Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A New Jane Roe

I've been focusing on the abortion issue in terms of the upcoming election; I plan to write about that a bit more later. Like many people I reject the notion that we've already lost the Supreme Court or that our president's ideas about this issue are irrelevant, and while it may be quite true that there are other effective ways to stop abortions from happening that doesn't mean, to me, that we must abandon the political sphere altogether.

That said, though, I applaud the recent success pro-lifers have had in going after Planned Parenthood or other abortionists directly. From helping women who were injured or even raped by their abortionist to pursue legal recourse, to shining a spotlight on clinic health standards or dubious practices, to other efforts of a similar kind these strategies represent relatively new, and often very effective, ways to combat abortion.

This current case in Ohio is the kind of thing I'd like to see happen more and more often--whether or not the plaintiffs share our pro-life views:

In March 2004, the 14-year-old identified as Jane Roe entered the Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio clinic with John Haller, the 21-year-old soccer coach who had impregnated her.

The girl had attempted to evade parental-notification requirements by giving Haller's phone number as her father's, according to court records.

When Haller accompanied her to the clinic, Jane Roe identified him as her stepbrother, court records show, and Haller used his credit card to pay for the abortion.

Haller later was convicted of seven counts of sexual battery.

The fact that Planned Parenthood fell for the ruse suggests that its staff and doctors are willing to overlook evidence of abuse, Miller and Hurley said.

They said that they're looking for records of approximately 200 girls a year who seek abortions from Planned Parenthood in Ohio. The records would omit the girls' names and other information that could identify them, the lawyers said. Only those records would show whether Planned Parenthood neglected its duty to inform authorities of suspected abuse, Hurley said.

The girl's parents are the ones suing; their rights were violated by Planned Parenthood's willingness to overlook both the statutory rape situation and the girl's rather shaky explanations as to who John Haller actually was. In their rush to get the girl's baby killed Planned Parenthood didn't ask too many questions; you could argue that they didn't ask enough, by a long shot.

Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood is balking, on the grounds that "privacy" is at stake. However, in the state of Ohio any girl under sixteen who is pregnant by any man over the age of eighteen is a statutory rape victim, and Planned Parenthood is required by law to report it, so it's unclear how releasing similar information to lawyers violates anyone's privacy, except for Planned Parenthood's, of course.

And undercover pro-life investigations have turned up a consistent pattern of Planned Parenthood employees failing to report statutory rape and the abuse of minors, so it's not irrelevant to the "Roe's" lawsuit for them to seek this information in their attempt to prove negligence, and possibly even criminal negligence, on the part of Planned Parenthood.

I think pro-life state legislators have an unprecedented opportunity, as cases like these become public, to push for new legislation that will make it a criminal offense for mandatory reporters to fail to report credible suspicion of statutory rape, and that will also consider evidence of pregnancy in a minor under the age of sixteen to be such evidence in any state where any sexual contact with persons below that age is defined as statutory rape. It's the height of hypocrisy for liberals to push for all kinds of state oversight of homeschooling, for one example, on the grounds that child abuse prevention demands such oversight, but then to shrug and look the other way as young girls are victimized by much older men, who then drive the pregnant girls to the local Planned Parenthood clinic knowing they'll most likely get away with their crimes and be free to keep abusing children.

For the sake of fourteen-year-old "Jane Roe," I hope that Planned Parenthood will be forced to disclose their information. Too many parents don't ever learn until much too late that their daughters are being abused by grown men, who groom them and promise them love and affection in exchange for sexual favors. And these poor young women will go on to suffer all the trauma that all child sex abuse victims suffer, compounded by the pain of early abortions and the knowledge that the adults who should have known better and could have stopped the abuse never even asked questions, not even when a girl of fourteen shows up with an adult male and asks for an abortion.

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