Thursday, May 21, 2009

County Attorney Calls on Abortion Clinics to Report Sexual Abuse of Minors

Videotapes of Activities at Planned Parenthood Facilities at Issue

In response to recent events at local Planned Parenthood clinics, County Attorney Andrew Thomas is publicly calling on Planned Parenthood to report sexual abuse of minors to law enforcement and to train and instruct all staff members to do so. Thomas has taken this action after an adult, posing as a 15-year-old impregnated by a much-older adult, visited two Planned Parenthood clinics and was offered an abortion for a fee at both facilities. The encounters with Planned Parenthood were videotaped at two Phoenix Planned Parenthood Offices.

Under state law, A.R.S. § 13-3620, medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses, as well as people who are responsible for the care or treatment of a minor are required to report instances of sex crimes or abuse in which the victim is a minor. Thomas is recommending that new legislation be passed to make clear the statute applies to nonprofessional employees and workers at medical or abortion clinics, such as clerical and triage staff, not just licensed medical professionals.

Thomas stated, “Medical professionals are required to notify law enforcement when they learn a child has been the victim of sexual abuse. That obligation applies to those working at Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood should honor the letter as well as the spirit of the law by plainly instructing their employees to report alleged sexual abuse of minors to the proper authorities, and by making sure these instructions are followed.”

Just prior to the release of these videos to the local news media, Planned Parenthood contacted the Phoenix Police Department and inquired about whether they could receive training on these matters. The County Attorney’s Office has notified Phoenix Police that prosecutors from its Sex Crime Bureau would be available and willing to fulfill this request in coordination with Phoenix Police. However, Planned Parenthood has not responded to follow-up calls from Phoenix Police regarding this request for training.

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