Common sense might call into question why an adult male is accompanying a 13-year-old girl who doesn’t share his last name to her appointment to have an abortion. But the plaintiff in a pending Colorado court case alleges that multiple employees at Denver’s Planned Parenthood of the Rockies failed to question and report this and other clear indicators of sexual abuse.
Thirteen-year old R.Z., as she is listed in the case against Planned Parenthood, suffered under her stepfather’s sexual abuse for seven years before he finally impregnated her in 2012. After he discovered her pregnancy, the complaint alleges, he forced her to schedule an abortion at Planned Parenthood, accompanied her to the clinic, filled out most of the paperwork for her, and claimed to be her father.
The employees who interacted with R.Z. and her stepfather at the facility heard R.Z. address her stepfather as “Tim
,” not “Dad,” according to an amended complaint and jury demand filed by R.Z. These clinic employees had access to information showing that she and her stepfather go by different
last name and that they knew that R.Z. was pregnant at only 13
— less than the legal age of consent in Colorado, the complaint says. They also allegedly witnessed her stepfather pressuring her
to consent to a form of birth control that she was not comfortable with. According to the court case, the employees had several opportunities to speak with R.Z. in private
to ask her about her relationship with her stepfather and any potential abuse.
Despite all of this, the complaint alleges, none of the clinic’s employees concerned themselves with ensuring R.Z.’s overall well-being. Instead, R.Z. claims, they concerned themselves only with ensuring that she received a no-questions-asked abortion procedure. They then put R.Z. on birth control, allowing her stepfather to continue his abuse for several more months, according to the complaint.
R.Z.’s stepfather pleaded guilty in late 2012 to two felony charges related to sexually abusing her. But thus far, the Planned Parenthood employees who allegedly aided him in covering up his sexual abuse have not been held accountable for failing to report indicators of the assaults.
Neither Planned Parenthood nor Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains responded to National Review Online’s request for comments on this case.
According to Planned Parenthood’s “Who We Are” page on its website, its clinics promote “a commonsense approach to women’s health and well-being.” But willful ignorance has seemingly replaced common sense as the go-to approach for their employees. Medical personnel, including the employees who interacted with R.Z. and her stepfather, have a duty under Colorado law to report all cases in which they have “reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect.” Instead of following through on this duty, the employees at Planned Parenthood turned their heads in the other direction and ignored several indicators of sexual abuse, the complaint alleges.
Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action, tells NRO in an interview that her organization has “been involved in publicizing other cases like R.Z.’s because it is so important for people to know how widespread a problem this is.”
“For every case we hear about, there are countless others that we aren’t hearing about,” she says.