Planned Parenthood Can Do Abortions Without Ever Informing Parents

State   |   Joseph Backholm   |   May 22, 2013   |   5:41PM   |   Olympia, WA

If we needed any more evidence that parental notification legislation is long overdue in Washington State, we just got it.

In a story making news this week, last August a twelve-year old girl Washington girl was raped and impregnated by a thirty-one year-old man who took her to a Washington State Planned Parenthood and forced her to have an abortion. According to reports, she told Planned Parenthood that the father was a fourteen-year old boy in an effort to protect the identity of her rapist; presumably at the recommendation of her rapist.

It wasn’t until six-weeks later that she told her parents what really happened, which led to an eventual guilty plea and prison sentence for the offender.

This is a tragic story, no doubt. However, the fact that her parents eventually became involved makes it a better ending than others.

In thirty-eight states, parental notification or consent is required before a minor has an abortion. That means that Washington is one of the few states in which it is legal for Planned Parenthood to perform an abortion on a child without involving any adults in her life.

But what if the facts were slightly different? What if she was being trafficked for sex and had already been separated from her support system? What if, as commonly happens, the pimp told the girl he will harm her or her entire family if she speaks. So she says nothing. And what if her pimp routinely took her to Planned Parenthood clinics for abortions where he knew they would perform the abortion without asking questions and return her back to his “care”.

In cases like these, which are actually quite common, the only adults who become aware of what’s going on-the rapist, the pimp, and the abortionist-are perfectly happy to keep it to themselves.

It is remarkable that Planned Parenthood is willing to turn a blind eye. It is not intuitive to simply give a 12-year old an abortion and send her on her merry way by ignoring red flags the size of football fields. That’s a human problem.

The legal problem is that the law allows it.

Despite the obvious opportunities to intervene in situations like these, our laws and abortion clinics are aiding and abetting the victimization of girls…in the name of women’s rights no less.

During the legislative session, Gov. Jay Inslee said he was opposed to a parental notification bill, saying it “goes backwards to ideological debates that we should be well beyond in the state of Washington.” I doubt this girl’s parents share his sentiments.

Our refusal to create reasonable safeguards to help victims of rape is even less excusable as we become more and more aware of the prevalence of human trafficking for sexual purposes in Washington State.

Paradoxically, just this week Gov. Inslee signed into a law a measure that will impose a $5,000 fine for those using online ads to help sell the sexual services of a minor. Last year, then-Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law a measure penalizing websites on which sex ads featuring minors appeared if they failed to make a reasonable effort to verify the minors’ age.



The latter suggests that those who are in a position to have knowledge about the sexual exploitation of a minor should be held responsible to make sure that they are not aiding and abetting it.

It seems beyond reasonable to apply that same standard to the abortion industry as well.

Or should we simply continue sending twelve-year old girls back to their rapists after their abortions? Note: Joseph Backholm is the Executive Director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, a pro-family, pro-life organization that opposes a bill in the Washington legislature that attacks pregnancy centers helping women.