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Helping Predators, Harming Teens

Abortion Businesses and the Cover-Up of Sex Crimes


Posted March 25, 2010


Recently, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Alabama was placed on probation for performing abortions on underage girls without parental consent, and failing to report suspected cases of statutory rape to authorities.


The violations were brought to the attention of authorities through the work of Live Action, a pro-life group that has released, at last count, 10 videos showing staff at abortion businesses counseling undercover operatives posing as minors on how to get abortions without parental consent.


In the Alabama video, a clinic staffer allegedly told undercover operative Lila Rose (posing as a pregnant 14-year-old with a 31-year-old "boyfriend") that she could get an abortion if she found someone with the same last name as her own and that the clinic director "does sometimes bend the rules a little bit" in cases like hers.


In a transcript of the Alabama video released by the state Health Department, the staffer is quoted as saying "it's a state law" that she can't have an abortion without her parents' consent, then continues, "[S]o you have to have some type of parent's consent. Do you have an older sister that's over the age of 18?" When Rose admits her "boyfriend" is 31, the staffer responds, "As long as you consented to having sex with him there's nothing we can truly do about it."


However, under Alabama law requires professionals and medical personnel to report cases of known or suspected sexual abuse or exploitation. The law also defines cases in which a child under 16 has sex with someone more than 2 years older as second-degree rape.


A report from the Health Department also found nine other cases in which the clinic failed to gain proper consent from a parent or legal guardian before performing abortion on a minor girl and made no effort to verify the identity of the person signing the consent forms. In one case, the consent forms were signed by a woman apparently unrelated to the girl, and in another, a 14-year-old underwent two abortions several months apart without parental consent. There is no evidence these cases were reported to authorities.


Most recently, Live Action released a video filmed at an abortion business in Milwaukee, WI in which Rose told a Planned Parenthood counselor that she was 14 and had a 31-year-old boyfriend who told her to "take care of it," saying he would be really upset if she didn't.


On the tape, the counselor responds, "Okay, but there's steps involved in taking care of it because you are underage." She goes on to suggest that a judicial bypass will help Rose get an abortion, saying that, "you have the right to an abortion, you just need the proper documentation." She also says that it is up to individuals to report the statutory rape to authorities. However, state law in Wisconsin says that sex between an adult and a child under 16 is a felony, and health professionals must report such cases to authorities.



Are Abortion Businesses Helping Predators?


The release of these tapes and other evidence suggests that abortion businesses, and in fact the easy availability of abortion itself, makes it easier for sexual predators to cover up their crimes.


There have been lawsuits and criminal cases in a number of states in which girls and teens were taken for abortions by older men, given abortions with no questions asked and then returned to the abusive situation.

For example, in 2002 a judge found a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Arizona negligent for failing to report a case in which a 13-year-old girl was impregnated and taken for an abortion by her 23-year-old foster brother. The abortion business did not notify authorities until the girl returned six months later for a second abortion. A lawsuit alleged that the girl was subjected to repeated abuse and a second abortion because Planned Parenthood failed to notify authorities when she had her first abortion. The girl's foster brother was later imprisoned for abusing her.1


And an undercover investigation by the pro-life group Life Dynamics in 2002 found that many abortion businesses were willing to help conceal sexual abuse. A Life Dynamics staff member called abortion businesses around the country, posing as a pregnant 13-year-old girl with a 22-year-old "boyfriend." According to transcripts of the calls published by Life Dynamics, staffers at many abortion clinics told the girl to conceal her age and details of the case or gave her tips about how to circumvent authorities in order to obtain an abortion so her parents would not have to know of the sexual relationship.



Abortion Likely to Harm, Not Help


Some would argue that a girl who becomes pregnant in an abusive relationship would be helped by abortion, whether her parents know the situation or not. But evidence suggests that, in addition to causing the death of their unborn children, abortion is likely to harm, not help, these girls.


One of the only surveys ever done of women who became pregnant through sexual assault found that:

  • Nearly 80 percent of the women who aborted a pregnancy conceived in sexual assault reported that abortion had been the wrong solution.

  • Most women who had abortions said that abortion only increased the trauma they were experiencing.

  • In many cases, the victim faced strong pressure or demands to abort and in some cases, especially those involving teenage girls, was even forced to have the abortion by others.

  • None of the women who gave birth to a child conceived in sexual assault expressed regret or wished they had aborted instead.2


Further, studies of women who had unintended first pregnancies found that women who aborted were more likely than those who carried to term to have subsequent depression,3 anxiety3 and substance abuse.4 Other research found that teens who abort an unintended pregnancy are more likely to experience negative mental health outcomes than are teens who carry the unintended pregnancy to term.5


The best available evidence, therefore, contradicts the claim that women who carry an unintended pregnancy to term will suffer as much or more than women who abort. Aborting women are more negatively affected. On the other hand, not a single study has shown that abortion is beneficial to women.


Finally, studies that examine risk factors for psychological problems after abortion have found that adolescents, women with a history of sexual assault or abuse, and those who have a second- or third-trimester abortion are all more likely to have difficulty coping after abortion. Teens are six times more likely to commit suicide after abortion than are adult women who abort, and more likely to have other emotional and physical complications.


As one woman, who was impregnated by her stepfather at the age of 12 and forced to have an abortion, wrote in the book Victims and Victors:

"Throughout the years I have been depressed, suicidal, furious, outraged, lonely, and have felt a sense of loss . . . The abortion which was to 'be in my best interest' just has not been. Problems are not ended by abortion, but only made worse.'




Learn More/Share More: Download and share the Hard Cases: New Facts, New Answers.




1. "Planned Parenthood Found Negligent in Reporting Molested Teen's Abortion," Pro-Life Infonet, attributed to Associated Press; Dec. 26, 2002.

2. Reardon, Makimaa & Sobie, Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2000) 19-22.

3. Reardon and Cougle, “Depression and Unintended Pregnancy in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth: A Cohort Study,” British Medical Journal 324:151-2, 2002.

4. J.R. Cougle, et. al., “Generalized Anxiety Following Unintended Pregnancies Resolved Through Childbirth and Abortion: A Cohort Study of the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth,” Journal of Anxiety Disorders 19:137-142 (2005).
5. D.C. Reardon, et. al., “Substance use associated with unintended pregnancy outcomes in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth,” American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 26(1):369-383, (2004).
6. PK Coleman, “Resolution of Unwanted Pregnancy During Adolescence Through Abortion Versus Childbirth: Individual and Family Predictors and Psychological Consequences,” Journal of Youth and Adolescence (2006).



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