A Virginia family has filed a lawsuit against a Bristol abortion clinic, Dickenson County’s Department of Social Services (DSS), and several others that they claim were involved in pressuring a 15-year-old girl into aborting a baby she wanted to carry to term.
The family claims that the abortion was done against her will.
The 15-year-old girl was three months pregnant when she was removed from her father’s care in January. The lawsuit maintains that the pregnancy “occurred as a result of a conscious choice of CRFM” and that she “intended to take her child to full term and intended to deliver her baby at the appropriate time,” according to a report from WJHL.
The lawsuit says that a social worker and the local director of DSS had pressured her into getting the procedure against her will and retroactively attempted to get judicial consent “for the unlawful abortion.”
“Both are named as defendants along with the abortion clinic’s director, whom the suit accuses of joining in the social worker’s efforts to persuade the girl. The suit also names a doctor from the clinic as a defendant,” the local station reports. “The child’s parents are listed as plaintiffs along with the child, identified as ‘CRFM,’ whose abortion was done by a three-pill method.”
The girl says the social worker scheduled an abortion for January 19 and took her to the Bristol Women’s Health abortion clinic. When she arrived, she said she met with the director and told them she did not want the procedure. The suit asserts that the girl “remained upset throughout the process and initially refused to cooperate with any abortion.”
According to the lawsuit, the teenager was eventually “persuaded to abort her baby,” but never provided legal consent.
The social worker and department also did not inform the girl’s family, they say.
WJHL reports that “neither CRFM’s parents nor her guardian ad litem was informed of the abortion by DSS and the agency didn’t provide medical records of it to her parents ‘despite multiple written requests,’ the suit alleges.”
“The suit alleges a host of potential negative physical and emotional effects on CRFM,” the local report says. “It claims the actions of DSS, the clinic and the people involved interfered with her parents’ rights by not involving them in the decision, not informing them of the abortion and denying access to medical records.”
Tim McAfee, an attorney representing the family, told the station that “it’s just shocking that it happened.”
“Some people would say you killed something,” McAfee continued. “The young lady has killed her baby. That’s how she looks at it.”
McAfee said that it is “a tragedy beyond measure.”
“Whether you’re, whether you’re pro-life, or pro-choice, it seems to me that what happened here would offend anybody,” McAfee added.
The lawyer said that, ultimately, his client was the victim of battery that killed her baby.
“It was not a legal consent, so whatever you did to (CRFM) was legally a battery and part of that battery was, you killed (her) baby,” he asserted.
The owner of the clinic, Diane Derzis, claimed that they “have never and never would pressure someone to have an abortion.”
“I am confident that all the paperwork was done according to state law,” Derzis added.
The family is seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and $5.4 million in punitive damages.
Source material can be found at this site.