Wisconsin Woman May be Charged for Lying About Teen’s Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 17, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Wisconsin Woman May be Charged for Lying About Teen’s Abortion

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 17, 2003

Milwaukee, WI (LifeNews.com) — A Wisconsin woman may be charged for her role in signing her name on a parental consent form so her son’s 15 year-old girlfriend could obtain an abortion without her parents’ knowledge.

Court records show the girl’s mother found a letter that discussed the abortion after it had already happened. She went to police and asked that the woman be charged with perjury by falsely signing the form in their stead.

The boy’s mother says she thought she was the teenage girl’s last resort. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that the woman, a nurse’s assistant, was a mother at 16 and didn’t want her son’s girlfriend to have a similar fate. So she signed the consent form saying she was the teen girl’s aunt.

She claims she would have helped care for the baby but the teen didn’t want the baby and said her mother would be upset if she found out about the pregnancy.

Milwaukee County Circuit Court records show she paid the $450 cost for the abortion. She said she was worried her son would sell drugs to pay for the abortion.

Representatives of Wisconsin Right to Life say they think charges are warranted.

"This most unfortunate situation clearly highlights the need to close gaping loopholes that exist in Wisconsin’s current law that was meant to require parental consent prior to a minor’s abortion," said Susan Armacost, the group’s legislative director.

The problem in the law, Armacost says, is that consent for the abortion can be given by any adult family member, which can include grandparents, aunts and uncles and adult siblings.

Armacost said consent for an abortion should only be able to be given by a teenager’s parents.

That’s why her organization is backing legislation that would tighten the law and require that only parents or legal guardians can sign the consent form.

"Unfortunately, the state legislature added a number of gaping loopholes to what had been an extremely well-drafted measure," said Armacost.

"Since the enactment of the watered-down law in 1992, Wisconsin Right to Life has been working to pass legislation to remove these onerous loopholes so that Wisconsin finally has a real parental consent law. It is because of these loopholes that the mother of a minor girl’s boyfriend can claim she is someone she is not. And it is because of those loopholes that abortion clinics can continue to minimally comply with the law," Armacost explained.

Rep. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) and Sen. Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) are the main sponsors of AB 635/SB304, the bill to close the consent loophole.

The district attorney’s office asked a local judge to issue a subpoena requesting the consent form, and the request was granted earlier this month.

The consent form says that the woman was attesting "under penalty of perjury" to be the "lawful parent, legal guardian, foster parent, or adult family member over 25 years old" of the girl."

Lisa Boyce, a Planned Parenthood spokesman, said her group had never heard of charges being filed in the case of a falsified consent form. Her group opposed the original parental consent law and opposes the bill to close the loophole.

However, this isn’t the first time someone has attempted to get away with forging an abortion consent form.

Several years ago, a lawsuit was filed by a parent against an abortion practitioner in Green Bay who performed an abortion on her minor daughter without parental consent. A friend of the minor forged the parents signature on the consent form.

Parental involvement laws in other states have been credited with reducing the number of abortions by as much as one-third.

Related web sites:
Wisconsin Right to Life – https://www.wrtl.org