard for the law.
"As shown in the video, I questioned the Planned Parenthood employee further to confirm that I had heard what she said," Rose told Baptist Press. "She repeated that I could lie about my age and 'make up a birth date that works.' In my mind I was thinking, 'Wow, so this is what they do to young girls. They tell them to lie, give them the abortion and let the abuse continue.'"
Rose's initial inspiration to go undercover at Planned Parenthood was a Life Dynamics Inc. covert investigation conducted in 2002. An actress portrayed a 13-year-old girl by telephone who had become pregnant by her 22-year-old boyfriend. She called more than 800 Planned Parenthood clinics and their affiliates, saying she wanted an abortion because she did not want her parents to discover her sexual relationship.
Tape recordings of the phone calls portray many of the employees acknowledging the situation was illegal and should be reported to the police. However, 91 percent of the facilities agreed to conceal the case of statutory rape.
Life Dynamics President Mark Crutcher said in a news release, "These tapes from our investigation clearly prove that these places are little more than corporate accomplices for child rapists."
Rose echoed Crutcher's comments: "Planned Parenthood covers up the statutory rape and sexual abuse of young girls regularly and throughout the nation. Of course, Planned Parenthood refuses to admit there is a problem. In fact, in response to my investigation, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California President Kathy Kneer stated that 99.9 percent of the time Planned Parenthood clinics report the statutory rape."
Rose received a threatening e-mail from Planned Parenthood two days after the videos of her investigation were posted on YouTube, demanding she surrender the tapes. Rose complied, following the advice of her lawyers at the Alliance Defense Fund. By that time, the videos had already been posted online by independent news sources, and the videos can still be viewed on YouTube.
"Planned Parenthood tried to scare me in order to cover up the truth of what they are doing," Rose said. "I am thankful to independent media for making sure the truth can be told and to the Alliance Defense Fund, who advised me to best protect myself."
Full coverage of the investigation is available on The Advocate's website, www.LAadvocate.com.
Evidence from other parts of the country demonstrates there are Planned Parenthood clinics that are not reporting the sexual abuse of underage girls.
An unnamed teenage girl is suing a Planned Parenthood clinic in Cincinnati, Ohio, for allegedly concealing sexual abuse at the hands of her father, John Blanks Jr. Under Ohio law, abortion clinics must report suspected sexual abuse to the authorities. Because the clinic did not report the incest case, Blanks abused his daughter for an additional 18 months.
According to the Associated Press, the girl eventually told another person about the sexual abuse. Blanks was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison.
Rep. Jean Schmidt, R.-Ohio, expressed her disappointment that this case of sexual abuse was not reported by Planned Parenthood to the authorities.
"As a woman and mother, I am heartbroken when I hear of a young girl being victimized," Schmidt said in a statement on the Susan B. Anthony List website. "When these young girls reach out for help from a group that claims to be pro-woman and get none, my feelings turn to outrage. This is clearly yet another case where young girls, who need our help, are instead being further victimized."
Planned Parenthood of Connecticut failed to report cases of underage abortion in May and June of this year. In May, a 22-year-old man was arrested for raping a 14-year-old girl, impregnating her three times in six months. Police reports show the man took the girl to a Planned Parenthood facility in Norwich, Conn., for abortions. Each time, the facility failed to report the underage abortions.
In June, police found a 15-year-old girl, Danielle Cramer, who had run away from home and been missing for almost a year. The police uncovered abortion paperwork in the house where Cramer was located. The Manchester Journal Inquirer reported the teenager said she had an abortion at a Planned Parenthood in West Hartford, Conn.
Jim Sedlak, vice president of the American Life League, expressed outrage about the statutory rape cases in Connecticut in a news release:
"Yet again, Planned Parenthood in Connecticut apparently failed to report to authorities when an underage girl had an abortion. This organization continues to promote abortion at all costs, even when it permits sexual predators to get away with rape."