How far will Attorney General Mark Herring go to protect the $1 billion abortion industry? The answer should shock you. In an official opinion quietly issued two days before the last Board of Health meeting, the Attorney General determined that the Virginia Health Department, and abortion center staffs, can turn a blind eye to the rape of underage children. (The opinion was removed from the AG’s website yesterday, but reappeared last night. We are reviewing it to make sure no changes were made.)
This surprising opinion absolves health care professionals at abortion centers or the health department of responsibility to report the suspected rape of a child to the Department of Social Services or law enforcement. In order to reach this conclusion and protect the abortion industry, the Attorney General had to overrule two opinions issued by prior Attorneys General. First was a 2003 opinion issued by then Attorney General Jerry Kilgore that required health care officials to report statutory rape when the victim reveals it during conversation.
More concerning, the second was a 2001 Opinion by then Attorney General and now respected Court of Appeals Judge Randolph Beales requiring teachers to report sexual acts against a child regardless whether the teacher suspected or believed the child’s parent or other responsible person committed the sex crime.
These opinions were never questioned or challenged over the last fourteen years. The General Assembly did not enact laws to reverse the opinions. The opinions were settled law in Virginia, until they threatened to ensnare an abortion facility.
Earlier this year, The Family Foundation sounded the alarm when we discovered from inspection reports that the Roanoke Medical Center for Women performed abortions on three minors without parental consent. At least one of the girls was only 14 years old. Virginia law is clear that “if any person carnally knows, without the use of force, a child thirteen years of age or older but under fifteen years of age, such person shall be guilty of a class 4 felony.” (Virginia Code §18.2-63) In other words, the very fact that a 14 year old obtained an abortion meant that she had been raped, according to Virginia law.
By whom is unknown. A parent? A pimp? An older teenager? What cannot be ignored in this situation is the fact that the Roanoke facility sits along the I-81 corridor, a zone known for sex trafficking. But that doesn’t apparently concern the Attorney General, even though he has vowed that “…combating human trafficking will be a priority in my office and I will work…to eradicate it in Virginia.”
Health care professionals, including the State Health Commissioner, are required to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect to the Department of Social Services to be investigated. (Virginia Code §63.2-1509) An “abused or neglected child” is defined in Virginia Code §63.2-100 to be “any child less than 18 years of age…whose parents or other person responsible for his care commits or allows to be committed any act of sexual exploitation or any sexual act upon a child in violation of the law….” In his shocking opinion, Attorney General concluded that unless the health care professional knows that the rape “was committed or allowed to be committed by the child’s parent or other person responsible for his care” it need not be reported. (2014 Op. Va. Att’y Gen. 14-021 at 4) The problem is, the people trained to know, or investigate to find out, are law enforcement, not an untrained staffer at an abortion center.
But don’t worry, now that he has made it easier for pedophiles to escape justice, the Attorney General will “protect” our college-aged daughters.
Interestingly, when the opinion was discussed at the recent board of health meeting, Commissioner of Health Marissa Levine, a McAuliffe appointee, admitted publicly that the department had a “moral and ethical obligation” to go beyond the Attorney General’s advice.