15-Year-Old Girl Illegally Coerced into Abortion by Social Worker, Abortionist: Lawsuit
A 15-year-old girl has felt “very depressed” after a state worker removed her from her parents’ custody and talked her into an illegal and “traumatic” abortion without parental consent, according to the lawyer who filed a $15.4 million lawsuit against the abortion facility and county employees.
Although the teenager was “crying,” “extremely upset,” and “uncooperative,” a social worker and employees of the Bristol Women’s Health abortion facility carried out an abortion, violating parental consent laws and possibly restrictions on the use of abortion pills, her attorney states.
The 15-year-old minor, referred to in court documents as “CRFM,” had lived with her father in Dickenson County, Virginia, from last August until this January. During that time, she had “wanted to have a baby and, so she had become pregnant through a conscious act on her part,” her lawyer, Tim McAfee told The Washington Stand. She wanted to carry her child to term and had “promised her mother that she was not going to abort the baby,” according to court documents furnished to TWS.
But on January 19, the Dickenson County Department of Social Services (DSS) removed the teen from her father’s custody and placed her with a family friend.
On the same day Whitley Poston, a social worker and DSS employee, convinced the minor that she had to have an abortion and transported her to an abortion facility without the knowledge, or consent, of her parents or guardian, court documents say.
“When the young girl gets there, she’s crying. She’s extremely upset. She’s very uncooperative,” McAfee told TWS. “She doesn’t want an abortion. She refuses to participate in any discussions about having abortion.”
At that time, Olivia Nickles, director of Bristol Women’s Health abortion facility, took the minor into “a private area where just the two of them are” and rehearsed a litany of reasons why the minor should have an abortion, McAfee tells TWS: “‘You’re too young. You’re not old enough. You’re not mature enough to do this. Think of the child. You’re not financially capable,’” McAfee says. “They’ve probably got a script I imagine: ‘Here are the pros of why you should agree to an abortion.’”
“Despite her crying throughout the process,” Bristol Women’s Health abortionist Marie Pereira orders abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol, leaving the 15-year-old to administer her own abortion away from the facility. “Pereira unlawfully authorized a non[-]consensual abortion on CRFM, and Nickles provided the medication to CRFM,” the legal complaint states.
The child took the abortion pills at the home of her guardian — without any supervision, McAfee believes — and saw her “dead baby expelled from her body.” At no time in this 48-hour window did DSS alert the minor’s parents, he continues.
The following day, Poston tried to receive a judicial order deeming the abortion an emergency procedure, but she failed, court documents say.
The entire scenario violates numerous state laws and DSS policies, McAfee tells TWS.
Since the child was 15, she “could not legally consent to abort the baby. Legal consent was never obtained,” the legal complaint states.
Virginia requires parental consent for a minor’s abortion.
CRFM “was right at three months along,” McAfee told TWS, and the ultrasound showed the child beyond the window abortionists may legally perform a chemical abortion, the lawsuit states. The FDA has approved the two-drug regimen for the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, or 70 days LMP, but abortionists have regularly dispensed the pills after that date “off-label.”
The abortion facility’s director, Nickles, “has no license in her name” in the state of Virginia, the document adds.
The teenager has suffered extensive emotional pain and may experience lifelong physical consequences as a result of the illegal abortion. “CRFM has been emotionally traumatized by the non-consensual killing of her baby by the combined efforts of the Dickenson County DSS, Poston, Nickles, Pereira, and Bristol Women’s Health LLC,” the legal complaint states.
“She already feels horrible about it. She’s been very, very depressed,” McAfee told TWS. “Imagine what a 15-year-old would feel after being talked into something she didn’t want to do, and then to see her dead baby expelled from her body. It’s been very, very traumatic.”
“What words are available that that accurately described the tragic and horrific acts that were committed with respect to this 15-year-old girl?” he asked.
One-third of women (34%) who had a chemical abortion “reported an adverse change in themselves, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and thoughts of suicide,” according to a study of 14,000 women conducted by the group Support After Abortion.
Abortion also puts the teenager at lifelong risk of physicals harms, including possible infertility and elevated risk of breast cancer, the complaint notes.
“It is tragic that Dickenson County’s Department of Social Services was involved in [any] way with a 15-year-old girl having an abortion, but the idea that the government removed this young girl from her father’s care and then pressured her into having an abortion is beyond comprehension. Abortion is never the solution to any of the challenges a woman faces. This child should have been offered love and support instead of being coerced into taking dangerous drugs that ended her child’s life and could have placed her own life in danger,” Mary Szoch, director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council, told TWS.
The lawsuit seeks a total of $15.4 million: $10 million in compensatory damages and $5.4 million in punitive damages from the abortion facility, the abortionist, the abortion facility director, the social worker, and DSS Director Glen David Moore.
“While these are disturbing allegations, this is consistent with a pattern we’ve seen of government undermining parental involvement in the lives of their children,” Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia tells TWS. “When it comes to abortion or matters of children with gender confusion, we commonly see low-level government employees like teachers or DSS workers, in this case, stepping between the parent and the child. And we have to remember that the abortion industry opposes our laws ensuring parental consent for abortion and tried to get those repealed in Virginia, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they would be a part of failing to involve the parent.”
Abortion is currently legal in Virginia through 26 weeks and six days of pregnancy, according to the state chapter of Planned Parenthood. Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) has supported a bill to protect life after 15 weeks. Pro-life advocates say the Old Dominion needs to embrace laws that create a culture of life, to assure this never happens again.
“When the lives of the most vulnerable are not protected, suddenly other people’s lives are treated as less valuable, as well,” Szoch told TWS. “I hope this story is a wake-up call to the people in the state of Virginia to change their laws and protect unborn children and their mothers from the horrors of abortion.”
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.