Ohio Supreme Court: Planned Parenthood Keeps Records in Abortion-Abuse Case
by Steven Ertelt
July 1, 2009
Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday released a ruling saying that a Cincinnati Planned Parenthood abortion business doesn’t have to give up records an attorney is seeking in a case involving accusations that it ignored suspected sexual abuse against a teenager who sought an abortion.
Cincinnati attorney Charles Miller is requesting Planned Parenthood medical records to prove his contention that the abortion business engaged in a pattern of abuse by failing to report to state officials cases of statutory rape.
Instead, it did abortions on the girls, who were victims of sexual abuse.
The case was brought by Cincinnati-area parents whose minor daughter had an abortion at a Planned Parenthood facility without her parents’ knowledge after being sexually abused by her adult coach.
The parents allege that Planned Parenthood failed to comply with the statute requiring reports of known or suspected child abuse as well as Ohio’s parental consent statute.
In a split decision, the Supreme Court said Planned Parenthood could not be forced to turn over the confidential medical records of other minor girls who had abortions even though any identifying information would be redacted.
The court also ruled that the case could continue even though it denied the request for the records.
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 22-year-old boyfriend — her soccer coach John Haller.
Haller started having sexual relations with the teenager when she was 13 and he was eventually convicted in 2004 of sexual battery and spent three years in prison. He signed off on the abortion instead of the teen’s father.
The parents filed a lawsuit that began the series of court actions and alleged Planned Parenthood violated state law, failed to get proper informed consent, and failed to report a suspected case of child abuse to authorities.
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. Later, it reversed itself and agreed to review the case.
Brian Hurley, another attorney representing the girl’s family, told the Cincinnati Enquirer at the time that he was "really ecstatic the Ohio Supreme Court will look at what we think are extremely important issues related to the issue of child abuse."
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."
Related web sites:
Ohio Right to Life – https://www.ohiolife.org
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