Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A Planned Parenthood branch in Birmingham, Ala., has been put on probation by the state health department for breaking the state’s abortion consent law and refusing to notify authorities of suspected child abuse cases.
The violations were discovered after officials investigated a videotape in which an employee admitted the manager sometimes would “bend the rules.”
The action by the Alabama Department of Health was based on a 38-page report that found that the business’s own records revealed it provided an abortion to a 15-year-old although the “mother” giving consent did not have the same last name or address and provided an expired driver’s license as ID.
Records for other patients, mostly ages 13 and 14, also revealed the business failed to document properly the identification of those giving parental permission under the state law for the abortions.
In fact, in all nine cases examined by the state involving minor patients, Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, “failed to obtain parental consent … in a manner that complies with state legal requirements.”
Worse yet was the conclusion that “neither the registered nurse, the medical doctor, nor any other center staff reported the suspected abuse or neglect [of a 13 year-old child] to the authorities as required by law.”
The investigation was launched after a video was submitted to authorities by the student-led nonprofit Live Action. Its undercover video of the Birmingham abortion clinic revealed a staffer suggesting the law be ignored.
As WND reported, the recording revealed a counselor at Planned Parenthood, telling a volunteer, who describes herself as a 14-year-old statutory rape victim, the clinic “does sometimes bend the rules a little bit.”
Sex between an adult and a 14-year-old is a felony in Alabama. The pro-life organization said the Birmingham clinic was the seventh Planned Parenthood clinic implicated in a multi-state scandal over the suppression of statutory rape evidence.
Lila Rose, a UCLA student and Live Action’s president, went undercover at the Birmingham business and told a counselor she was 14, pregnant by her “31-year-old boyfriend,” and she couldn’t let her parents know.
Live Action’s recording of the incident can be seen below:
Rose asks, “Is it a problem about my boyfriend?”
The counselor, identified as “Tanishia,” concludes, “As long as you consented to having sex with him, there’s nothing we can truly do about that.”
“Tanishia” acknowledges the “boyfriend” could be in big trouble because of the ages and then tells Rose the clinic manager “sometimes does bend the rules a little bit.”
The counselor also confirms that whatever is said within the Planned Parenthood walls stays there.
However, Live Action said, Alabama Code 26-14-3 requires health professionals to disclose suspected cases of sexual abuse to state officials immediately.
“The law is explicit about a health-care provider’s duty to report, yet Planned Parenthood pretends they cannot say anything,” Rose noted of the investigation. “Planned Parenthood increases its business and influence by circumventing state reporting laws, but inflicts terrible harm upon the vulnerable young girls sent back to statutory rapists.”
The video was part of Live Action’s “Mona Lisa Project,” a nationwide undercover investigation that documented Planned Parenthood’s repeated noncompliance with state mandatory reporting laws for sexual abuse of minors.
Rick Harris, the director of health provider standards for the state regulatory agency, told the Birmingham News that the failure to notify about potential child abuse was a concern.
“If she was being abused, you give her a chance to be rescued from that situation,” he told the newspaper.
Planned Parenthood did not respond to a request from WND for comment.
“The Health Department report documents the same malpractice that we have found in state after state,” Rose said. “Sexually abused minors are being neglected by Planned Parenthood, which puts its own ‘abortion-first mentality’ before child protection.
“These are outrageous violations of state law and the Alabama Health Department should revoke the Birmingham Planned Parenthood clinic license. Alabama legislators must also ensure that no tax money is funding Planned Parenthood’s illicit activities,” she said.
WND previously reported Alabama Attorney General Troy King called the video’s content “extremely troubling.”
A spokesman with the Jefferson County sheriff’s office said, “Anyone who sees [the video] should be disturbed by it.”
The state report reveals that Planned Parenthood staffers refused to be interviewed or said they would be interviewed only with legal counsel present.
“It was determined that [Planned Parenthood] failed to develop and follow policies and procedures that are consistent with applicable state law related to parental consent for abortions performed on unemancipated minors,” the state report said. “The center failed to obtain the witnessed signature of the minor patient verifying that the signature of the parent or legal guardian was authentic in nine of nine sampled records that involved minors.”
When investigators were looking into the case, they found other roadblocks.
“During an interview with the center’s interim CEO … she was asked, ‘What is the official center policy on underage abortions done here?’ She responded, ‘I would need to have it in front of me before I speak to that.’ She was provided with the two documents …. She excused herself and returned saying, ‘I need to talk to my lawyer before I can continue,’” the report said.