A blogger who claims to be a 25-year-old female "family planning assistant" at an Oregon Planned Parenthood clinic writes about her conflicted feelings about giving a 12-year-old girl contraception — but implies that it's not her place to report such abuse.
Here are the facts: The blogger in question goes by the nom de plume "Hormone-Peddling Wench" (HPW). While it is possible that she is not what she claims to be, her writing about her alleged Planned Parenthood job contains sufficient detail to suggest that she has an insider's knowledge of the organization.
If what she writes is true, Oregon's statutory-rape reporting laws require HPW to report the 12-year-old girl's case to the authorities.* But did she? It sure doesn't look like it, judging by her blog entry.
HPW begins by describing how, at Planned Parenthood," to "hope" a patient is to give her contraception without a pelvic exam. (It's from the acronym HOPE —"hormones with optional pelvic exam" — as noted on this Planned Parenthood Web site.)
The blogger then writes (emphasis mine):
Yesterday, I Hoped a twelve-year-old girl. She was the last patient I saw, and I have been thinking about her since. She came with an adult friend, maybe an aunt or family friend, and I could not decide whether I thought she was lucky or unlucky. To my mind, she was far too young to be having sex, and it was difficult for me to tell exactly what the situation was with her partner. I do not ever ask the age of sexual partners, and she did not reveal the age of hers**, but I could not shake the feeling that hers was older, possibly very much so. I could not get it out of my head that she didn't exactly give consent, though I had no reason to believe she didn't. Maybe I was projecting. I try to fight it, but there is some part of me that does not believe that such young girls are able to give consent, particularly if their partners are much older and there is a great imbalance in experience between the two. This part of me undoubtedly borders on patronizing. I don't really know what this girl's situation was, nor do I know what her role in it was. It is presumptive in the highest to assume that she was somehow victimized. But I still feel like she was too young. Clearly, that's my issue, not hers.Read the whole thing.
If this girl was lucky, it was because she had someone she could trust to talk to about all this. She knew she didn't want to become pregnant, and she recognized the connection between sex and pregnancy. (This seems like it should be obvious, but you have no idea how many women come in for pregnancy tests saying they weren't using birth control and they aren't seeking pregnancy.) This girl was taking responsibility for her decisions, which is more than I can say for many women two or three times her age. Her decision to come to Planned Parenthood and begin birth control was not lucky; it was smart. What's lucky is that she has an adult to help her find (or order and pay for) her birth certificate so that she can continue to get her services paid for by the FPEP funding. What's lucky is that she has someone to talk to if the gray area of consent becomes less gray. What's lucky is that the responsible adult in her life thought it was more important to support her and address her health needs than to shame her.
This girl left with pills, which I actually think she'll do a decent job of taking. I gave her a huge bag of condoms, which I always wonder if anyone actually uses. She has a Plan B on hand to take if she needs it, and a prescription for more as needed. I hope she loses the boy. I can't help it. Some part of me really wants her to wait a few years. But dammit, I'm glad she came in. I'm glad she didn't wait until she was pregnant to think about birth control.
In her Blogger profile, HPW admits to being fond of eugenics:
Depo Provera freaks me out, but sometimes I am relieved when a particularly stupid or offensive woman chooses it as her birth control method. ... I know I am not ready to have children because my primary motivation for desiring them lies somewhere between pure narcissism and narcissism tinged with eugenic tendencies—my babies would be intelligent, attractive, healthy, strong-willed, talented, and well-adjusted, just the kind that the world needs.HPW's profile states she is female, 25, a Taurus born in the Year of the Dog. That means she was born between April 20 and May 20, 1982. If there is the slightest chance that she really is who she says she is, Planned Parenthood should comb its lists of "family planning assistants" in Oregon, find this woman, and require her to report the abused 12-year-old patient.
An organization this irresponsible and dangerous should not have tax-exempt status, let alone receive more than $300 million in taxpayer funds each year.
And yes, I say Planned Parenthood is irresponsible and dangerous even if HPW's post turns out to be a hoax. This is, after all, the same organization that boasted it covered up an 11-year-old's rape.
TAKE ACTION: Contact your U.S. senators and representative and urge them to support Sen. Sam Brownback's bid to defund Planned Parenthood.
UPDATE, 1/21/08: As HPW mentions in her blog entry today that she went to a Planned Parenthood benefit that took place in Eugene, the Planned Parenthood chapter that employs her — assuming she is who she says she is — is Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon.
To contact the Oregon Department of Justice about this possible case of unreported child rape, write firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact the Eugene Police Department, write email@example.com.
*See page 96 of this online guide to statutory-rape laws. HPW is a "mandatory reporter" according to the law, and is required to report any suspicion they have that a minor under 15 has had sexual intercourse.
**Oregon law (on page 96 of linked report) states that a minor 15 or older may legally have intercourse with a person within three years of his or her age. Again, as a mandatory reporter, HPW is required to be concerned about the age of her charges' sex partners — but, as detailed in the footnote above, the case of the alleged 12-year-old girl would be statutory rape regardless of her partner's age.