Ohio Teen Sues Planned Parenthood Over Child Abuse

By Nathan Burchfiel | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT


(CNSNews.com) - A teenager in Ohio has sued Planned Parenthood affiliates in Cincinnati, alleging that when she sought an abortion, its employees failed to report that she was a victim of incest.

The lawsuit comes at a time Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles is fighting back against a pro-life activist who posed as a pregnant 15-year-old and recorded a clinic employee suggesting that she lie about her age to avoid filing a statutory rape report.

The suit in Ohio alleges that when the girl sought an abortion in November 2004 -- she was 16 years old at the time -- she told Planned Parenthood staff that her father was the baby's father and that he had been raping her since 2000.

It alleges that the employees did not comply with Ohio law, which requires them to report suspicion of rape and incest to authorities. The suit charges that failure to report the rape led to another year and a half of abuse.

The girl, whom Cybercast News Service will not name because the crime was committed when she was a minor, is seeking $25,000 in damages "to compensate her for the severe harm she has suffered as a direct result of [Planned Parenthood's] breach of their duties owed her." She also asks the court to levy punitive damages against Planned Parenthood.

Becki Brenner, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, told Cybercast News Service Tuesday that she feels sorry for the girl who is suing her organization, calling her a victim of pro-life activists.

"I consider this woman a victim not only from her father and the abuse that occurred previously," Brenner said, "but I feel she's also being a victim from this court case and what's going on politically regarding this case."

Brenner declined to comment about pro-life activist Lila Rose's undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood clinics in California. As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Rose videotaped a Planned Parenthood employee encouraging her to lie about her age to obtain an abortion without reporting statutory rape.

"I can't comment on what happened in California," Brenner said. "All I can tell you is what our policies here are and that we follow the law."

"Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio follows the reporting laws as required in the state," she said, promising to "vigorously defend this lawsuit."

The lawsuit, filed May 9, includes as evidence an unrelated internal Planned Parenthood report on a case of suspected sexual abuse report from October 2004. In that report, a Planned Parenthood employee says she did not file a police report about the suspected abuse "after consultation with PPCR [Planned Parenthood Cincinnati Region] attorney ... due to physician-patient privelege (sic)."

"We are prohibited from reporting as no severe bodily injury was reported," the document said.

Dana Cody, executive director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, told Cybercast News Service that the lawsuit is evidence of a larger problem across the United States.

"I can't say with 100 percent certainty that I know this is going on nationwide," Cody said, "but ... when they kind of pop up all over the nation, you know that it's not coincidental. You know that there is some concerted, systematic ... something going on to make the same problem occur in different states."

Life Legal Defense Foundation, a non-profit pro-life legal center based on California, is helping fund the lawsuit against Planned Parenthood in Ohio.

Responding to Brenner's charge that the girl is being exploited by pro-life activists, Cody said "the pro-life movement didn't go to [the victim]."

"[The victim] went to a private attorney, and the pro-life movement did get involved because that's what we do, we try to protect the sanctity of human life, including women who are exploited by the abortion industry."

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