LIFE DIGEST: Judge rules Planned Parenthood center broke Ohio law; ...
Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Jody Luebbers ruled Dec. 7 that Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio broke the state's informed consent law when its doctor failed to meet with a 14-year-old girl at least 24 hours before performing an abortion on her. The decision came even before the case goes to trial Feb. 7.
"The health and safety of young girls is more important than Planned Parenthood's desire to perform an abortion," said Brian Hurley, an Alliance Defense Fund-affiliated lawyer who is representing the girl's parents in the case.
The parents -- who, along with their daughter, remain unnamed at Luebbers' order -- filed suit on behalf of their daughter when they learned Planned Parenthood performed an abortion on her after she was brought to the clinic by her soccer coach, who was the father of the unborn child. John Haller, 22 at the time, served three years in prison for sexual battery.
The Planned Parenthood clinic failed to notify civil authorities, a requirement in cases of statutory rape. The clinic also failed to inform the parents of the abortion or the sexual relationship, according to Alliance Defense Fund.
This is the latest in a pattern uncovered at some Planned Parenthood clinics. Hidden-camera investigations since 2008 by Live Action, a pro-life organization led by college students, have caught Planned Parenthood employees in Alabama, Arizona, California, Indiana and Tennessee seeking to cover up alleged child sexual abuse.
Affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America performed 324,008 abortions in 2008, the latest year for which statistics have been reported by the organization.
ABORTION DOCTOR FREED EARLY -- A Massachusetts abortion doctor convicted in the death of a 22-year-old patient was released from jail Dec. 8 after serving half of his sentence.
Rapin Osathanondh served three months of a six-month sentence after he pled guilty in September to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Laura Smith. Under an agreement approved by the court, he must serve nine months of home confinement. He also may not practice or teach medicine, according to the Cape Cod Times.
Smith died in September 2007 during an abortion performed by Osathanondh at his Hyannis, Mass., clinic. She was 13 weeks pregnant.
A parole board declined Osathanondh's parole request after three months, supposedly because he "did not demonstrate remorse by what happened until being prompted by the parole board," a spokesman in the district attorney's office said, according to the Times.
The judge "disregarded the parole board's comments and decision and granted him freedom to go home," said Eileen Smith, Laura's mother, in a written statement. "Where is my daughter's freedom to go home, Judge?"
PRO-LIFE WIN IN VETERANS BILL -- Rep. Chris Smith, R.-N.J., successfully led an effort to ensure a bill of rights for female military veterans cannot be understood to establish a right to abortion.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women Veterans Bill of Rights (H.R. 5953) by voice vote Nov. 30. The vote came after language was inserted at Smith's request to clarify the bill would not be construed to include a right to such services as abortion, abortion counseling and in vitro fertilization.
Smith told the House he was "especially pleased" the measure "makes absolutely clear that abortion is not health care under this bill and so-called abortion rights are not implied by any of the rights specified in the legislation."
PRO-LIFE CAUCUS CHAIRS -- Reps. Chris Smith, R.-N.J., and Dan Lipinski, D.-Ill., have been named co-chairs of the Congressional Pro-life Caucus in the next Congress.
Smith, who will begin his 16th two-year term in the House of Representatives in January, is probably the leading pro-life advocate in Congress. Lipinski, set to begin his fourth term, affirmed his pro-life credentials when he refused to join other self-identified pro-life Democrats in supporting the health care legislation that became law in March. That measure will subsidize abortions in insurance plans.
The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a bill championed by Smith and Lipinski, is expected to be a leading pro-life initiative in the next session of Congress. It is a government-wide ban on federal funding of abortion.
PLATES OK IN NEW JERSEY -- "Choose Life" auto license plates are available for sale in New Jersey after a seven-year wait.
New Jersey's Motor Vehicles Commission recently announced it would offer the pro-life plates in order to prevent the use of more state funds for a continuing court battle. The state rejected the Children First Foundation's request for the specialty plates first made in 2003, saying it does not permit slogans, according to the Associated Press. The plates went on sale Dec. 3, AP reported.
New Jersey became the 26th state to offer "Choose Life" plates, according to the Children First Foundation (CFF). The $25 cost to obtain such a plate helps fund pregnancy care centers and maternity homes in the state. In the last 10 years, "Choose Life" plates have raised more than $13 million to provide pro-life support to pregnant women across the country, CFF reported.
SCOTLAND REJECTS SUICIDE BILL -- Scotland's Parliament voted 85-16 on Dec. 1 to defeat legislation that would have legalized physician-assisted suicide.
The End of Life Assistance Bill would have permitted people at least 16 years of age to seek help in committing suicide if they are either terminally ill or physically incapacitated permanently and unable to live independently. To be eligible, the people must find their lives are "intolerable."
Gordon Macdonald of Care Not Killing Alliance, which opposed the measure, called the vote "a victory for the most vulnerable in our community. The detailed scrutiny and exhaustive investigation that this bill has had over many months and the sheer magnitude of its defeat should settle this issue in Scotland for a generation."
Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.