Victoria Cobb, President
Friday, March 21, 2014
Family Foundation Calls on AG Herring to Combat Sex Trafficking
Under threat of The Family Foundation's filed court petition, the Virginia Department of Health yesterday finally responded to a Family Foundation FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request seeking documentation regarding whether the Department of Health fulfilled its legal obligation to report a possible incident of child sexual abuse.
While we were pleased to finally receive a response to our request, we were again disappointed in the Department's response. The Department replied, "VDH does not have any documents that are responsive to your request." In layman's terms, that means that the Department of Health does not have documentation that they fulfilled their legal obligation to report a case of possible child sexual abuse.
The potential case of child sexual abuse relates to February 2013 state inspection report that found that the Roanoke Medical Center for Women had performed abortions without parental consent on three minors (two of which were 14 years old). You can read more details on our email from yesterday.
And while this potential crime remains unreported by the Department of Health, our efforts to bring light to this situation have paid off. The Department of Health has asked Attorney General Mark Herring for a legal opinion on whether the Department is required to report cases of possible child sexual assault. Throughout his 2013 campaign for attorney general, Herring made eliminating human trafficking part of his campaign platform and promised to crack down on crime and human trafficking once elected. And now, as Attorney General, he states on his website, "As Attorney General, combating human trafficking will be a priority in my office and I will work with the General Assembly, law enforcement and prosecutors to eradicate it in Virginia."
Well, here is his chance. The Family Foundation calls on Attorney General Herring to remain true to his promise and insist that cases of possible child sexual abuse be investigated thoroughly and reported to the proper authorities. Attorney General Herring needs to de-politicize the issue and rule in favor of the safety of the Commonwealth's children.
In the Roanoke case, The Family Foundation is very concerned that without a proper investigation by law enforcement, someone could get away with sexual abuse or assault on 14-year-old children where abortions were performed with no parental consent in an area of Virginia where sex trafficking is a problem. There are three instances in the inspection reports of the Roanoke Medical Center for Women failing to get proper parental consent in consecutive months involving underage minors. We know that the I-81 corridor is used for human trafficking, so anyone who cares about kids should want to make sure that these girls weren't victims. It is incredibly disturbing that, to this point, neither the abortion center nor the Department of Health has followed the law. In fact, the abortion center claims that it is "unclear" as to its responsibilities!
Unfortunately, in an age of human trafficking, the medical personnel at an abortion center, or any medical facility, can't just assume that a girl isn't a victim of sexual abuse. We have laws requiring that medical personnel report these cases to law enforcement because we want to protect our kids. When our parental consent law was first passed, it was to ensure parental involvement in one of the most traumatic decisions a young girl can make, but with the proliferation of human sex trafficking, it is now a way we can ensure that these young girls are not victims.
The abortion industry isn't exempt from mandatory reporting laws. They claim to be health care operations, so if they are, they have the same obligations and responsibilities as other health care organizations. They shouldn't be exempt because abortion is controversial. As such, we expect Attorney General Herring to protect Virginia's children and insist upon the thorough investigation and reporting of possible cases of child sexual abuse.