Abortion Center Director Admits Out-of-State Teens Go There to Avoid Parents

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 30, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortion Center Director Admits Out-of-State Teens Go There to Avoid Parents

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 30, 2006

Hagerstown, MD (LifeNews.com) — When the Senate approved a bill last week prohibiting taking a teenager to another state for an abortion without her parents’ knowledge or consent, abortion advocates claimed the practice rarely occurs. However, the director of a Maryland abortion business says it routinely gets calls from teens wanting to avoid parental involvement laws.

Teenagers in Pennsylvania’s York County are apparently heading to the Hagerstown Reproductive Health Services abortion business in neighboring Maryland.

They appear to be wanting to avoid a Pennsylvania state law that requires parental consent for a minor girl to have an abortion and requires all women to wait 24 hours to have an abortion after getting information on fetal development and abortion’s medical risks and alternatives.

The HRHS abortion facility sits just 8-10 miles away from the Pennsylvania-Maryland border and it regularly advertises in York County’s Yellow Pages.

"It’s clear to us that we receive calls from young women in Pennsylvania who already called a clinic in Pennsylvania, and they want to circumvent the state laws," the HRHS abortion center administrator told the York Daily Record.

Maryland has a parental notification requirement, but the abortion practitioner is allowed to waive it in most cases. And, unlike Pennsylvania, Maryland has no mandatory reporting of abortion figures, so no information is known on how many times Pennsylvania teens go to Maryland for an abortion.

Pennsylvania teens are also going to another abortion facility.

Sheryl Wolf, spokeswoman for Hillcrest Clinic, another Maryland abortion business, said 70 young women came there from Pennsylvania.

Other parts of the country are experiencing the same problems of teenagers going out of state for abortions.

Missouri teens frequently are taken to the Hope Clinic abortion facility in Granite City, Illinois, which neighbors St. Louis, Missouri. Though Missouri requires parental involvement before an abortion, Illinois does not.

Last year, Shawn Reagan told Missouri state lawmakers about her problems with the Illinois abortion center.

Reagan said she wept as she talked with staff at Hope Clinic who refused to let her talk to her 14 year-old daughter who was inside the facility preparing for an abortion. She was eventually arrested trying to find her daughter in the abortion facility.

The girl was reportedly taken to Hope Clinic by the mother of the man who allegedly impregnated the 14-year-old. The woman, posing as the girl’s grandmother, had the girl called off from school.

When the girl left the abortion facility after having an abortion, employees told her, "No one will ever know you were here, we’ll bury your records."

Meanwhile, the woman who had taken the girl for the abortion was slipped out the back door of the Meanwhile, the woman who had taken the girl for the abortion was slipped out the back door of the abortion facility.

Hope Clinic executive director Sally Burgess told the News-Leader newspaper that the abortion center does not require parents of Missouri teens to accompany them to the abortion facility to ensure it has their consent to perform the abortion.

According to the National Right to Life Committee, 22 states have parental consent laws in effect that require a parent to sign off on a teen’s abortion before it can be done. Another seven states have notification laws in place that require abortion facilities to notify a parent of a potential abortion beforehand.