Skip to comments.Judge faults St. Paul clinic in abortion lawsuit
Posted on 10/13/2005 5:00:52 AM PDT by Caleb1411
St. Paul's Planned Parenthood violated the law when it performed an abortion on a 17-year-old girl without first telling her parents, a judge has ruled, leaving the clinic facing thousands of dollars in damages.
However, Planned Parenthood officials said Wednesday they don't believe the clinic broke the state's parental-notification law and will ask the judge to reconsider his ruling.
State law generally requires clinics to notify parents before performing abortions on minors, but the St. Paul clinic's staff didn't do so when it performed the procedure Dec. 26, 2002. Staff members considered the teenager legally "emancipated" from her parents and able to consent to the abortion because she had previously had a baby.
The parents, using pseudonyms for themselves and their daughter, sued in May for more than $50,000 in damages. They argued that the girl, then a high school senior, was still dependent on her parents for guidance and financial support.
Ramsey County District Judge David Higgs agreed with the parents. In an Oct. 6 order, Higgs found that Planned Parenthood was liable for failing to notify them in writing of the impending abortion. The judge set aside three days for a trial in April so a jury could decide damages if the parties can't reach a settlement.
"My clients feel the relationship between a minor and parents have been breached by this," said attorney John Angell, who represents the parents. "They have a right to be notified and respond accordingly. They were never notified."
Minnesota is one of 44 states with either a parental-consent or parental-notification law, according to Planned Parenthood. Under Minnesota's 1981 notification law, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, "unemanicipated" minors must notify both parents 48 hours before receiving an abortion or get a judge's permission.
The lawsuit did not challenge the heart of the notification law. The family's filing focused on how the law determines when minors are able to make their health decisions, without their parents' input.
At issue was the notification law's lack of a definition for "unemanicipated" minor. Planned Parenthood said it used a definition in a separate health care statute that states that any minor who has been married or has had a child is emancipated and "may give effective consent to personal medical, dental, and other health services, or to services for the minor's child, and the consent of no other person is required."
"Clearly our definition is that she was a legal adult," said Marta Coursey, Planned Parenthood's director of marketing communications. "We are really committed to making sure this young woman's rights are protected."
Coursey said Planned Parenthood would consider appealing to a higher court if the judge did not reverse his ruling.
The girl's parents argued that Minnesota's parental-notification law does not explicitly exempt minors who have previously given birth. They said they were involved in all aspects of her life, even though the 17-year-old had moved into her own apartment three months before the abortion.
The judge sided with the parents that lawmakers "went to great lengths to create a wholly separate statute, which carves out consent and parental-notification requirements for specific health services such as a minor's abortion procedure."
Angell declined to identify the young woman or her parents. State law allows plaintiffs to sue under pseudonyms, and the judge granted a confidentiality order in the case.
Leaders of Minnesota's oldest anti-abortion group Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life lobbied for the parental-notification law and said Wednesday that they continue to support its enforcement.
"They are good for parents and they are good for their minor daughters. Parents need and want to be involved in their daughter's medical-care and health care decisions," said Bill Poehler, a spokesman for the organization. "They work if the abortion clinics follow the rules and respect the law."
Minnesota doctors performed 13,788 abortions last year. Five percent of the women undergoing the procedure were younger than 18, according to a report published annually by the Minnesota Department of Health.
I wonder what the daughter has to say about it.
yet libs would make sure they'd get a store a big ol' fine if they sold her a cigarette . makes a helleva lot of sense.
They have no soul.
Or sold her a car. Or made her work 40 hours. Or allowed her to vote for a Republican.
But she can kill her child.
...or sign a contract,get a loan, or buy a gun....
She had to wait until she had her Christmas cash in hand.
So she is too young to get a death penalty, but her child is not????
St. Paul's Planned Parenthood - sad irony there
Pregnant twice by 17...wow, that's some guidance.
"anchor baby" concept taken into Bizarro World.
The city isn't very Pauline politically, either. I can't remember the last conservative state legislator from St. Paul.
Staff members considered the teenager legally "emancipated" from her parents and able to consent to the abortion because she had previously had a baby.
If her parents were so concerned, how did this happen twice?
STP has had a few conservative Mayors, such as Senator Coleman and Randy Kelly (He's a stealth conservative Demon-rat)
There's one here in Atlanta where they toil away on Christmas eve. They even have "holiday" decorations in the window.
after all, it not child, it a choice.(sarcasm)
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