A recent deficiency report from the Alabama Department of Public Health reveals that yet another abortion clinic in the state has been found failing to report sexual abuse. This is the third clinic (there are currently only five in the state) that has demonstrated no regard for young girls who are obvious victims of abuse or neglect.
Citizens are growing more and more concerned that Alabama abortion providers are willfully giving cover to sexual predators – and that the state is letting them.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF BIRMINGHAM (2009-2011)
The first evidence of covering up child abuse came in 2009 – revealed only after a national story broke from the investigative group Live Action. Planned Parenthood of Birmingham had been one of many clinics that the group investigated. When the news broke, ADPH responded with an on-site inspection.
The deficiency report that followed showed serious missteps in Planned Parenthood’s dealings with minors. Nine different medical records – all minors – revealed the clinic was failing miserably to report abuse or even obtain a signature from a guardian.
One record in particular revealed a 13-year-old girl who came in for two abortions within four months, each time reporting that she became sexually active at 12-years-old. She also reported having three partners in the last year. Planned Parenthood never inquired about possible abuse and never reported her case to officials.
When ADPH asked one employee why she didn’t report the case, she said the 13-year-old “never gave her any reason to think she was neglected.”
By 2010, Planned Parenthood was placed on a year-long probation – a slap on the wrist, since Alabama law actually states that it is a crime punishable by jail time for a health professional to “knowingly fail” to report abuse of a minor. Planned Parenthood failed to report at least nine. Possibly more if ADPH had reviewed more records.
However, with just the evidence on hand, ADPH certainly had the authority and duty to revoke this clinic’s license immediately, providing some degree of justice for these young girls left alone with possible abusers, and establishing a “no tolerance” policy for abortion providers protecting sexual predators. ADPH chose not to do any of that, and just a few years later Alabama could see the effects of that leniency.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF MOBILE (2014-2015)
After no serious repercussions for its Birmingham affiliate, Planned Parenthood of Mobile was soon found doing the exact same thing. An on-site inspection in November 2014 revealed this facility was failing to report child abuse.
Medical records confirmed that in April 2014, a 14-year-old girl presented at Planned Parenthood Mobile seeking abortion. She had two living children already. Obvious red flags for abuse, but nothing in the clinic records note any degree of suspicion, or even questioning about the age of the father. Instead, the abortion was performed.
Four months later, this young girl returned for a second abortion. Again, no notes about suspicion of abuse. No questions about the father and certainly no reporting. Mobile performed the second abortion and told no one – abandoning this girl to a possible abuser, just as Planned Parenthood of Birmingham had often done.
Again, ADPH had the authority and duty to shut this clinic down immediately and even revoke its license. But, instead, not only did the Department fail to discipline this clinic (it was not even put on probation); it also failed to make the report public for nearly a year. The deficiency report from November 2014 was not posted on a public forum until August 2015, well after the one-year statute of limitation for the crime of failing to report abuse – if anyone in the state had actually been willing to prosecute.
It’s also important to note that, had the public been aware of a second facility’s complete lack of regard for reporting abuse, citizens themselves may have called for the closure of this clinic; or, at least the revocation of the medical license for the doctor who performed the abortion. Again, ADPH – for whatever reason – chose actions that helped this clinic avoid any real consequences for breaking the law, and offered no justice at all for another young girl left alone with a possible abuser.
So, it comes as no surprise that the most recent deficiency report for the Montgomery abortion clinic reveals the exact same crime – establishing a clear pattern among Alabama abortion providers.
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES OF MONTGOMERY (2016-Present)
An on-site inspection conducted in January 2018 at Reproductive Health Services (RHS) in Montgomery reveals that in January 2016, a 13-year-old girl presented for an abortion. At the consultation, she told the clinic she was 15-years-old. At the actual abortion appointment, she brought a birth certificate that said otherwise. The girl was actually 13-years-old, and only accompanied by an older woman who spoke no English, who the girl claimed was her mother.
Again, Alabama law clearly states that the clinic should have immediately reported the girl to the Department of Human Resources (DHR). And, again, even if the law didn’t say that, common sense should dictate – as it should have in every instance before this one – that this situation indicated child abuse, if not human trafficking. But RHS did the abortion. And, just like the other clinics, never told anyone.
Fifteen months later, in April 2017, the girl returned, pregnant again and seeking an abortion. She was now 14-years-old. Again, a second pregnancy in so short a time should raise a ton of red flags. It was undoubtedly the legal obligation of this clinic to report the second pregnancy, just as it had been with the first. But there was no notation in the clinic records of even asking the father’s age, much less suspecting abuse.
Even though this child could obviously be the victim of now two rapes, RHS told no one, and performed the abortion. And it was not until January 2018, two years later, that ADPH stumbled across the records during their inspection. Only then, when clearly caught, did the clinic owner call DHR.
The question now is: What will the Alabama Department of Public Health do? This is a third opportunity to finally enforce the laws on the books, to finally ensure that victims of abuse are not hidden away and coerced into abortion. Will ADPH step up and protect its citizens? Or will it continue to simply wag their finger, then look the other way while the abortion industry does as it pleases.
It is also important to note that, at this particular clinic, there is no public record of a single inspection in 2017. Had ADPH conducted the January 2018 inspection one year earlier, it would have come three or four months before this young girl showed up for a second abortion. One annual inspection – which should have taken place anyway – might have discovered the first cover of abuse, and completely prevented the second.
ADPH exists to protect its citizens. If covering for sexual predators doesn’t get your licensed revoked, can ADPH please tell its citizens: What does?