In a review of inspection reports posted recently by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Pro-Life Action League has uncovered some very disturbing findings concerning two Planned Parenthood facilities in Philadelphia.
On August 29, 2013 Department of Health inspectors conducted an annual registration survey [PDF] of Planned Parenthood’s Locust Street Health Center, during which they reviewed the facility’s policy related to external reporting to appropriate agencies as related to The Pennsylvania Crimes Code and the Child Protective Service Law.
The Planned Parenthood Locust Street Health Center’s policy, updated December 2012, stated:
Statutory sexual assault (“statutory rape”) is sexual intercourse when one person is under the age of 16 and the other is 4 or more years older. It is a crime, however it is NOT a mandated reportable incident. …
But under Pennsylvania law, statutory rape is a mandated reportable incident. Planned Parenthood’s policy was flat-out wrong.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health made very clear in its report:
Sexual intercourse with a child less than 13 years of age is always a crime without regard to the age or relationship of the offender, and without regard to the “consent” of the child. … Under Pennsylvania law, a child less than 13 years of age is incapable of consent to sexual intercourse. …
Sexual intercourse with a child less than 16 years of age is a crime if the offender is four or more years older than the child, and the child and offenders are not married to each other. … Under Pennsylvania law, an unmarried individual less than 16 years of age is incapable of consent to sexual intercourse with a person who is four or more years older. …
Professional contact with a child less than 13 years of age who is pregnant, or who has a sexually-transmitted disease or condition, therefore triggers a duty, on the part of those health care providers identified in 18 Pa.C.S. § 5106 (a), to report under the Crimes Code in all circumstances. Contact with a child less than 16 years of age who is pregnant, or who has a sexually-transmitted disease or condition, triggers a duty to report under the Crimes Code if the person who caused the pregnancy, or who caused the child to have a sexually-transmitted disease or condition, is four or more years older than the child and is not married to the child. Failure to report as required by the Crimes Code is a summary offense punishable by fine and/or imprisonment. [emphasis added]
The inspection goes on to note that amendments made to the Child Protective Services Law have “expanded the obligation to report suspected child abuse,” such that if health care workers, et al., have “reasonable cause to suspect” that a child under their care or supervision is the victim of abuse, they are required to report it.
But Pennsylvania Department of Health inspectors found that in six out of six medical records reviewed of girls under age 16, there was no documentation that Planned Parenthood employees sought to ascertain the age of the individual who had sexual intercourse with the child.
And, it goes without saying, Planned Parenthood employees did not report these incidents to child protection authorities.
Of these six girls, two were age 14, and four were age 13.
But it gets worse.
Two of the 13-year old girls were known to have had sex before the age of 13. One reported her first sexual intercourse at age 11. Another reported her first sexual intercourse at age 12. It was in their medical records. Even Planned Parenthood’s own policy acknowledged that sex with a child under age 13 is always, by definition, rape.
Under Pennsylvania law, a child under 13 cannot give consent. These incidents of child sexual abuse should have been reported by Planned Parenthood employees, but they were not.
Let the record also show that an inspection [PDF] of Planned Parenthood’s Far Northeast Health Center on September 19, 2013 also revealed that Planned Parenthood’s Northeast Health Center likewise “failed to develop a policy that met the reporting requirements for statutory sexual assault victims” as defined by Pennsylvania law.
What’s more, inspectors found two instances of possible child sexual abuse that went unreported by employees at Planned Parenthood’s Far Northeast Health Center. (Is there a pattern here?)
These Are Not Isolated Incidents
In each of the two inspection reports cited above, the plan of correction states that the facility’s revised protocol on reporting requirements for statutory sexual assault were to be have been in place by January 15, with all staff training to be completed by February 15.
Recall that PP’s Locust Street Health Center was surveyed on August 29, and PP’s Far Northeast Health Center was surveyed on September 19. Why, then, should it take so long for a policy to be changed?
Because Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania had the policy wrong at all of its centers. Individual Planned Parenthood facilities like the Locust Street and Far Northeast Health Centers don’t write their own policies. They come from above.
How far above? We don’t really know, since they are generally confidential, but OSHA considers the policies of Planned Parenthood to be the same all across the country. (See, for example, this excerpt from an OSHA inspection conducted at Planned Parenthood of Delaware in July 2013 in which inspectors refer to a “serious” citation by “the employer” at Planned Parenthood of Arizona.)
Planned Parenthood may change their policies. But will they change their practices?