Friday, February 6, 2009

AGAIN? Planned Parenthood investigates alleged failure to report 'abuse'

By Stephanie Innes
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 02.05.2009

Planned Parenthood of Arizona is investigating an accusation that one of its staff members did not alert authorities when a girl who said she was 15 reported a pregnancy resulting from sex with a man nearly twice her age.

The accusation comes from Lila Rose, 20, a junior at UCLA and editor of an anti-abortion magazine, who did an undercover, hidden-camera operation at Planned Parenthood's Margaret Sanger Center in Tucson. The girl in the video is not pregnant or a minor.

Planned Parenthood Arizona spokeswoman Jolinda Nestor said the video footage appears to be edited and is part of an "ongoing coordinated effort by a small but vocal minority that strongly opposes Planned Parenthood."

"At this time, we cannot verify the accuracy of the tapes," she said.

In the video, Rose's friend, 21-year-old Jackie Stollar, poses as a 15-year-old named Lizzie who says she was impregnated by her 27-year-old boyfriend, and Rose goes along as her friend. In Arizona, sexual conduct between an adult and a 15-year-old is a felony.

The Planned Parenthood nurse appears to disregard the boyfriend's age and advises Lizzie not to bring him to the judicial-bypass hearing that's required in Arizona to waive parental consent for abortion.

Planned Parenthood Arizona officials on Wednesday released a statement about Rose's video and stressed that an investigation is ongoing.

"Planned Parenthood Arizona provides high-quality health care and takes any allegation of this nature very seriously," said Rachel Chánes vice president of community services for Planned Parenthood Arizona.

"We are conducting an internal, fact-based review to ensure that all our high standards of care and legal obligations have been met. Planned Parenthood Arizona is committed to following all laws, and the health and safety of our patients is our top priority."

Arizona law says medical professionals must report suspected sexual abuse if there are "reasonable grounds" to believe the abuse occurred.

Rose said the video is part of a multistate investigation that she's undertaken to expose what she believes are cover-ups of sexual abuse by Planned Parenthood.
She denies the video footage, which can be viewed on YouTube, is intended as anti-abortion propaganda.

"Our goal is to expose sexual abuse cover-up for the public to see the truth about what is happening at Planned Parenthood and ultimately for state authorities to look at this evidence carefully and conduct their own investigations," she said.

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