Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A proposal

Whatever else you do today, go to Jill Stanek's blog and read about how Planned Parenthood workers were caught on tape advising a fake "pimp" on how to bring underage girls in for abortions without triggering mandatory reporting laws.

Before you click the link, parental warning: the blog post and associated videos are not to be viewed when young children are in the room; some workers may also wish to consider them NSFW.

The blog post is here.

The saddest thing of all to me is that this sometimes happens, based on reports from post-abortive women, when there are no video cameras around and nobody is setting up a sting. It is particularly painful to read about young girls, some aged 13 or 14, who endured incestuous abuse from a family member or molestation from a teacher or coach--and then were presented at abortion clinics to have an abortion and get birth control, all with no questions asked. We talk about "choice," but what kind of choice is it when a 12-year-old girl gets taken to a clinic by the older brother who is sexually abusing her? And when no one, from a Sunday School teacher in whom she confided to the clinic workers who informed her she was pregnant when the abuse she'd endured hadn't, as yet, included intercourse, even seemed to care that so young a girl was supposed to be pregnant?

I think that states need to pass new laws to protect minors which go beyond present parental consent laws. These laws would make it a crime of negligence to perform an abortion on a minor child without a mandatory social services investigation to confirm that the child is not a victim of rape (including statutory rape), incest, or criminal sexual activity (e.g., prostitution). Let's face it: there are laws in some states triggering a mandatory social services investigation when children are left alone in a car for a few minutes while Mom or Dad runs an errand--so I think it's reasonable to say that pregnancy in a child under age 18 is a suspicious enough circumstance in and of itself to warrant a similar investigation.

Let's stop making excuses that allow at-risk children to be further abused by abortion, after they've already endured sexual abuse, rape, or incest. A mandatory abortion investigation act would be a first step toward making sure that abortion isn't just a way for abusers or pimps to cover up their crimes against children.


Magister Christianus said...

I had thought about posting on this, but you have already done so. When I saw the video, I sat stunned into motionlessness. My wife has yet to see it. THIS IS INSANE! How on earth could this not be used as evidence to arrest this woman for complicity in crime?

Siarlys Jenkins said...

On the whole I agree.

I am dubious about laws making it a crime to leave a child alone in a car -- I know, IF it's a hot day and the windows are rolled up that's a real hazard, but that's not all that is behind such laws. I'd like to rein in the social workers, and recognize that parents may make good or bad choices, but the blunt instrument of the law isn't very good at making better ones.

But that's another subject, which Erin mentioned only in passing. Yes, if a girl who is of an age that sexual intercourse is likely to be some degree of sexual assault, or what used to be called statutory rape, comes in for abortion, there should be a report filed, and in many cases, a criminal investigation. If she is accompanied by a male, or even an overbearing female adult, she should have access to a neutral counsellor with the male not present, and some time to sort out for herself what it is SHE wants.

A few caveats: there are laws that allow an under age girl who is afraid to tell her parents to seek anonymous judicial permission for abortion. We shouldn't rule that out, or require that a young woman who is quietly seeking an abortion, on her own volition, must first endure a full criminal investigation.

Because this IS about exploitation of vulnerable women, isn't it? This wouldn't be an attempt by those who call themselves pro-life to use a rightly emotional crime as cover for making abortions unavailable to everyone in all circumstances would it?

That's what the people who have been caught red-handed will splutter, as a natural form of defense, and those who really make money mass-producing abortions may be motivated to come to their defense, but they're wrong.

What is constitutionally defined is that the woman concerned, not The State, may make the decision. A woman who is coerced by an abusive boyfriend, incestuous relative, or a rapist, is not exercising a free choice. She is entitled to protection from the police powers of The State. That is what they are for. Once she has that protection, what to do next is her choice.

Rebecca in CA said...

I know this isn't the main point of the post--but Siarlys, you mentioned that a woman should be entitled to make the decision. Are you including twelve-year-olds in this? What other decisions do you think twelve-year-olds should be able to make? I'm not asking this in a rhetorical manner but I'm really curious about what people who think a twelve-year-old should bear the responsibility of choosing whether or not to have an abortion, think about the other range of responsibilities and choices for that young of a person. I'm just thinking right now of my ten-year-old daughter, who is definitely a child and for whom I definitely make major life decisions and plan on doing so for some time to come.

L. said...

I watched the video, agree it was horrible, but then wondered why this Woodruff person is assuring them that things will be hidden from PP — if she is the evil face of PP, why would she conceal things from her employer?

It sounds as if there’s more to the story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/02/group-hoax-uncovered-planned-parenthood/

The article linked above says the FBI is on this, and hopefully will get to the bottom of everything.

And I have a 14-year-old daughter -- I live in a country with no parental notification laws, but I like to think that if she's pregnant, she would tell me.

But if it were a crime of negligence to perform an abortion on a minor child without a mandatory social services investigation to confirm that the child is not being victimized, should there not be a mandatory investigation every time a minor seeks contraception, to make sure the child is not being victimized? Where does one draw the line?

Siarlys Jenkins said...

In general Rebecca, a twelve year old is a minor, and may not legally give consent to sexual contact.

On the other hand, since you mention the age of 12, I am reminded of a sad story about a young man of 19 and a young lady of 12 who were sexually intimate, loved each other, wanted to marry, but because of recent overhaul of criminal legislation, he was sentenced to forty years in prison -- and died there after less than two years, when he refused to be raped by older male inmates.

I don't take that as a mandate for child molestation, but as a case in point that the blunt instrument of the law has to be applied with some flexibility and sensitivity, not with ruthless indifference, nor applying to all, standards devised in shocked revulsion at some very real horrors, which are not present in every instance.

There was a time, in our own country, when marriage at 15 was quite acceptable. Balancing that, I have met women who literally cried when they got a college scholarship, because without it they would have had to marry some high school classmate (at 18) and that wasn't what they wanted for their life.

There are some cases that are easy to be outraged about, rightfully outraged, but setting universal standards, and universally enforcing them, can easily lead us astray.

Geoff G. said...

I won't comment on this video in particular, which, if true, certainly reflects badly on Planned Parenthood (though frankly, I don't see how that organization could appear any worse than it does given that it provides abortion services).

But I will say that any video that involves Andrew Breitbart and the word "pimp" isn't terribly likely to be credible.

Rebecca in CA said...

"I don't take that as a mandate for child molestation, but as a case in point that the blunt instrument of the law has to be applied with some flexibility and sensitivity, not with ruthless indifference, nor applying to all, standards devised in shocked revulsion at some very real horrors, which are not present in every instance."

Fair enough, and I agree.

L., it seems like the pro-aborts always come down to something like that--well if we did that, then we'd have to do this, and that would just be absurd! Slippery slope! So in order to protect "freedom" we leave the children to the molesters. Like handing the maidens over to the dragon--but not to save any lives, but to save that utterly sacred "right" to do whatever the hell we want to do with our sexual functions and the fruits of them.

L. said...

Rebecca, it's true that I am a staunch believe in the right of consenting adults to "do whatever the hell" they want to do, but even a pervert like me recognizes that there are more issues involved when it comes to sexual relations involving those who aren't yet legal adults. "Where does one draw the line?" is a legitimate question, and simply asking it isn't quite the same as wanting to "leave the children to the molesters."

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Here are a couple of policies that might do more good than harm:

Any woman under the age of 21 who comes into an clinic alone, seeking an abortion, must be asked if this is her own decision, and offered safe haven at a battered women's shelter. This safe haven will be offered without any conditions as to whether she does, or does not, proceed with an abortion.

Any woman who comes in with a man will be taken into a separate room, while the man waits in the lobby, asked the same question, and made the same offer. If she affirms it is her choice, and declines the shelter, she should be scheduled for an appointment no less than 48 hours later. If accompanied to the second appointment, she will be made the same offer before proceeding.

Hi, Geoff, always good to hear you breaking stereotypes, even if I disagree with you on abortion AND on equal protection of the laws mandating the right to redefine marriage. You have a point that if one believes abortion to be murder, then the fact that its being offered to under-age prostitutes is a rather minor addition. This should be of more concern to the pro-choice than to the pro-life.