Abuse Cannot Be Tollerated
December 27, 2008
Times-Mail Editorial Board
Little doubt exists that Planned Parenthood of Indiana was at fault when counselors at its Bloomington and Indianapolis clinics failed to report suspected sexual abuse of a minor. Just as little doubt exists that the organization was a blatant target of the anti-abortion group Live Action.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the undercover videos that exposed the problem, something needs to be done to remedy the situation.
Planned Parenthood has enlisted an outside group to help retrain its workers on the legal requirement for reporting abuse. That would be a positive step for the organization to take, with or without the undercover evidence. We hope this situation forces the organization to continually provide that retraining, making sure the rules are always fresh in the minds of workers.
Indiana law requires anyone learning of sexual acts between an adult and a child under 14 to report them to police or child welfare authorities.
And although the girl in the video was an adult feigning to be 13 years old, it does not excuse Planned Parenthood’s lack of response when counselors spoke to the young patient claiming to be pregnant by an older man. Now, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office in Indianapolis said it would have a grand jury investigate whether any laws were broken at the Indianapolis clinic.
Both counselors accused of wrong-doing are no longer working for Planned Parenthood. Another positive step for the organization.
Child abuse, in any form, is abuse. It cannot be tolerated by anyone. Everyone has a responsibility to report it.
Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Kate Shepherd said the organization reported 123 cases of suspected child abuse to Indiana authorities in 2007.
But we agree with Sandy Runkle of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana when she told The Associated Press that organizations and individuals working with sexually active children have a higher responsibility to know the state’s reporting requirements and indicators of abuse and neglect, such as inappropriate bruising.
Everyone must adhere to these requirements.
Planned Parenthood has a responsibility to make sure all of its employees follow these rules.
And everyone has the responsibility to make sure abuse is not tolerated.