Planned Parenthood facilities in Arizona and Colorado are under fire for allegedly looking the other way at suspected cases of child abuse.
In Denver, Colo, a mother is suing Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains for failing to inquire how a 13-year-old girl became pregnant when she appeared at the clinic with her stepfather who was later convicted of raping the girl.
Meanwhile, Arizona officials are investigating an allegation that a counselor at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Tempe failed to contact law enforcement when a 15-year-old girl—an alleged rape victim—sought out an abortion earlier this year.
Planned Parenthood officials told local media outlets that the episodes were the result of individual employees using bad judgment. But pro-life activists say those incidents are the latest examples of Planned Parenthood’s long-running malfeasance.
"This is happening everywhere, and that is because Planned Parenthood employees are trained to get as many abortions as they can. They don’t think about the good of the child coming in the door. They’re thinking about money going out the door if they do the right thing," said Rosalinda Lozano, the director at Colorado Right to Life.
Lozano told Aleteia that a Colorado Planned Parenthood employee earlier this year released pictures, which were later posted online, showing that the abortion industry leader awards satellite clinics for exceeding abortion visit quotas.
"The abortion industry gives incentives for people who provide the most abortions. The proof is in the pudding," Lozano said.
For several years now, pro-life organizations such as the American Life League and Live Action have conducted undercover investigations and released lengthy reports to make the case that Planned Parenthood is motivated by profits generated from abortion services. That profit motivation, pro-life activists say, often leads abortion facility employees to cover up suspected cases of child sexual abuse.
"To believe that Planned Parenthood routinely reports child sex abuse would be folly," said Rita Diller, the national director of American Life League’s Stop Planned Parenthood Project.
"Because its philosophy and materials are what it terms ‘sex-positive,’ and it routinely schools young children that anything is normal in the sexual realm and fails to provide modules warning children in its classroom sex education about child sexual predators, it stands to reason that the last thing Planned Parenthood is interested in is reporting child sex abuse," Diller told Aleteia.
Since 2007, Live Action has conducted undercover video investigations showing Planned Parenthood counselors at facilities in Arizona, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, California and other states covering up sexual abuse and disregarding mandatory suspected statutory rape reporting laws. Those clinics also appeared to provide instructions on how to circumvent parental consent laws.
In its latest investigation, Live Action said it found instances of Planned Parenthood counselors in Minnesota telling an undercover investigator, who posed as a 15-year-old girl, about how to engage in sadomasochistic sex practices. The counselor also recommended two specific sex shops where the investigator could get “sex toys” and “sex props.”
"The new video lays bare Planned Parenthood’s sexual ethos, even for kids: abusive, demeaning, and violent sexual behavior is ‘normal’ and ‘OK’ as long as the recipient believes that she’s consented to it," Live Action President Lila Rose said in prepared remarks.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian public interest law firm, has filed a complaint with the Arizona Department of Health Services asking the agency to investigate the Tempe Planned Parenthood facility that allegedly failed to report the rape of a young girl by 18-year-old Tyler Kost, who was later arrested and charged with sexually assaulting several other teenage girls.
"Planned Parenthood’s main concern should be the safety of young girls, not the size of its profit margin," ADF legal counsel Natalie Decker said in a prepared statement.
“Sadly, this is not an exception, and Planned Parenthood is abusing more than just taxpayer dollars," Decker added. "Their complicity in placing young girls at the mercy of adult male sexual predators can’t be ignored, nor should it be allowed to continue.”
Planned Parenthood of Arizona, according to published reports, issued a statement that it was discussing with law enforcement the allegations that a clinic employee decided not to contact police because it would be "a hassle." Planned Parenthood said the allegations constituted a "serious violation" of its policies.
"Patient health and safety is our top priority, and Planned Parenthood Arizona takes its role as a mandatory reporter of criminal activity very seriously, including screening for potential abuse, charting answers, and responding to indications of criminal behavior," the statement said.
Jason Walsh, executive director of Arizona Right to Life, told Aleteia that an underlying problem that "fuels the fire" against Planned Parenthood in Arizona is that it has long operated under a double standard in relationship to other medical facilities.
"Standard medical facilities don’t have to be notified prior to a health inspector coming in to their facilities," Walsh said. "Planned Parenthood, up until a bill finally passed the legislature, had to be notified ahead of time, and that in itself is suspicious. The real crux of the issue is that if Planned Parenthood is really an advocate for women’s health, then they would want to be under the same protective guidelines as everybody else."
Planned Parenthood’s real impetus, Walsh said, is to make money, and its profit operation can be disrupted if abortion facilities are calling the police whenever a young girl seeks an abortion under suspicious circumstances.
"When you’re bringing money into your business, you don’t want to create any negative consequences for your customers who are sitting in the waiting room, and that would be a police officer coming in to investigate," Walsh said. "When money is the issue, people do strange things. Here, they’re protecting their market share and trying to get as little negative press as possible."
If Planned Parenthood is trying to quash negative press, those efforts do not appear to be working. This year, a Denver mother filed her lawsuit against Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains alleging that its Denver facilities’ employees neglected to question the 13-year-old girl, who was pregnant, about sexual abuse in June 2012. The girl left the clinic with her stepfather, Timothy David Smith, who sexually abused the girl for about seven years, according to court documents.
The lawsuit says Smith continued to sexually abuse his stepdaughter for several weeks after the abortion until the child told her mother. Smith was subsequently arrested and charged with numerous felony counts. In late 2012, Smith pleaded guilty to charges related to the sexual abuse, according to the lawsuit.
Lozano, the director of Colorado Right to Life, said Planned Parenthood has been protected by lawmakers and law enforcement officials who are hesitant to hold the abortion industry leader accountable.
"I truly commend the mother of this child for standing up for her daughter and making sure that that man was brought to justice," Lozano said, "and for letting people understand that Planned Parenthood is not for women. Planned Parenthood is for their own bottom line."
Brian Fraga is a daily newspaper reporter who writes from Fall River, Massachusetts