Planned Parenthood faces criminal charges: A pattern?

Commentary by Andrew Flusche

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri currently faces 107 criminal charges stemming from 29 alleged unlawful late-term abortions. Even though a Johnson County district judge found probable cause that Planned Parenthood committed these crimes, the organization claims the charges are simply political. But is a pattern of illegal activity starting to emerge? Are we starting to connect the dots?

The scope

Planned Parenthood is enormous. Even though it portrays itself as a grassroots organization, Planned Parenthood encompasses so much more.

During its 2005-2006 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood reported a total income of $902.8 million. To provide perspective, this is more than the combined revenues during the same period for the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association. In Planned Parenthood’s almost-billion-dollar budget, $305.3 million came from you, the taxpayers.

This money does not sit in a stale corporate office. It is obtained and used by 117 affiliates across the country. Planned Parenthood operates facilities in 859 locations that serve as local focal points to spread its philosophies throughout your communities.

With this much money, personnel and locations, Planned Parenthood is a major force in the effort to sexualize America. Is it a leap to suggest that Planned Parenthood might have broken a few laws along the way?

Statutory rape reporting

Numerous cases suggest that Planned Parenthood does not properly report statutory rape. Under state laws, workers at Planned Parenthood clinics are mandatory reporters. It must report child abuse to the authorities. In every state, a child under 14 years of age cannot consent to sexual activity. If Planned Parenthood knows that a young child is sexually active with an older partner, it must report this activity. However, it doesn’t always do so.

Planned Parenthood Golden Gate even bragged about one egregious case on its web site. It displayed a letter from a girl praising the clinic for keeping her rape secret. But the girl was 11 years old at the time of her rape by her 17-year-old boyfriend. After American Life League uncovered this story, Planned Parenthood promptly removed the letter, but did not even claim to have reported the rape to authorities.

Another alarming report came out of Waco, Texas. Planned Parenthood of Waco claims that it reports 98 statutory rape cases per year. However, Waco researchers dug into all official records and only found 7.3 reports per year. Planned Parenthood never explained the absence of each year’s 91 missing reports. Why isn’t it held accountable?

With all these incidents of failed reporting, civil cases are cropping up. One terrible example comes from Denise Fairbanks in Ohio. This suit alleges that Planned Parenthood failed to report a father’s abuse of his daughter since she was 13 years old. Instead, Planned Parenthood performed an abortion on Denise and sent her home, allowing the abuse to continue for over a year. Finally, the father was convicted of sexual assault. Unfortunately, the deception does not end here.

Death cover-ups

Planned Parenthood provides invasive surgical procedures to its patients. Contrary to Planned Parenthood’s claims, abortions entail serious risks. Instead of promptly notifying health authorities when patients are injured, Planned Parenthood appears to cover up these incidents.

In 2002, Diana Lopez bled to death after her cervix was punctured during an abortion at the Los Angeles Planned Parenthood. The California Department of Health Services cited Planned Parenthood for seven separate violations of health regulations, including failing to notify the health department of Ms. Lopez’s death within 24 hours. The other citations centered on failing to properly prepare for the procedure, advise the patient of risks and keep sufficient records about Ms. Lopez.

While Planned Parenthood would claim this was an isolated incident, the facts say otherwise. Earlier this year, 21-year-old Edrica Goode died from toxic shock after beginning an abortion procedure through Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties. The California Department of Health Services again filed a deficiency ruling against Planned Parenthood for failing to report Ms. Goode’s death within 24 hours. After repeating this same violation, it begins to look like Planned Parenthood does not respect medical regulations.

Kansas criminal charges

With this short background on Planned Parenthood, the pending criminal charges in Kansas do not seem outlandish. By looking deeper into the charges, their substance and weight becomes even more apparent.

Planned Parenthood was required to turn over 29 patient files for a government investigation. The files were completely sanitized of patient identification, so no breach of patient privacy existed. During the investigation, the Johnson County district attorney determined that all 29 files revealed an unlawful late-term abortion.

Abortion is legal in Kansas after a doctor certifies the baby is not viable. In order to perform a late-term (post-viability) abortion, Kansas law requires that two doctors certify the abortion is necessary for the mother’s mental or physical health. The charges allege that Planned Parenthood did not appropriately follow these laws and keep accurate documentation about the doctors’ findings.

Is it a leap to think the Kansas charges are accurate? After several other instances of failing to follow laws and regulations, Planned Parenthood’s reputation is stained. It claims to have medical standards in place at its clinics, but Planned Parenthood refuses to reveal any information to you. The American people should insist that Planned Parenthood precisely follow all laws and regulations.

Instead of letting Planned Parenthood sweep the Kansas criminal charges away, it should come to court and defend itself. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri is innocent until proven guilty, but the Johnson County district attorney should have the chance to prove his case. District attorneys around the country should be encouraged by this example and begin their own investigations to hold Planned Parenthood accountable.

Andrew Flusche is the staff attorney at American Life League. He graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law and he is licensed to practice law by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Release issued: 24 Oct 07