Planned Parenthood Settles Case Alleging Informed Consent Violation

Attorneys for a Cincinnati-area girl and for Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio Region announced April 27 that her family’s lawsuit against the abortion clinic has been “resolved and dismissed,” according to the Associated Press (AP). In 1994, when she was 14, the unidentified girl’s unborn baby died by abortion after her 21-year-old soccer coach, who was the baby’s father, claimed to be her father and gave consent by phone.

The girl’s family sued Planned Parenthood for violating Ohio’s abortion laws “by not informing the girl of risks and alternatives, failing to get parental consent and not reporting suspected child abuse,” the AP reported.

The family originally sought to view Planned Parenthood’s records about other minors who had abortions at the Ohio facility, trying to show that the abortion clinic had a pattern of violating laws on parental consent and child abuse. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in July 2009 that Planned Parenthood did not have to provide these records, and that a child abuse protection law that was passed in December 2008 could not be applied retroactively for the girl’s earlier abortion, according to the AP.

However, the girl’s family gained a court victory when the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas ruled in December 2010 that the Planned Parenthood clinic should have followed an informed consent law that had been passed in 1998. The court agreed with the family’s contention that abortion clinic personnel “breached their duty … to have a physician, at least twenty-four hours prior to Plaintiff Jane Roe’s abortion, meet with Plaintiff Jane Roe in a private setting to be certain that Plaintiff Jane Roe understood the information necessary for her to make an informed decision about whether to have an abortion.”

In light of this decision, and after a psychologist “found that the abortion had caused her to suffer significant psychological harm, including post-traumatic stress disorder,” Planned Parenthood agreed to avoid a trial and settled the lawsuit, according to an Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) news release.

“The health and safety of young girls is far more important than Planned Parenthood’s desire to make money on an abortion,” said ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden, who represented the family. Aden could not release specific details of the settlement because of a confidentiality order.

The soccer coach who impregnated the young girl has already completed a three-year prison term for sexual battery.

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