Shows Counselors Skirting Statutory Rape Laws in Arizona
Planned Parenthood Tells Teens behind Clinic Doors
Randall K. O'Bannon, Ph.D.
time might be an aberration. The second might be explained as an
unfortunate coincidence. But now, with yet more Planned Parenthood
employees caught on tape ignoring what appears to be clear evidence
of statutory rape, a pattern appears to be developing.
written before about such cases in North Carolina and Indiana
(Today’s News & Views, 12/5/08, 12/15/08), but now comes word of
similar occurrences caught on tape at three different Planned
Parenthood clinics in Arizona. Lila Rose, a 20-year-old student from
UCLA, along with another young college student, Jackie Stollar,
visited Planned Parenthood clinics in Tucson and Phoenix last July,
with Stollar posing as a 15-year-old girl who had been impregnated
by her 27-year-old boyfriend.
Apparently, no one at the clinics reported what had been clearly
described as a statutory rape to authorities. According to Arizona
law, sex between an adult and a minor is a felony. Any health care
provider who has reason to suspect any such abuse is to report that
to law enforcement authorities or child protective services
tapes can be viewed at www.liveaction.org. Transcripts and
descriptions have been generated from the tapes.
Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Center in Tucson, Rose and
Stollar meet with a counselor, who tells the young women about the
two basic types of abortion, surgical and chemical, and tells them
the prices ($435 for the surgical, $425 for the chemical, before any
of the extras are added in). After asking about her last menstrual
cycle and dating the “pregnancy” at 10 weeks, she tells Stollar she
does not qualify for the chemical abortion. Then, you can hear on
the tape, she asks her age.
Counselor: Are you a minor? How old are you?
we are going to be needing a consentment [sic] from your parents. If
you don’t want your parents to know, I need to give you some papers
so you can go...
parents can’t know about it.
so, we can help you out. Let me get you some information, ok?
counselor leaves and another staffer comes to talk to the girl. The
girl repeats that she is looking to get an abortion and that she is
15 and doesn’t want to tell her parents. The staffer tells her she
can get around that with a judicial bypass and suggests that she
“dress up nicely” when appearing before the judge so she will “look
staffer explains the abortion procedure (telling the girl it will be
“a little bit uncomfortable,” but that “it doesn’t hurt”), they then
discuss the court procedure and whether or not the girl’s boyfriend
should accompany her.
Staffer: They say that it’s better to have him with you for support.
Friend: Cause he’s...
old? Like is he, um, um, not a minor?
wouldn’t take him with me, no. Don’t, I mean, don’t take him with
they going to ask me about him?
this. All this is in here, but you don’t have to say anything.
the staffer needs to hear no more than this. The law says that if
she has any reason to suspect a minor has been having sexual
relations with an adult, she is supposed to report it. Nothing on
the tapes indicates that this happened here or at the other Arizona
clinics visited by Rose and Stollar.
first Phoenix Planned Parenthood clinic they visit, the staffer
tells Stollar about the bypass as soon as she asks how old she has
to be to get an abortion. They tell her they have someone on staff
to facilitate that. “[Y]ou would have to call our counselor and
arrange it with her and what she will do is she will go with you to
court. From what I hear it’s a very, um, easy process.”
mentions that her boyfriend is “a lot older than me” and expresses
concern about whether the counselor or the judge will ask questions
about that. The staffer tells her she would probably confide in the
counselor about that, but assured her that the counselor is “really
good at, she wants to help anybody who comes to her.” Rose,
Stollar’s “friend,” asks,
So like if he came in and paid for it, like with her, that wouldn’t
be an issue?
Staffer: No, we don’t ask any questions... It’s only a big issue if
you’re under, um, if you’re 13 or under.
the law is triggered by the sexual activity of any adult with any
minor under the age of 18, and medical personnel are to report any
instances they hear of.
Stollar are sent to a second Planned Parenthood clinic in the area
where someone named “Misty” is supposed to help them obtain the
judicial bypass. Misty does not appear to be in when they visit, but
Rose and Stollar talk to another staffer.
really scared right now because she’s the only friend who knows
about it, and my boyfriend knows about it, but my parents don’t
[know] about it, and my boyfriend’s like “You need to get this taken
care of ’cause I’m gonna get in trouble, and ...”
Staffer: Is he older?
Mmm, yeah. Sorry.
Well, how older?
mean everything’s confidential here, you know what I mean?
counselor never raises the issue of illegality. But as the
discussion continues, she assures Stollar that she can tell Misty
about her older boyfriend, since “everything is confidential.”
the video tapes were made available to county authorities in Tucson
and Phoenix and to the Arizona state attorney general, but as of
yet, no charges have been filed.
claims that changes were made before the tapes became public, it
does appear that the exposure has made Planned Parenthood more
cautious. Cynde Cerf, director of communication and marketing for
Planned Parenthood Arizona (PPAZ), said that procedures are now in
place to make sure that clinicians are trained in how to talk with
patients (Arizona Republic, 3/25/09). And young women or girls who
appear to be victims of crime are told that Planned Parenthood has a
legal obligation to report any suspicions to authorities. Since
February 1 through March 20, Cerf says that PPAZ has reported 24
cases of suspected abuse.
what’s supposed to happen every time a minor shows up a Planned
Parenthood clinic claiming to be impregnated by an adult boyfriend.
It apparently hasn’t been the case at several Planned Parenthood
clinics across the country in the last few months. Does Planned
Parenthood have as little respect for the law as it does for life?