Mother arrested for attempting to intervene in her 14-year old's decision to have abortion
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
By Joyce Morrison, Southern IL News Correspondent
GRANITE CITY, IL- A Sothern Illinois woman was arrested last week (March 17) after trying to intervene on behalf of her 14-year old daughter's effort to have an abortion. The girl was allegedly taken to an abortion clinic by the mother of the man allegedly to have impregnated the 14-year old.
According to the girl's mother, her 14-year old daughter was called off from school in Madison County by a woman posing as the girl's “grandmother.” The woman took the girl from her home only minutes before the girl’s mother returned home from work.
It was later determined that the woman who had posed as the "grandmother" to the school authorities was the mother of the male who had fathered the unborn child the 14-year old girl was carrying. The age of the male has not been released.
When the parents were notified their pregnant daughter was not at school, they suspected she had been taken to the Hope Abortion Clinic in Granite City. The parents and grandfather were the only persons authorized to request school absence for the fourteen year old female.
“My husband and I rushed to the abortion clinic where we saw our daughter’s name on the roster and the time she had checked in,” the mother said. She then went into the clinic and searched a room filled with young women awaiting abortions but did not see her daughter.
She took a seat near the main desk and said, “I was told I could not prove my daughter was there so I began calling her name. A medical tech at the clinic told me , ‘It’s your daughter’s rights, it’s her body. You have no rights.’”
After continuing to call out her daughter’s name and telling her “don’t do it,” authorities were called and the mother was arrested.
The 14-year old told her mother she could hear her but when she asked employees to give her mother a message, they came back to the room and told her that her mother had left.
Angela Michaels, of Small Victories Ministry, was tipped off as to what was happending at the Hope clinic. According to Michaels, she witnessed police placing the mother’s hands behind her back, taking her into custody. As the police were putting the mother in the squad car, she was crying out, “Please, please, help me...my daughter is in there.”
Michaels said, “Exactly one hour later at 10:35 a.m., the 14-year old emerged from the clinic looking disheveled. The 14-year old told us that employees kept her in a quiet room until the procedure was performed and she was told that her mother had left.”
Employees assured this girl on her departure, “No-one will ever know you were here, we’ll bury your records.”
In the meantime, the woman who had taken the girl for the abortion was slipped out the back door of the clinic.
The police in the community in which the family lives allegedly told the girl's mom that they couldn't intervene despite her making a charge that her daughter had been raped (by statute) because the charge was stale--7 weeks after the incident. They did tell the girl's mom that, while she had no right to stop the abortion, she did have a right to go into the clinic and speak to her daughter.
The parents are expected to file charges.
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NEWS ANALYSIS: Granite City Abortion Case Involving 14-year old Raises Heavy Legal, Ethical Questions
At this point, there are conflicting stories about the material facts in the situation. As with the early stages of any story, some will be prove to be accurate, some incorrect. This article does not purport to be a fully investigated account of all the facts, but an analysis of implications of what has, thus far, been reported on the matter.
According to previous reports, the girl was taken out of her Madison County School by the purported father's mother at mid-day. That woman allegedly represented herself to school officials as the girl's mother. But the girl's real mother, upon calling the school and finding her daughter absent, went to Hope Clinic, suspecting her daughter might be there.
Though the clinic gave the mother no information concerning her daughter, she reportedly saw the daughter's name on the sign-in sheet and started calling for her. The girl, hearing her mother's voice, allegedly asked clinic staff to give a message to her mother, but staff allegedly told her her mother had already left.
Meantime, staff had called police, who forcibly removed the mother from the premises. An hour later, the young girl was seen leaving the premises in an apparently disheveled condition.
Belleville attorney Michael McGlynn, managing partner of the 107-year-old firm of McGlynn & McGlynn, is representing the family and has declined comment in respect for the family's privacy.
According to Kathy Salvi, a Lake County personal injury lawyer and pro-life activist, if the narrative is substantially accurate, it raises several troubling legal questions.
First, in Illinois, school districts legally act in loco parentis, that is, in place of the parent, during the school day. If the school released a child to a person who was not a guardian without prior consent, or without adequately checking the identification of the person purporting to be a parent, it could pose a liability problem. The problem would be more severe had complications developed. But the situation would be, at least, partially mitigated if the student represented the woman to be a parent.
Second, the question arises as to whether when police arrived on the premises, did they interview the minor to see if she wanted to see a parent? If police treated it simply as an incident of criminal trespass without first interviewing everyone involved, there could be deficiencies. An effort to reach Madison County State's Atty. William Mudge to determine if there are guidelines and protocols in such situations was unsuccessful. The office is closed for Good Friday.
But the heart of the matter may be the report that the girl asked for her mother before any procedure was performed. Salvi said that, "Just because Illinois does not have an (enforceable) parental notification law does not mean that parental consultation is not allowed when a minor requests it."
A Chicago-area Asst. State's Attorney reached by cell-phone, said he would have to double-check the statutes, but was almost certain that, "if a minor requests contact with a guardian, everything must stop until that guardian has been reached."
But Sally Burgess, director of the Hope Clinic, while declining to comment on the specific incident, said, "Our policy is we do not prevent anyone, whether a minor or a 32-year-old, from talking to anyone they wish. We do not do anything coercive. In the case of a minor asking for a parent, everything would be halted until the guardian is contacted. That is our general policy."
Another issue involves the father. Again, some efforts to determine statute law were unsuccessful due to the Good Friday holiday. But the Asst. State's Attorney I spoke to said in the case of a pregnant minor, there would be a reasonable suspicion of abuse by someone. Schools are mandated to report such suspected cases. The question is whether health clinics are also mandated to report.
ANALYSIS Years ago when I was doing radio in the Chicago area, a peculiar phenomenon developed. I often discussed the subject of abortion. There came a time when I started receiving off-air calls from women who had had abortions at some time in their lives and had never spoken of it with anyone. For a time, I got two or three such calls a week. I listened to their stories and gave what comfort I could. A few common threads stood out.
Many complained of coercion by a boyfriend. Scared and young, they were afraid to talk to their parents. Many said that the abortion clinics spoke in terms of a "blob of tissue" or a "clump of cells" and that the reality of the child did not hit home until after the abortion was over. Some spoke of seeing tiny body parts and shrinking in horror.
Almost all agonized over a sense of abandonment after it was over. The abortion counselors had no more to offer after the abortion was finished. Boyfriends abandoned them. They felt they would be a pariah if they ever spoke of the matter to family or church support groups. And almost all expressed a sense of betrayal that they had been young and what was going to happen had been misrepresented to them. There was a tremendous sense of guilt.
Certainly, legislators have good reasons to protect minors when there is a case of suspected home abuse. But home abuse is not the only form of exploitation of minors. If the allegations in this situation are correct, legislatures will certainly want to re-examine existing law to protect children from abuse from all quarters.
Interestingly, according to the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), Illinois already has a parental notification law on the books, but it is unenforceable because of a failure on the part of the Illinois Supreme Court to promulgate procedures for effective judicial bypass in the case of home abuse.
I could get no Illinois attorney to confirm that, but if true, legislation would not be needed to enact parental notification in Illinois. All that would be necessary is for the Illinois Supreme Court to enact the appropriate procedures for judicial bypass.
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