Indiana Judge: Abortion-Sexual Abuse Investigation Can Continue

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 31, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Indiana Judge: Abortion-Sexual Abuse Investigation Can Continue Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 31, 2005

Indianapolis, IN ( — An Indiana judge has ruled that the state’s attorney general can move forward with an investigation on why teenagers who were victims of statutory rape possibly had abortions without the rapes being reported to authorities.

To further the investigation, Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter asked the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to help his office track down medical records of 84 girls who visited Planned Parenthood abortion businesses.

Planned Parenthood fought the records request in court and, Tuesday, Marion County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Johnson said the abortion business must comply.

The ruling allows Carter’s office to receive records of girls under the age of 14 who had abortions at Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood maintains none of the girls involved had abortions and the abortion advocacy group claimed Carter was on a "fishing expedition" with his investigation and said it will seek a delay in the enforcement of the ruling.

"We absolutely intend to uphold the privacy of our doctor-patient-relationships," Betty Cockrum, chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, told the Associated Press.

But Carter’s office told AP that its Medicaid fraud unit "is investigating whether or not children were neglected by virtue of a failure to report instances of child molestation to the proper authorities."

"Children are best served by disclosure," an attorney for Carter told Judge Johnson during a hearing.

Kenneth Falk, Planned Parenthood’s lawyer, said releasing the records for the abuse investigation would make children unwilling to seek services at Planned Parenthood.

"These are extraordinarily private records of extraordinarily sensitive persons," Falk said.

Since Carter started looking into the potential problems, Planned Parenthood has instructed former clients not to turn over their own copies of medical records related to their visits to the abortion business.

Though the lawsuit may prevent the release of Planned Parenthood’s records, Carter’s office has already obtain records of eight abortions at other state abortion facilities.

Indiana law stipulates that sexual relations with anyone under the age of 13 as child abuse, including cases where the partner is also a minor. State law requires anyone suspecting child abuse to report suspicions to authorities.

Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline is pursuing abortion records from two facilities in his state to prosecutor potential cases of statutory rape and illegal abortions. He is running into the same roadblocks from abortion advocates.

Kline told AP that the issues in Kansas and Indiana are similar.

"It is very common for prosecutors to seek medical records and to be concerned about predators preying on children," Kline said. "What is unusual is for doctors not to cooperate with child rape investigations."