BIRMINGHAM, AL -- A Planned Parenthood counselor in Birmingham was caught on hidden camera telling an alleged 14-year-old statutory rape victim that the clinic "does sometimes bend the rules a little bit" rather than report sexual abuse to state authorities. This is the seventh Planned Parenthood clinic implicated in a multi-state child abuse scandal involving the deliberate and unlawful suppression of evidence of statutory rape. (View video here: liveaction.org/alabama)
Lila Rose, 20-year-old UCLA student and president of the non-profit Live Action, went undercover at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Birmingham and told a counselor that she was 14-years-old, pregnant by her 31-year-old "boyfriend." Rose said she needed a secret abortion so her parents would not find out about her sexual relationship with the older man.
After telling the counselor that her "boyfriend" is 31, Rose asks, "Is it a problem about my boyfriend?" The counselor, identified as "Tanisha" in the video, responds, "As long as you consented to having sex with him, there's nothing we can truly do about that." Rose then says that her boyfriend "said he could get in big trouble," and Tanisha acknowledges that "he could, especially if your parents find out that he's 31." She then tells Rose that the clinic manager, OB/GYN Dr. Desiree Bates, "sometimes does bend the rules a little bit" and states that "whatever you tell us stays within these walls" and "we can't disclose any information to anybody."
Alabama code 26-14-3 requires health professionals to disclose suspected cases of sexual abuse to state officials immediately.
"The law is explicit about a healthcare provider's duty to report, yet Planned Parenthood pretends they cannot say anything," Rose notes of the investigation. "Planned Parenthood increases its business and influence by circumventing state reporting laws, but inflicts terrible harm upon the vulnerable young girls sent back to statutory rapists."
In the video, Tanisha also seems to tell Rose that a signature from an "older sister that's over the age of 18" or someone "with the same last name" could function as a substitute for parental consent so Planned Parenthood could perform an abortion on a minor. Alabama Code 26-21-3 specifies that the written permission of either a parent or legal guardian is necessary before a minor may obtain an abortion.
The new video is sixth in Live Action's "Mona Lisa Project," a nationwide undercover investigation that documents Planned Parenthood's repeated noncompliance with state mandatory reporting laws for sexual abuse of minors. Alabama is the fourth state to be implicated in the controversy, along with Arizona, Indiana, and Tennessee. Recently, the investigation of a clinic in Memphis, TN assisted state legislators in their effort to successfully divert nearly $1 million in taxpayer subsidies from Planned Parenthood to law-abiding local health clinics.
"When to 'bend the rules a little' means hiding a case of statutory rape from Child Protective Services and looking for ways around the parental consent requirement, Planned Parenthood becomes directly responsible for ensuring that statutory rapists can continue their abuse of young girls," Rose says.