ALBANY, N.Y. — A bill requiring “anyone in a position of trust” to report cases of suspected child abuse to the authorities passed in the New York state Senate on March 18. The legislation does not mention counselors at abortion clinics but does specify members of the clergy.

The bill comes in the wake of the recently-publicized Church sex scandals of years ago. But it seems to ignore evidence suggesting that abortion clinics routinely aid and abet the crime of statutory rape, a form of child abuse in which an adult has sex with a child.

Bill Donohue, president of the New York-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, accused law-makers of succumbing to abortion lobby pressure. He noted that a bill introduced last June that would require all adults to report cases of suspected child abuse was withdrawn after a protest mounted by the pro-abortion lobbying group Family Planning Advocates.

“In no uncertain terms, they contended that if all adults were blanketed, it would mean that abortion providers would have to report cases of statutory rape,” he said in a statement March 19.

A survey by the pro-life advocacy group Life Dynamics Inc. that purportedly exposed 90% of 833 abortion clinics as willing accomplices to child sexual abuse has been ignored by child-welfare advocates and prosecutors, including those who have crusaded for punishment in response to child sexual abuse cases within the Catholic Church. By contrast, a New York Times study suggests that only 1.8% of priests have even been accused of sexual abuse.

“It's now rather obvious that the real goal of these people is not to protect the kids but to get the Catholic Church,” Donohue said. “If you're truly concerned about kids, it makes no difference whether the predator is a priest, a plumber, a rabbi or a schoolteacher.”

Life Dynamics, based in Denton, Texas, conducted a survey of abortion clinics in 49 states (Mississippi has no clinics). A woman with a childlike voice called each clinic pretending to be a 13-year-old girl who had been impregnated by her 22-year-old boyfriend.

In 90% of the calls, mostly to Planned Parenthood facilities, the girl was told she could come in for a pregnancy test and nobody would ever be told of the crime.

In states without laws that require parental consent for abortions, she was told routinely the abortion would be performed without anyone being contacted and her boyfriend could pay for it all. Repeatedly, in states with parental-consent laws, the girl was coached to lie about her age and the age of her boyfriend.

Clinics told the girl she could receive birth-control pills in an ongoing arrangement, and she was assured the grown man who was having sex with her was free to pick them up and pay for them.

“How come some people are being prosecuted, and others are not?” asked Ed Zielinski, general counsel for Life Dynamics.

Answer, according to Donohue: “Anti-Catholic bigotry.”

“The sexual-abuse scandal in the Church has given anti-Catholic bigots some new cover,” Donohue said. “They can go after the Church and the priests without sounding like bigots because they can feign concern for the children. Yet when presented with evidence of far more widespread child sexual abuse — abuse that's facilitated by the abortion industry — there's no concern.”

Beyond the seeming lack of outrage, Donohue said, is a concerted effort to protect the abortion industry while harming the Church. At least eight states — New York, Maryland, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Iowa and Arizona — have recently considered or are considering legislation to negate state respect for the seal of confession.

Some of those championing the laws, such as the New York City branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, have fought vigorously to maintain the confidentiality protection for abortion providers and argue that only clergy should lose rights to converse secretly about crimes.

Bobbi Watson, senior vice president of Planned Parenthood of the Rockies, which covers most of the western United States, has denied that abortionists aid and abet statutory rape. Rather, “they make efforts that seek to respect the privacy of young girls seeking abortions,” she told the Register last year, after Life Dynamics first revealed the tapes. “In doing so, they never ask about the girl's partner.”

Donohue charged that the ACLU has “worked openly, hand-in-hand with the abortion industry, to ensure that the abortion industry is exempted from mandatory-reporting laws.”

“They realize that the abortion industry is in a pickle when it comes to statutory rape,” he said.

Marc Tuttle, a researcher for Life Dynamics, said transcripts and tapes from the survey are so damning it seemed as if child-welfare advocates and prosecutors would have to take action.

“Justice is supposed to be blind,” Tuttle said. “When it involves the abortion industry, however, justice apparently looks for a blindfold.”

‘Nothing to Say’

In Boston, Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly has taken a no-holds-barred approach in a legal campaign to bring justice to all cases of past child sexual abuse involving priests. He has forced the Church to provide thousands of documents and requested dozens of subpoenas in an effort to indict bishops in connection with past sexual crimes of priests.

Yet Reilly has had no response to the Life Dynamics survey, which found that abortion clinics in Massachusetts knowingly help foster child sexual abuse. Reilly refused repeated requests by the Register for a statement about the findings and his reaction to them.

“We're not going to comment on this issue,” said Beth Stone, a spokeswoman for Reilly.

Register: “Why no comment? Is it Mr. Reilly's belief that it's okay for a 22-year-old man to impregnate a 13-year-old girl in Massachusetts?”

Stone: “I've talked it over with people in the office and we're just not going to comment. I'm not going to tell you why. We have nothing more to say.”

The reaction doesn't surprise Gay Guptill, a pro-life Boston resident who stands on sidewalks outside abortion clinics in an effort to counsel women who seek abortions. Guptill calls the police when he counsels young women who have been impregnated by grown men, but the authorities do nothing.

“They do not investigate nor follow up,” Guptill said, claiming the police are far more concerned with monitoring pro-life advocates than with fighting child sexual abuse. “You might say they are the security guard company for the Planned Parenthood facility, because they baby-sit outside the [abortion] mill every Saturday.”

In Oregon, attorney David Slader describes himself as a relentless child advocate who hopes to counter child sexual abuse. He's suing the Diocese of Baker, Ore., for nearly $80 million because of child sexual abuse allegations that are all more than 20 years old. Yet he downplayed the finding that Oregon abortion workers coach pregnant girls to lie and promise not to report the sexual abuse.

“The Catholic Church tells children that the priest is God's representative on Earth,” said Slader, who is Jewish. Priestly abuse is “much different than a sexually active teen sleeping with a man who's probably not much more psychologically mature than she is. The average person on the street doesn't think ‘child abuse’ when a 13-year-old girl is sleeping with a 22-year-old. They think it's inappropriate, but they don't think it's rape. Technically it's illegal, and it should be enforced, but it's not the same as believing that you've been chosen by God to be raped.”

Father James Logan, a canon lawyer and chancellor of the Diocese of Baker, said Slader and other child-welfare advocates were conspicuously silent in the 1990s, when then Oregon Gov. Barbara Roberts and then U.S. Surgeon General M. Joycelyn Elders, both Democrats, made issue of the fact that more than half of all teen-age pregnancies are caused by adult men and that 40% of pregnant girls age 15 and younger have partners older than 20.

“It has been real clear since that information was released that we have a huge problem in this country with statutory rape, but nobody seems to care,” Father Logan said. “It was a mere blip on the radar screen of public concern. There's all this hysteria about priests. Yet you need 50 years’ worth of nationwide data to come up with numbers of allegations involving priests that match the number of child sexual abuse cases that occur in Massachusetts alone in just one year.”

Tuttle believes widespread sexual abuse of minors is tolerated for the same reason the Life Dynamics survey has failed to generate outrage: The abortion industry has loads of money and political clout. To the abortion industry, Tuttle explained, sexually active teens are cash.

“There's no excuse for child molestation anywhere, anytime, and particularly in the Catholic Church, which should be held to a higher standard than the rest of society,” Tuttle said. “But with the cases against priests, we're talking mostly about incidents that happened at least 15 to 20 years ago in most cases.”

When Life Dynamics presented a possible case of someone suffering ongoing abuse, “people at the abortion clinics in most cases chose to help sustain the abuse rather than calling authorities,” he said.

The Catholic League's Donohue said the media, prosecutors and self-appointed child advocates who are attacking the Church have also ignored factual findings that show child sexual abuse has historically been no higher, and probably lower, among priests than among other groups of clergy and secular professionals.

“Clearly, this ongoing focus on the priests isn't about protecting kids,” Donohue said. “It's about getting the priests. I'm not trying to exculpate abusive priests and bishops who looked the other way. But there's a lot more at stake here. The sexual abuse of children is rampant in this society, and nobody seems to care — except for that small fraction of cases that involve priests.”

Wayne Laugesen writes from Boulder, Colorado.