Y’all, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting REALLY tired of the yellow journalists over at Live Action and LifeNews spewing lies about Planned Parenthood. Aren’t you?
Their latest lie involves the case of a sixteen year old young woman in Wisconsin who visited a Planned Parenthood asking about abortion care. Allegedly, sometime during her visit, the gentleman who took her to the health center spoke (without her permission – asshole) with a sidewalk “counselor” (aka sidewalk intimidator) about his friend’s private medical information, including the fact that she was pregnant, seeking an abortion, and that her boyfriend was nineteen years old while she was sixteen years old.
LifeNews goes on to tell us that the relationship is illegal in Wisconsin, that they desperately tried to find a way to report this “abuse” that had happened, and then later discovered that Planned Parenthood wouldn’t have been required to report this “abuse” because of their status as a health care provider. The HORROR!
Oh you silly, silly people over at LifeNews. I know I asked this of your founder yesterday, but I’ll ask again – do you EVER both to research anything you write? Because here’s the REAL story about what should happen in this case.
First, while LifeNews is correct in stating that intercourse with a minor aged 16 or older in a crime in Wisconsin, that right there is where their accuracy ends. In Wisconsin, sexual intercourse with a minor aged 16 or older is a Class a Misdemeanor (btw, that is NOT classified statutory rape nor as sexual abuse under Wisconsin law) and is punishable by UP TO (though I haven’t found many cases where this punishment has been applied, or even where these cases have been taken to trial) a $10,000 fine and 9 months in jail. There is no mandatory sentence requirement for this particular crime.
LifeNews’ correspondent’s next mistake was ASSuming that because sexual intercourse with a minor aged 16 years or older was a crime in Wisconsin, that such act was considered abuse, specifically abuse required to be reported.
Under Wisconsin’s mandatory reporting scheme, the following is the definition of abuse, for reporting purposes:
(a) Physical injury inflicted on a child by other than accidental means.
(am) When used in referring to an unborn child, serious physical harm inflicted on the unborn child, and the risk of serious physical harm to the child when born, caused by the habitual lack of self-control of the expectant mother of the unborn child in the use of alcohol beverages, controlled substances or controlled substance analogs, exhibited to a severe degree.
(c) A violation of s. 948.05.
(d) Permitting, allowing or encouraging a child to violate s. 944.30.
(e) A violation of s. 948.055.
(f) A violation of s. 948.10.
(g) Manufacturing methamphetamine in violation of s. 961.41 (1) (e) under any of the following circumstances:
1. With a child physically present during the manufacture.
2. In a child’s home, on the premises of a child’s home, or in a motor vehicle located on the premises of a child’s home.
3. Under any other circumstances in which a reasonable person should have known that the manufacture would be seen, smelled, or heard by a child.
(gm) Emotional damage for which the child’s parent, guardian or legal custodian has neglected, refused or been unable for reasons other than poverty to obtain the necessary treatment or to take steps to ameliorate the symptoms.
Pay particular attention, if you would, to Wis Sec. 48.02(1)(b). See the codes listed there? Do you see 948.09 (the statute listing the crime for intercourse with a minor sixteen years of age or older) listed anywhere in there at all? No? Me either. Know what that means? That means it’s not considered abuse for the purposes of Wisconsin’s mandatory reporting laws. That means that the Wisconsin legislature, while recognizing that they didn’t really want sixteen year olds to be having sex, realized that, if the sex was consensual, it wasn’t abuse.
So, no, unless Planned Parenthood believed that the sexual intercourse was not voluntary, Planned Parenthood would NOT be required to report this relationship to ANYONE under mandatory reporting laws because it is NOT considered abuse.
I think it’s time to bring this out again (mainly just because David Duchovny is awesome):
And now on to the rest of the sorry state of affairs that is LifeSite’s “research” into Wisconsin’s mandatory reporting laws.
I’m not sure who exactly Steve Karlen spoke with to get this information, but Planned Parenthood is most definitely a mandatory reporter in the state of Wisconsin when it comes to child abuse in certain circumstances.
While it is true that Wisconsin has carved out an exception to mandatory reporting requirements for health professionals (including physicians, physician assistants, and registered or licensed nurses) who provide family planning services as defined by law, pregnancy testing, obstetrical health care or screening, and diagnosis or treatment for a sexually transmitted infection, LifeNews conveniently forgets to mention that this exception is overridden if the health care worker:
has reason to suspect any of the following:
1. That the sexual intercourse or sexual contact occurred or is likely to occur with a caregiver.
2. That the child suffered or suffers from a mental illness or mental deficiency that rendered or renders the child temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding or evaluating the consequences of his or her actions.
3. That the child, because of his or her age or immaturity, was or is incapable of understanding the nature or consequences of sexual intercourse or sexual contact.
4. That the child was unconscious at the time of the act or for any other reason was physically unable to communicate unwillingness to engage in sexual intercourse or sexual contact.
5. That another participant in the sexual contact or sexual intercourse was or is exploiting the child.
(e) In addition to the reporting requirements under par. (d), a person described under par. (c) 1. or 4. shall report as required under sub. (2) if he or she has any reasonable doubt as to the voluntariness of the child’s participation in the sexual contact or sexual intercourse.
So while LifeNews can gnash its teeth at the awfulness at Planned Parenthood not being required to report sexual abuse, when we look at the actual LAWS in Wisconsin, we realize that it is not ONLY Planned Parenthood workers who are excepted AND that this exception is INCREDIBLY narrow and still requires health care workers to report abuse perpetrated by a caregiver, to report abuse if there is any doubt as to the child’s ability to understand the consequences of his/her actions due to a permanent or temporary mental disability, to report abuse if the child’s age or maturity level precludes an understanding of the nature or consequence so sexual intercourse, to report abuse if the child was being exploited, and to report abuse if the child did not fully and completely consent to the sexual act.
That right there? That seems like a pretty fair list of reasons to require reporting while still allowing minors to receive the care they need without frightening them into staying away from the care they need for fear of getting their two-years-older significant other into trouble.
So, once again, we find that Planned Parenthood is NOT covering up child sexual abuse.
How many times do you think I’m going to have to write these posts before LifeNews, Lila Rose, and their ilk get that memo?
Till next time,
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