Ohio Supreme Court Reverses Itself, Will Hear Case on Teen’s Secret Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 26, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Ohio Supreme Court Reverses Itself, Will Hear Case on Teen’s Secret Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 26
, 2008

Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — The Ohio Supreme Court has reversed itself and will hold a hearing on a case involving a secret abortion on a 14-year-old girl who was a victim of rape. A Cincinnati couple is upset their daughter had an abortion at a local Planned Parenthood facility without their knowledge or consent as required by state law.

The girl’s parents filed a lawsuit against the abortion facility for violating the state’s parental notification law by not telling them of her abortion, which may have been coerced.

The girl in the case provided an incorrect phone number to Planned Parenthood officials for notification. Instead of giving the abortion center her parents’ phone, she gave the number for her 21-year-old boyfriend.

Planned Parenthood appealed a judge’s decision requiring it to turn over to the family’s attorney the abortion records of all women under the age of 18 to determine if there have been other cases and to show how the abortion business handles them.

In August, the 1st District Court of Appeals determined that Planned Parenthood doesn’t have to give the couple’s attorney record of abortions done on other teenagers.

In January, the Ohio Supreme Court decided on a 4-3 vote not to hear the appeal. On Wednesday, it reversed itself and agreed to review the case.

“I am really ecstatic the Ohio Supreme Court will look at what we think are extremely important issues related to the issue of child abuse," Brian Hurley, the attorney representing the girl’s family, told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The parents filed a lawsuit that began the series of court actions and alleged Planned Parenthood violated state law, filed to get proper informed consent, and failed to report a suspected case of child abuse to authorities.

In the appeals court ruling, the judges ruled unanimously that the records can remain confidential because the attorney did not file a class action lawsuit on behalf of a group of parents saying Planned Parenthood is doing secret abortions.

It said the case is a civil one and not a criminal lawsuit and claimed there is no other evidence pointing to Planned Parenthood routinely doing abortions without following state law and telling the parents of a teen girl.

The court also mentioned privacy issues and Judge Mark Painter wrote, “Even with the records (blacked out), it is arguable that disclosure would result in a privacy invasion."

However, Hurley is only seeking statistical information, not the names or contact information of anyone having an abortion at the Planned Parenthood center.

Hurley previously spoke about the case and Planned Parenthood’s handling of the teen’s abortion, saying "Apparently they made no effort to confirm to whom they were speaking when they placed their call to notify the parents. They did the minimum they could under the existing law."

Hurley is also representing a teenager in a second case against Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region.

In that case, the teen accuses the abortion business of covering up her sexual victimization by her father.

Under Ohio law, doctors, nurses, teachers and other professionals are required to report alleged sexual abuse to authorities and the teen says that didn’t happen in her abortion case.

The unnamed girl filed the lawsuit in Warren County Common Pleas Court in May 2007 saying she told Planned Parenthood staff about the incest.

Abortion business officials told the Associated Press at the time the facility would have contacted authorities after learning of any possible sexual abuse.

"We would call and report as required by law," Becki Brenner, Planned Parenthood’s Southwest Region president and chief executive officer, said.

Under the lawsuit, the teenager says Planned Parenthood’s failure to report the incest to police resulted in another 18 months of sexual abuse at the hands of her father.

The girl eventually told someone else about the problems, leading to her father John Blanks Jr.’s prosecution and a five year prison sentence.

The lawsuit claims Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio uses a "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy when it comes to sexual abuse.

Hurley said he’s obtained a handwritten note from Planned Parenthood that mentions the phrase, "Don’t ask/don’t tell" and said the note was from a Planned Parenthood trainer, Julia Piercey.

"So, to me, their position is laughable," Hurley told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "It came from their own files, from their own trainer."