Pro-Life Groups Support Parents in OhioTeen’s Secret Abortion Court Case

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 20, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Groups Support Parents in Ohio Teen’s Secret Abortion Court Case

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 20
, 2008

Columbus, OH ( — A coalition of pro-life groups has filed a legal brief with the Ohio Supreme Court in support of the parents of a teenager who had a secret abortion without their knowledge, in violation of state law. The Ohio Supreme Court reversed itself in March and will hold a hearing on the case.

The incident involves a 14-year-old girl who was a victim of rape and had an abortion at a local Planned Parenthood facility without her parents’ 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 going ahead with the 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, a high school soccer coach.

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.

On Monday, the Alliance Defense Fund, on behalf of 27 pro-family organizations, filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Ohio Supreme Court.

They are joining the family’s attorney, Brian Hurley, in asking the state’s high court to reverse an appellate court decision. They say the records may show a systematic cover-up of statutory rape and other sexual abuse.

"The health and safety of young girls trumps Planned Parenthood’s desire for secrecy,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeff Shafer, told “Ohio law mandates that Planned Parenthood report the sexual abuse of minors, and evidence that may reveal the organization’s violation of that legal obligation may not be hidden.”

The parents and the pro-life groups also contend the abortion business should have reported the case to civil authorities as a potential one involving sexual abuse since the teen is likely a victim of statutory rape.

ADF-allied attorney David Langdon, who co-wrote the friend-of-the-court brief, also commented on the case.

“Planned Parenthood is not above the law,” he said. “Planned Parenthood is attempting to hide behind inapplicable physician-patient privilege in an apparent effort to protect itself.”

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. Then, in March, it reversed itself and agreed to review the case.