Planned Parenthood admits worker erred

Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A Planned Parenthood of Alaska employee exercised bad judgment in advising a caller about how to deal with a possible pregnancy, and has since been retrained, according to the head of the organization.

But no crime was committed, executive director Anna Franks said in an interview with the Fairbanks News-Miner.

The matter came to light in a court case involving Alaska's parental consent law on abortion, and the caller, who pretended to be a worried 13-year-old, wasn't really a girl in trouble but a woman hired by an anti-abortion group. The conversations were recorded by the group.

The woman told workers at three Alaska Planned Parenthood offices and an Anchorage women's center that she wasn't sure if she was pregnant, and described her boyfriend as a 22-year-old man. In Alaska, this is automatically statutory rape.

According to transcripts admitted into evidence in court Wednesday, workers at three of the four places noted the difference in age but assured the girl no one need be told.

Franks defended Planned Parenthood of Alaska.

''We really believe that statutory rape is wrong and we do want to prevent it. In our education programs, we try to teach teens to recognize good relationships and (that) there are older men who prey on young girls, and that's not an OK relationship,'' she said.

The trial in Anchorage Superior Court pits Planned Parenthood against a law that requires unmarried girls younger than 17 to get a parent's or judge's permission to have an abortion.

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