Government & Politics

October, 31, 2006 - 03:05 PM / ET

When a Parent Doesn't Know
Mother not told of thirteen-year old's abortion

NOTE TO EDITORS: The following story was submitted by Bob McPhail, a press aide to the Yes on 85 Campaign. The story originally appeared in La Cruz de California, a Catholic newspaper.

San Diego, CA--(HISPANIC PR WIRE)--October 31, 2006--On Friday morning, July 30, 2004, Diana Lopez, a divorced mother of four young children, was awakened by a phone call. The call was from a staff member at the middle school that her two oldest children attend, Memorial Academy in San Diego. Lopez recounted that the staff member told her that her 13-year-old daughter had been taken to the hospital because she was bleeding. Lopez states that when she asked what had happened to her daughter, the staff member's response was that they didn't know and that her daughter's boyfriend's mother had come to take her to the hospital.

Lopez's 14-year-old daughter then called Lopez, revealing that her 13-year-old sister was about to get an abortion at Planned Parenthood. "I just started screaming," Lopez recalled. Lopez spoke to the staff member again and asked what she should do and how she could find her daughter. Lopez said that the staff member replied that she didn't know what to do and suggested that Lopez contact the police.

Lopez says that she was not aware that her daughter was pregnant. She later learned that the mother of her 13-year-old daughter's boyfriend (also 13) had orchestrated the abortion. On the morning that the school called her, the boyfriend's mother had arranged to pick up Lopez's 13-year-old daughter at the school and take her to Planned Parenthood for the abortion. The 13-year-old was then four months pregnant and had had laminaria inserted. As she walked with her older sister to school that morning, she began experiencing severe cramps and bleeding. Upon arriving at the school office, her older sister asked to use the phone, intending to call the boyfriend's mother.

The 14-year-old told the school that her 13-year-old sister was to be taken to Planned Parenthood that day by the boyfriend's mother for an abortion. Lopez asserts that, because of the 14-year-old's explanation to school staff, the school was aware that the 13-year-old was scheduled to have an abortion at Planned Parenthood before they called her.

While a school nurse offered to check the 13-year-old, the 14-year-old called the boyfriend's mother, who soon arrived at the school. According to Lopez, the boyfriend's mother told the school that she was going to take the 13-year-old to the hospital. Lopez said that the school did not ask the boyfriend's mother for identification or check to see if Lopez had listed her as an emergency contact person. Lopez says that the boyfriend's mother is not authorized to pick up her children in case of an emergency at the school.

Since Lopez doesn't have a car, she asked a school staff member to take her to the clinic where her daughter was. Her 14-year-old had learned that this was the Planned Parenthood surgical abortion clinic on First and Grape streets, in downtown San Diego. After being dropped off there, Lopez demanded that the abortion be stopped.

According to Lopez, the receptionist replied that the clinic couldn't release any information to her because it was a confidential matter; nothing could be done, and Lopez just needed to wait until her daughter came out from the surgery. Lopez's stunned response: "What? She's only 13 and I'm her mother! I want to be there with her!" Lopez also spoke to a supervisor, who, she said, threatened to call the police when Lopez got into a heated discussion with the boyfriend's mother.

Lopez said that Planned Parenthood sent her daughter home with painkillers, antibiotics, and birth control pills but did not speak with Lopez regarding aftercare instructions.

Lopez insists that had she known her daughter was pregnant, she would have urged her to have the baby.

By Anne Knight








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