Anti-Choice Activist Fighting To Make Sure Teenagers Stay Pregnant

Lila Rose, 20, is an anti-abortion activist who went to Planned Parenthood in Indiana last summer, pretending to be a pregnant 13-year-old with a 31-year-old boyfriend, in order to document the results on film.

The results were predictable. Clinic staff at the two clinics in Indiana didn't — as required by law in Indiana — report Lila or her accomplice to the police as suspected abuse victims and told her that they didn't care how old her "boyfriend" was, despite Lila insisting he was 31 and afraid of getting in trouble. Indiana law states that anyone having sexual contact with a person under the age of 14 is committing a sexual assault, and requires doctors to break doctor-patient confidentiality laws — even if the sex was consensual — and tell the police.

Planned Parenthood fired both the aide featured in the video Rose shot in Bloomington and the counselor featured in the video shot in Indianapolis, and retrained its staff on complying with Indiana's reporting requirements. Meanwhile, the prosecutor in Marion County (where Indianapolis is) has empaneled a grand jury to investigate whether any laws were broken.

Here's the problem with this case (as I've written about before): the doctor-patient confidentiality clause is there for a reason. That reason is that it is far more important to the physical (and, yes, emotional health) of any real 13-year-old that she have safe, confidential access to health care than that we put an actual creepy 31-year-old in jail for 6 months for having consensual sex with someone who society has (in most people's opinions, rightly) deemed too young for him. It sounds good for a doctor to be forced to report abuse, but statutory rape isn't the same as sexual assault or molestation — which is why there's a whole different category for it. When young women who have chosen to be sexually active see and hear about this video, are they likely to stop having sex until they turn 14? No. They are, however, far less likely to turn to a medical provider for information about birth control, STI testing or abortion services if they know they provider is going to pick up the phone and call the cops. That's the consequence of these forced-reporting laws when it comes to statutory rape (which is, by definition, consensual but for the age of the supposed victim).

Anyway, so, great. Fines will be paid, medical providers who were trying to do what they thought best for their patients will be slapped on the wrist and Lila Rose will be the anti-abortion movement's latest heroine. And somewhere, a 13-year-old will stick a wire hanger up her vagina, or swallow some pills hoping to force a miscarriage, or will leave a newborn in the restroom trash at a school dance rather than have her boyfriend sent to jail by getting health care. Woo. Team America.

Grand Jury To Investigate Planned Parenthood Video Case [USA Today]

Related: Mona Lisa Project [Live Action Films]

Earlier: If It's Illegal For Them To Have Sex, Should They Get Birth Control?
How Young Is Too Young?