Newfoundland: Planned Parenthood Ignores Sexual Abuse, Refers 12-Year-Old for Abortion

Newfoundland: Planned Parenthood Ignores Sexual Abuse, Refers 12-Year-Old for Abortion

ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland,  (LifeSiteNews) — When a 12-year-old girl was brought by her stepfather to Planned Parenthood in St. John’s, Newfoundland, no one questioned her story that she was pregnant by consensual sex with a teenage boyfriend.

Instead, the doctor at the Planned Parenthood/NL Sexual Health Centre gave the girl advice on contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases, and referred her to Eastern Hospital for an abortion.

There, too, no one raised the alarm that a child was seeking an abortion.

Indeed, a nurse at the hospital “assumed a 12-year-old could provide consent unless there was a clear cognitive impairment.”

Two years later — and after another abortion in another province — the child told “authorities in another province that she had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by her stepfather over a period of 26 months.”

The stepfather “pled guilty to this and to other offences on other individuals, including sexual assault. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.”

All this is documented in a damning report released Wednesday by Jacqueline Lake Kavanagh, child and youth advocate for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Lake Kavanagh blasts the “system” for repeatedly failing to protect the child from her stepfather’s sexual predation.

The “inadequate screening and assessments” the girl received “potentially enabled the sexual abuse of the child to continue,” she wrote.

“Had appropriate measures been taken when this child presented to terminate her pregnancy, or when child protection concerns were reported, the abuse may potentially have been detected and stopped.”

Moreover, the girl’s age should have been an instant red flag, Lake Kavanagh pointed out.

“[A] child who presents at a community agency or Regional Health Authority to terminate a pregnancy should not be treated as an adult.”

Planned Parenthood staff didn’t question the stepfather’s claim he was the girl’s biological father, she wrote. The mother “resided out of province and was not involved.”

The report states the Planned Parenthood clinic physician:

could not recall asking about the child’s mother but understood the family unit had relocated. The child said she had consensual sex with her teenaged boyfriend. The boyfriend’s age was not questioned. Age is a significant consent issue and is critical in determining whether, legally, a sexual assault had occurred. The stepfather’s guardianship status was not verified.

The child was referred to Eastern Health to have the pregnancy terminated. Age-appropriate counselling services were not provided nor offered; no screening for potential sexual abuse or potential coercion occurred.

Similarly, when the 12-year-old arrived at Eastern Health hospital with her stepfather, “no screening for potential abuse occurred, nor was a referral made to counselling services either before or after the abortion was performed.”

 

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