Campaign Targets Alleged Planned Parenthood Abuses
BY Wayne Laugesen
August 18-24, 2002 Issue | Posted 8/18/02 at 1:00 PM
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Staten Island-based Priests for Life has teamed up with Life Dynamics Inc. in a campaign to alert school board members throughout the country to what it says are unlawful activities by Planned Parenthood clinics.
The two groups are warning school districts that cozy relationships with Planned Parenthood might be placing children and taxpayers at risk. They say schools should consider severing all ties with the organization. Life Dynamics says it has documented failure of Planned Parenthood clinics to report alleged incidents of statutory rape.
Abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, are required by law in all 50 states to report knowledge of sex between adults and children younger than 14. Life Dynamics reported that its nationwide survey of abortion clinics last spring suggests that some 80% of abortion and family-planning clinics aid and abet men who commit statutory rape.
“It's in the culture of the abortion industry,” said Mark Crutcher, president of Life Dynamics Inc. in Denton, Texas. “They are openly promoting the idea that very young children can have healthy, sexual relationships with adults. I believe that they honestly don't see anything wrong with it.”
Life Dynamics gathered its information by having a young woman, who pretended to be 13 years old, call 800 clinics. All calls were taped. In each call, the actress told a clinic worker she was 13 and had been impregnated by her 22-year-old boyfriend.
In most calls, the girl was promised secrecy by the abortion clinic, and in many she was instructed precisely how to avoid revealing further information about the rape.
“The uniform nature of the calls was the same in almost every instance, and in all of the states,” Crutcher said. “It's clear that throughout the industry they advocate covering things up for the abuser.”
Father Peter West, priest associate for Priests for Life, said school districts that have relationships with Planned Parenthood and other abortion/family-planning providers could be accomplices to any crimes the clinics commit.
“Planned Parenthood in particular relies on school districts for much of its customer base,” Father West said. “School districts have allowed these organizations into the schools to provide condoms, birth-control information and sex-education classes. In many states, it's not even illegal for a teacher to take a student to a clinic for an abortion. However, if the abortion or other services are performed illegally, the school may be liable because it's in loco parentis [acting legally as a parent].”
At Priests for Life (www.priestsforlife.org), officials are seeking volunteers in every school district to ask questions and formally raise concerns to school boards about the potential liability.
“This is something school board members need to concern themselves with,” said Dr. G. Daniel Harden, professor of law at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan. “Because of the way child-abuse statutes are written in almost every state, there is an obligation to provide information to authorities when child abuse is even remotely suspected.”
Added Harden: “Now we're told that Planned Parenthood is not only failing to report suspected child sexual assault, but it's telling known victims how to conceal the abuse. That should be a major red flag for school districts that work closely with Planned Parenthood. They may find themselves named as accomplices to violations involving failure to report, in some cases, and in others as accomplices in charges pertaining to concealment of child sexual assault.”
Harden, who also serves on a school board in Kansas, said he plans to determine whether schools or employees in his district have school-related relationships with Planned Parenthood.
He also may express his concerns about the Life Dynamics survey to school districts throughout the Topeka/Kansas City metropolitan area.
Bobbi Watson, senior vice president for Planned Parenthood of the Rockies, which oversees dozens of abortion clinics in the western United States, said it's not true that abortion providers try to aid and abet statutory rape. Rather, she said, abortion providers respect the privacy of girls who seek abortions so they never ask questions about the partner.
In most of Life Dynamics' taped survey calls, the actress offers the information about the age of her adult partner and insisted on knowing whether abortion clinic workers will tell anyone that the father of her child is a grown man. Then the girl arranges permission for the boyfriend to accompany her during the abortion.
Later in the conversations, the girl arranges with the clinics to have her boyfriend routinely pick up birth-control pills for her so they can continue having sex in the future without the worry of pregnancy. Typically, she's told it will be fine for the boyfriend to pick up the pills.
In Texas, state law requires that minors have parental consent before obtaining abortions. But one Texas clinic worker asked if the girl's boyfriend might pretend to be her dad and sign the permission papers.
When the clinic worker is told the boyfriend is 22 – too young to appear as the girl's father – she asks the girl about other grown men who might help out.
Together they decide the girl should bring along her boyfriend's 50-year-old uncle, who will pretend to be her father and sign for the abortion. The clinic worker then tells the girl that an in-house notary of the public will authorize the fraudulent signature.
As a random sampling of the survey, Life Dynamics provided the Register with tapes of calls to more than 30 clinics in Colorado, a state with no parental notification law but with standard regulations that require clinics to report statutory rape (see sidebar above).
Many record instances of clinic workers telling the girl they will not report the crime and coaching her how to avoid discussing the issue when she comes in for her abortion.
D.D. Mallard, chief trial deputy for the Boulder District Attorney's office, was unaware of the findings and expressed little interest in researching the survey. However, she said sexual abuse of minors is taken seriously by her agency.
“We take all sexual assault very seriously, and we consider so-called ‘statutory rape’ to be a sexual assault, or a rape, period. We don't even use the term ‘statutory,’ because to us it's a sexual assault just like any other,” Mallard said.
In other words, said Washburn University law professor Harden, the Boulder district attorney views sex between minors and adults as a violent, heinous crime of rape, yet her office seems unalarmed about documentation of abortion clinics covering up the crime.
“Here you have a DA's office that makes no distinction between the kind of rape in which a stranger jumps out from behind the bushes and grabs a woman and the kind that involves sex between a grown man and a little girl,” Harden said. “If that's the case, then the DA's office ought to drop everything to find out whether the clinics in that jurisdiction are working to cover up known instances of serial rape, allowing perpetrators to roam free. And school officials ought to be distancing themselves from this organization [Planned Parenthood] until they have some assurance that they aren't flagrantly violating the law in order to aid and abet the raping of children.”
Not all prosecutors have ignored the Life Dynamics survey. Connecticut Chief State's Attorney John Bailey met with representatives of Planned Parenthood in June after hearing the tapes of calls to clinics in his state. The purpose of the meeting, reported the Connecticut Post, was to review with Planned Parenthood workers the state's reporting laws.
In California, the Life Dynamics survey has prompted the United States Justice Foundation, a private legal organization, to plan a lawsuit against a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic.
Watson of Planned Parenthood of the Rockies said she feels “set up” by Life Dynamics.
“It was a setup to get us to say, ‘Oh, sweetheart, come on in and we won't report.’ We've had a lot of experience with Life Dynamics, so we know their sleaze tactics,” Watson said.
Despite what the tapes reveal, Watson insisted the Planned Parenthood clinics under her direction do no wrong when young girls call after grown men impregnate them. Therefore, she argued, school districts have nothing to worry about.
“We play by the letter of the law,” Watson said. “And we were prepared for this survey, because we had been informed that Life Dynamics was up to this.”
Crutcher said it's essential that abortion providers begin complying with state reporting laws because adult/child sex is out of control.
He cited statistics, including those released by former Surgeon General M. Joycelyn Elders, M.D. – a “pro-choice” Clinton appointee – about the age differences between most pregnant teens and their partners.
More than half of teen-age pregnancies are caused by adult men, Elders reported in 1998, and 40% of pregnant 15-year-olds have partners older than 20. On average, Elders reported, mothers age 11 and 12 have partners who are 9.8 years older.
Wayne Laugesen writes from Boulder, Colorado.
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