LIFE DIGEST: Planned Parenthood violates ‘informed consent’ law

By Tom Strode
Dec 14, 2010

Another Planned Parenthood affiliate has been shown to be in violation of state law.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Jody Luebbers ruled Dec. 7 that Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio broke the state’s informed consent law when its doctor failed to meet with a 14-year-old girl at least 24 hours before performing an abortion on her. The decision came even before the case goes to trial Feb. 7.

Also in this edition: Abortion doctor in Smith’s death released early, Smith, Lipinski new co-chairs of Pro-life Caucus, and ‘Choose Life’ plates finally approved in New Jersey

“The health and safety of young girls is more important than Planned Parenthood’s desire to perform an abortion,” said Brian Hurley, an Alliance Defense Fund-affiliated lawyer who is representing the girl’s parents in the case. “Ohio law mandates that Planned Parenthood meet with someone seeking an abortion in advance to be certain that she has all the information she needs to make a decision. That didn’t happen.”

The parents – who, along with their daughter, remain unnamed at Luebbers’ order – filed suit on behalf of their daughter when they learned Planned Parenthood performed an abortion on her after she was brought to the clinic by her soccer coach, who was the father of the unborn child. John Haller, 22 at the time, served three years in prison for sexual battery.

The Planned Parenthood clinic failed to notify civil authorities, a requirement in cases of statutory rape. The girl not only was pregnant but had a sexually transmitted disease, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Her sexual relationship with Hall continued after the abortion.

The clinic also failed to inform the parents of the abortion or the sexual relationship, according to Alliance Defense Fund. The girl gave Planned Parenthood a number for a cell phone she said belonged to her parents, but it was for Haller’s phone. He okayed the abortion over the phone, according to the Enquirer.

This is the latest in a pattern uncovered at some Planned Parenthood clinics. Hidden-camera investigations since 2008 by Live Action, a pro-life organization led by college students, have caught Planned Parenthood employees in Alabama, Arizona, California, Indiana and Tennessee seeking to cover up alleged child sexual abuse, prompting some state investigations.

Affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America performed 324,008 abortions in 2008, the latest year for which statistics have been reported by the organization. That is an increase of nearly 19,000 abortions from the previous year for Planned Parenthood, which is the country’s leading abortion provider.

Pro-life advocates in Congress are expected to make a renewed effort in the next session of Congress to pass a bill that would withhold Title X funds from PPFA. Title X is the federal government’s family planning program.

Abortion doctor in Smith’s death released early

A Massachusetts abortion doctor convicted in the death of a 22-year-old patient was released from jail Dec. 8 after serving half of his sentence – to the regret of the young woman’s family.

Rapin Osathanondh served three months of a six-month sentence after he pled guilty in September to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Laura Smith. Osathanondh actually was sentenced to 30 months in prison by a Barnstable, Mass., court , but all but six months was suspended Under an agreement approved by the court, he must serve nine months of home confinement. He also may not practice or teach medicine, according to the Cape Cod Times.

Smith died in September 2007 during an abortion performed by Osathanondh at his Hyannis, Mass., clinic. She was 13 weeks pregnant. Smith’s death became noteworthy not only because it occurred while she was in the care of a doctor at an abortion clinic but because she was a member of a pro-life, evangelical Christian family.

Eileen Smith did not know her engaged daughter was pregnant when her husband, Tom, and she received news of the botched abortion. Laura was pro-life and was reared in a Christian home with their other three children, Eileen said. Laura had made a profession of faith in Christ and been baptized at the age of 12, her mother said.

A parole board declined Osathanondh’s parole request after three months, supposedly because he “did not demonstrate remorse by what happened until being prompted by the parole board,” said a spokesman in the district attorney’s office, according to the Times.

The judge “disregarded the parole board’s comments and decision and granted him freedom to go home,” Eileen Smith said in a written statement. “Where is my daughter’s freedom to go home, Judge?”

The state’s Board of Registration in Medicine suspended Osathanondh’s medical license in 2008, saying he had no way to monitor Smith’s vital signs when he sedated her, had no one assisting him who was trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and delayed calling 911, according to The Boston Globe.

In a civil trial held separately, Osathanondh, who is in his late 60s, was ordered to pay $2 million to Smith’s parents.

Smith, Lipinski new co-chairs of Pro-life Caucus

Smith, Lipinski new co-chairs of Pro-life Caucus

Reps. Chris Smith, R.-N.J., and Dan Lipinski, D.-Ill., have been named co-chairs of the Congressional Pro-life Caucus in the next Congress.

Smith, who will begin his 16th two-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives in January, is probably the leading pro-life advocate in Congress. Lipinski, set to begin his fourth term, affirmed his pro-life credentials when he refused to join other self-identified pro-life Democrats in supporting the health-care legislation that became law in March. That measure will subsidize abortions in insurance plans.

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a bill championed by Smith and Lipinski, is expected to be a leading pro-life initiative in the next session of Congress.

With Lipinski as the chief Democrat co-sponsor, Smith introduced the bill, H.R. 5939, in August. It would be, in essence, an expanded Hyde Amendment, barring all funding of abortion by the federal government. The Hyde Amendment prohibits funding of most abortions under the Department of Health and Human Services. The bill, which has 185 co-sponsors, also would provide conscience protections for pro-life, health-care workers.

‘Choose Life’ plates finally approved in New Jersey

“Choose Life” auto license plates are available for sale in New Jersey after a seven-year wait.

New Jersey’s Motor Vehicles Commission recently announced it would offer the pro-life plates in order to prevent the use of more state funds in a protracted court battle. The state rejected the Children First Foundation’s request for the specialty plates first made in 2003, saying it does not permit slogans, according to the Associated Press. The plates went on sale Dec. 3, AP reported.

New Jersey became the 26th state to offer “Choose Life” plates, according to the Children First Foundation (CFF). The $25 cost to obtain such a plate helps fund pregnancy care centers and maternity homes in the state. In the last 10 years, “Choose Life” plates have raised more than $13 million to provide pro-life support to pregnant women, CFF reported.

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission works to protect the sanctity of human life. If you would like to learn more about this issue, additional resources are available here. Our free, downloadable Impact resource is also available online. If your church is interested in purchasing materials on the sanctity of human life, please visit our online bookstore and erlc.com

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