A longtime veteran of the battle against abortion in the United States says the case of a Philadelphia teen who reportedly was coerced into a late-term abortion by a social services agency can be blamed on government's so-called "death panels."
The issue of "death panels" came up during debate over the Democrats' health-care reform law. Critics said the plan, signed into law in March, included government boards that would approve or refuse certain medical services for some patients.
"Obamacare" supporters denied that such panels existed or would exist, but Troy Newman, president of the pro-life Operation Rescue organization, said the Philadelphia case is evidence they already exist and are operating.
The Philadelphia Daily News apparently was the first to document the case in which social workers took a teen for an abortion even though the teen had been looking forward to having the little boy and even had picked out a name.
Further, the teen's mother had opposed the abortion, as had the foster mother with whom the teen was staying. The newspaper even reported that one social worker, Marisol Rivera, who said she didn't want to take the teen for an abortion, later was dismissed by the social services agency.
"This is what happens in China," Newman told WND. "Girls are taken from their homes, kicking and screaming, thrown in a van, taken to abortionists and they undergo a forced abortion."
He said it's also not rare in the U.S., citing cases he has witnessed in which girls and women under direct supervision of various governmental agencies, from detention centers to foster care settings, were delivered to abortionists.
"It's something we've been following for years. We've seen forced abortions in prison settings. We've seen these women in chains brought to abortionists. We've seen foster care parents, and the whole system, force teens into abortion," he said.
He said the new health-care law will create a long list of new government oversight boards.
"Once you have these government oversight boards, the Health and Human Services secretary, whomever he or she may be, with a radical pro-eugenicist mindset, all of a sudden the only money available is for abortion. There's no money for prenatal care. Then you have doctors who are not allowed to operate outside the government system," he said.
Much of the impact of "Obamacare" remains to be seen, because even members of Congress admitted they hadn't read the entire bill before the vote.
But Newman said the goal appears to be a "Big Brother utopia" with massive government controls over medical treatments.
And he said there is no question about what the priorities will be under the current HHS secretary, Kathleen Sebelius. She was governor of Kansas, where Operation Rescue has its headquarters, before Obama picked her for the national post. Newman long has documented her intimate ties to the abortion industry, from massive campaign donations she accepted from abortionists to parties she threw in the governor's mansion for abortion practitioners.
Likewise, abortion is rampant for those in the foster care system, Newman said.
"It's draconian. It is one of the most manipulative and oppressive systems," he said.
In many cases, he said, the case worker "makes up the law and enforces the law."
"For all intents and purposes they are above the law," he said. "They do not have the best interests of the children at heart. They have their agenda as the first and foremost issue."
The Daily News reported the pregnant teen was told by a social worker either to get an abortion or have her 1-year-old toddler removed from her care.
The newspaper said the social services agency obtained a court order for the abortion because the girl's birth mother refused to approve the plan. By the time social workers made all the arrangements, they had to take the girl out of state because she was 24 weeks pregnant. In Pennsylvania, abortions are illegal at that stage.
The social worker who had not wanted to accompany the teen to the abortion, Rivera, then told the newspaper she was fired after the March abortion because of her decision.
"They hired me to work in child protection, not to kill children," she told the newspaper.
Department of Human Services officials refused to talk about the case with the newspaper, citing privacy laws.
The social worker who stepped in to follow Rivera, Cynthia Brown, also wouldn't talk about the case.
"Are we living in a culture that no longer feels the sense of urgency and outrage at this in-your-face injustice?" asked Judie Brown, founder of American Life League.
"Scariest to me is the silence – not only from the pro-abortion movement – that's to be expected, but of Americans at large," she said. "When – and more importantly – why did we lose our grip on the concept of human rights? The most basic rights of this girl, of her preborn child, of her mother, of her caregivers have been brutally violated by the state; she's been emotionally coerced and why? Because the state has placed a value on her head and the head of her child. The state has decided they had better work to reduce the 'surplus population.' This is classic eugenicism, folks. This is the philosophy our country has bought into. Welcome to Obamacare."
Donald F. Schwarz, the city's deputy mayor for Health and Opportunity, confirmed 335 minors under DHS care between September 2006 and March of this year became pregnant. Of those cases, 119 resulted in abortions, 54 by judge's order, the report said.
Both state and federal law ban the use of public money for abortions, but Schwarz said while the agency does get that money, it wasn't used for abortions.
Arthur Caplan of the Center of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania said there are questions of ethics that should be answered.
"You can't or shouldn't be threatening to break up a family depending upon whether somebody gets an abortion or not," Caplan told the newspaper. "That is . . . unethical practice, it's not even common sense."
According to LifeNews, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council says he worries the Pennsylvania incident may become more commonplace under the government-run health care plan.
"What can we expect from the new federal health care plan? Well, if this story from Pennsylvania is any indication, a multi-state pro-abortion campaign," he said.
"She was smuggled to New Jersey for the appointment – alone. Because the young mom didn't have the proper paperwork, she had to return a second time for the abortion, this time with a state government worker, who ensured that the baby never came home," Perkins continued.
"As for conscience rights of those involved? Forget it. The girl's original social worker was fired for refusing to participate in the abortion," he said. "And while the state insists it didn't pay for the abortion (the city of Mayfair did), a state worker did accompany her and most likely paid for her transportation."
The American Family Association of Pennsylvania also is calling for a formal investigation of the circumstances.
Richard Wexler of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform told the Philadelphia newspaper, "If DHS's behavior is as described, it is shameful and inexcusable."
The foster mother reported the teen was excited about her son and had told her 1-year-old daughter she was going to have a brother. The teen's birth mother, who identified herself to the newspaper as Deborah M., said, "Someone who went to go get an ultrasound, [found] out it's a boy, they give the boy a name, that's somebody who wants to have that baby."
But the foster mother reported Brown had talked about the pregnancy with the teen in her presence. She said Brown told the teen DHS would separate her children if she had the second child.
"She said that if she decided to have the infant she wasn't going to let her have both babies," the foster mother told the newspaper.
The foster mother said the teen was taken without her knowledge for the abortion. She had called the social agency in a panic when the girl didn't return from school that day.
About 8:30 p.m., she arrived home.
According to the Daily News, the foster mother asked, "What happened?"
"The baby is dead," the teen answered.