by Steven Ertelt
April 15, 2005
Cincinnati, OH (LifeNews.com) — County officials are looking into an abortion on a young teenage girl who appears to be the victim of statutory rape. Her parents have filed a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood for violating the state’s parental notification law by not telling them of her abortion, which may have been coerced.
The parents of the 14 year old girl say her 21 year-old boyfriend pressured her into having the abortion and they claim he posed as her stepbrother at the Planned Parenthood abortion business and paid for it.
Now, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters has launched an investigation into why Planned Parenthood of the Southwest Ohio Region failed to contact police about the possible statutory rape.
Any sexual relations with a young teenager are considered rape under Ohio law if the perpetrator is 18 or older. Statutes in Ohio also require reporting any suspected cases of statutory rape to law enforcement.
Planned Parenthood lawyer Al Gerhardstein told the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper that there was no wrongdoing int he case. He called the investigation and the lawsuit a "smear tactic" by pro-life advocates to target the abortion business.
"I can tell you that Planned Parenthood is scrupulous about complying with the laws with respect to parental notice and reporting crimes," Gerhardstein said.
Planned Parenthood CEO Susan Momeyer also denied the accusation, telling the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper the charge "is an old charge that is without foundation."
But, Deters told the newspaper that the investigation was moving ahead and indicated he may subpoena records from Planned Parenthood to help his case.
"It’s a very, very troubling thing that a [young teen] can walk in and have an abortion," Deters said.
Meanwhile, the boyfriend has been prosecuted for the statutory rape after receiving a tip from a friend of the girl. He is now serving three years in prison for the crime, according to the Plain Dealer.
Deter said he has not found any records indicating the boyfriend accompanied the girl to the abortion facility. Still, he says the issue is whether Planned Parenthood should have reported the rape to authorities.
"Here’s the issue we’re looking at: Do you have a duty to report to law enforcement when you have a 13-year-old that is impregnated? Thirteen-year-olds can’t consent to sexual acts under Ohio law," Deters said.
Assistant Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier told the Enquirer newspaper, "We’re looking into the whole issue, including what steps did they (Planned Parenthood) take and was there failure to report a crime."
Thomas Condit, the attorney for the family, says the lawsuit was not filed to draw attention to the pro-life community.
"These people didn’t come to me as pro-lifers. They came to me as a family that was violated," Condit said.
According to the National Right to Life Committee, Ohio law requires abortion facilities to obtain the consent of at least one parents before performing an abortion on a minor. The law was upheld in a case involving another Cincinnati abortion business that sued to overturn it.
The Ohio Department of Health shows 274 abortions on girls under the age of 15 in 2003.