A social worker at a clinic connected with Providence Alaska Medical Center led a 15-year-old girl to seek an abortion, then arranged for her to obtain it in Seattle at government expense, all without her parents’ knowledge or approval, a lawsuit filed last month alleges. Her boyfriend, 17, went with her.
The parents only found out when they became frantic because their daughter didn’t come home one night in March 2003, according to the suit filed by Anchorage attorney Yale Metzger on behalf of the girl and her parents. An older daughter who knew about the abortion told them where she was, the suit says.
The suit names as defendants Sisters of Providence, doing business as Providence Health System Alaska and Providence Family Practice Center, as well as the social worker at the center.
The Daily News is not naming the plaintiffs because of the sensitive nature of the matter and the girl’s age. She is now 17.
The unusual court case provides a look at how a young teenager can get an abortion without her parents’ knowledge. It was filed March 3, just before the issue returned to public view. Alaska’s Legislature passed a law in 1997 requiring that girls under 17 get approval either from their parents or a judge, but it has never taken effect because of court challenges. On April 13, the Alaska Supreme Court heard the latest round of arguments over whether the law should stand.
The girl in the lawsuit regrets her decision to have an abortion, Metzger said. "Whether you agree or disagree with parental consent or parental notification, this isn’t the right way," he said. She and her parents are seeking unspecified damages for emotional distress.
Providence, as a Catholic institution, doesn’t perform abortions but will refer patients to where they can get one, said spokeswoman Karina Jennings.
A staff member may bring up the option of an abortion if a patient indicates the pregnancy is unwanted, she said. It’s a difficult area for workers whose role is to help the patient but who still must follow Catholic ethical and religious teachings, Jennings said.
"We believe we followed good sound medical practice in this case," Jennings said. She wouldn’t discuss specifics. [Source]
What a bunch of crap. The goal is to help patients, but unfortunately we still must still follow Catholic teaching so we have to wiggle around the fact that we are a Catholic hospital. Of course they didn’t explain how their help in this case caused the girl to regret the abortion she had.
Under their spiritual care services page they included the Catholic Mass but seem to have left off "Arranging travel to another state so that an abortion may be provided without informing the parents." Under spirituality they also offer ‘sound’ medical treatment like Music Thanatology. They offer to have harp player play at your beside as you die. I guess this is to help you transition to the dominant musical genre in Heaven since you always see Angels with harps. "A music vigil doesn’t require a doctor’s order." Well that is a good thing. Nothing worse than prescriptive harp playing.
Karen Gilley, RN