The Trump administration recently proposed new rules for the Title X family-planning grant program, which could effectively strip Planned Parenthood of an annual $60 million in taxpayer funding.
While the proposed rules would prohibit federal funds from going to facilities that commit abortions or refer clients to abortion facilities, another part of the new rule that is getting little attention is the section requiring Title X recipients to comply with state laws for reporting suspected child sexual abuse and rape.
Since 1999, federal regulations have made clear that all Title X grantees should follow state mandatory-reporter laws, but the new proposal makes that long-running expectation into a requirement.
Why the change? What organization wouldn’t already follow state laws to protect innocent children from sexual predators?
There have been numerous cases over the years in which Planned Parenthood performed abortions on child victims of sexual abuse without alerting the authorities. In fact, a 2014 study on sex trafficking found that Planned Parenthood was the top most-visited clinical facility for trafficking victims, second only to hospital emergency rooms.
Despite Planned Parenthood’s abortionists and staff members being required to report abuse in most states, they have repeatedly declined to alert authorities, allowing the abuse to continue for months and even years.
Last week, Live Action released a new investigative report and the first part of a docuseries exposing Planned Parenthood’s decades-long practice of looking the other way. The report contains a series of court cases, state health-department reports, testimonies from former Planned Parenthood employees, interviews with sex-trafficking survivors published by Loyola University, and two of Live Action’s previous undercover investigations, showing a pattern of cover-ups at Planned Parenthood facilities.
The stories are harrowing.
“R.Z.” was first sexually abused when she was only six years old. When she turned 13, her stepfather’s years of raping her resulted in pregnancy. Her stepfather, Timothy David Smith, took her to Planned Parenthood for an abortion, where, according to a 2014 lawsuit against Planned Parenthood, the facility performed the abortion without notifying R.Z.’s parents and without reporting the suspected abuse as required by Colorado law.
Planned Parenthood sent R.Z. back home with Smith, where he continued to rape and abuse her for months.
Another tragic story is that of Denise Fairbanks. Denise had been sexually abused by her father from the time she was 13. When she became pregnant at age 16, he took her to Planned Parenthood and forced her to have an abortion.
Seeing a chance to escape the abuse, Denise told the staff that she was being raped. Instead of helping her, they ignored her pleas and refused to comply with Ohio’s mandatory-reporting law and notify law enforcement. After the abortion, Denise was sent back to the same abusive situation, where she remained for another year and a half.
Unfortunately, stories like R.Z.’s and Denise’s are repeated in Planned Parenthood facilities across the country, indicating that covering up abuse is a culture at the abortion chain. I’ve seen cases in California, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, Alabama, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere — and those are just ones that were eventually discovered and made public.
Former Planned Parenthood employee Catherine Adair has explained how these horrors are allowed to happen: “There’d be girls coming in with their abusers. Against all protocol, the abuser would be let into the counseling room. Even if I went to the manager and I said, ‘Look, there’s something going on here’ — she would say, ‘She’s better off with the abortion.’”
Several former employees, including managers, reference Planned Parenthood’s unwritten “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to pregnant teens. No questions asked, no report to law enforcement, and the victim is sent back to her abuser.
Because of flagrant violations such as these, the proposed tightening of Title X rules with regard to reporting abuse is absolutely necessary. Planned Parenthood has proven time and again that it can’t even be trusted to take care of the most vulnerable of girls.
Planned Parenthood’s culture of cover-ups must end, and the cycle of abuse of innocent children must end. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which administers Title X, must investigate how widespread these failures are and whether other violations have been covered up. Additionally, Planned Parenthood’s half a billion dollars in annual federal funding must end. Taxpayers cannot be forced to subsidize these abuses of children.
Planned Parenthood has already organized protests against the proposed Title X changes. This week, they plan on protesting at congressional offices across the country.
During those protests, Planned Parenthood and its supporters will continue to insist that it is focused on women’s health care. But a look at the organization’s failure to report the sexual abuse and rape of children paints an alarming picture of an abortion chain more concerned with selling abortions than with the health care of women and girls.