Skip to comments.On Target: Undercover abortion tapes (part 2)
Posted on 11/12/2002 9:45:48 PM PST by toenail
November 12, 2002
The pro-life organization that conducted the sting operation claims some North Texas clinics are ignoring laws that protect children. All clinics are required to report suspected sexual abuse, and they're required to tell a parent if a minor seeks an abortion. But are they? Dawn Tongish has more in this On Target investigation.
The parental notification law is intended to keep parents in the loop in what is a difficult decision: a minor seeking an abortion. But the North Texas sting operation, shared exclusively with WB33, reveals what may be attempts to cut parents out of that process, thereby defying the law.
The caller says she's a young girl, pregnant by an older man.
That scenario plays out often. In Texas, more than 4,000 underage girls had abortions in the year 2000. But before a minor can get the procedure, the law says a parent has to be notified.
We obtained 18 audiotapes of undercover calls made to family planning and abortion clinics in North Texas. The caller is an adult who says she's 13, pregnant, and can't tell her parents.
"Again and again, they encouraged her to lie, deceive her parents, to violate state law," said activist Mark Crutcher.
He founded the pro-life organization Life Dynamics in Denton. Crutcher says he has evidence of widespread disregard for the law.
Life Dynamics staged more than 800 calls to clinics across the country. Crutcher says in 91 percent of the calls they found violations of the law.
In this call to a clinic in Dallas, the employee, who knows she is required to report suspected child abuse, counsels the caller to hide her boyfriend's age.
On the tape, the girl says, "Okay, so nobody would find out about him?" The clinic worker replies, "We don't even want to know about him, because technically, we would have to report him to the cops." Girl: "Oh, okay." Clinic: "Just like I said, that's statutory rape.
Cruther says besides uncovering violations of the state's child welfare reporting laws, Life Dynamics also found evidence that the parental notification law is not being followed.
This call came to Trinity Valley Women's Clinic in Fort Worth, where the caller is first encouraged to tell a parent.
On the tape, the clinic worker says: "How about telling your mom, you would be surprised at how understanding they can be." The girl replies: "They never listen to me. They don't understand anything"
Then, listen to what's suggested.
Clinic: "Gosh, even if he was older, we have to see their driver's license and we can't prove they're not your mom or dad. They just have to swear on an affidavit here in our office that says that they are your parent. Caller: "Yeah, I see". Clinic: "I mean, you know, I'm not even suppose to be telling you this, but there's no way that I can know for a fact that who you bring in here is not your mom or dad."
The next day, the caller talks to the same employee.
Caller: "I was talking to my boyfriend and I told him what you said about getting someone to come in that was old enough to look like my Dad. Clinic: "Yes, yes, yes." Caller: "Well, he's got an uncle who is 50 who said he would do it." Clinic: "Well, as long as he doesn't tell me he's not your father, then we're all right."
Crutcher said, Here is an adult saying, Just go out and find someone who looks old enough to be your daddy, just make sure he doesn't say that to us. It's outrageous."
This call came into Westside Clinic in Fort Worth, where an employee suggests sending a letter that may or may not reach a parent.
Clinic: "Basically what it is, is you're going to give me your name and you're going to have to send a certified letter to a parent and if the letter comes back to us, it doesn't matter---even if it comes back, it's returned, it doesn't get to your parents."
The worker continued, "and after 48 hours if we don't hear anything from anybody, or we get the letter back, we can schedule you for an appointment even though you are underage."
Caller: "Okay, but you're sure my parents wouldn't find out that way? Clinic: "Well, like I said, we have to at least attempt to reach a parent."
"They are circumventing the process, said state lawmaker Phil King. They are getting around the law and again, what you just heard was a crime."
King, who helped write the parental notification law, listened to the tapes and was stunned by the boldness.
"If they were worried about getting caught they would say, Come in, in person, and meet me, they aren't doing that, said King. They are doing it over the phone. That tells me they are doing it all the time. It's very offensive."
Even King's democrat counterpart Dale Tillery, who is pro-choice, thought the clinics went too far.
"This is a violation of the law, it's not a loophole, said Tillery. It's not legal to do this. It's illegal conduct."
The tapes have raised questions about what is really going on inside the clinics. Some lawmakers are calling for an investigation by the attorney general. So is Crutcher.
"If it's true, what you are looking at is the largest criminal conspiracy in American history, said Crutcher. If that doesn't justify a full-scale investigation by every state in this country, I don't know what would."
A formal inquiry could soon be on the way. The state Department of Health, which regulates abortion clinics, is considering an investigation. Also, outgoing Attorney General John Cornyn has contacted us, and he wants to hear the tapes.
Dawn Tongish, WB33 News @ Nine.
Click HERE for more information about abortion issues and the law in Texas.
Copyright © 2002, KDAF
Sounds like reason for a full-scale RICO investigation.