Teen pressured into abortion by social service agent without parents' consent, lawsuit claims
An employee for a Virginia-based social services organization allegedly worked alongside an abortion clinic to pressure a 15-year-old girl into aborting her pregnancy, a new lawsuit claims.
A civil suit filed by the girl's parents in the Circuit Court of Dickson County claims that the Dickenson County Department of Social Services (DSS) arranged for the minor to have an abortion at the Bristol Women's Health abortion clinic after being removed from her father's custody on Jan. 19.
The director of DSS is also named as a defendant.
The civil suit seeks $10 million in compensatory damages and $5.4 million in punitive damages, according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by The Christian Post.
The filing claims the actions of the abortion clinic and the DSS employee caused the teenager to experience physical and emotional side effects and that the defendants interfered with her parents' rights.
The minor, identified as "CRFM," was approximately three months pregnant when she was removed from her father's custody and placed with a family friend. The plaintiffs allege the teenager "intended to take her child to full term and intended to deliver her baby at the appropriate time."
CRFM reportedly told her mother that DSS was pressuring her to have an abortion, and she "promised her mother that she was not going to abort the baby."
A DSS employee allegedly persuaded the teen to have an abortion instead, arranging for an appointment on Jan. 19, where the pair met with the clinic's director, Olivia Nickles.
A provider at the facility provided CRFM with chemical abortion pills, with the second pill expelling the unborn child's remains within 48 hours of the minor leaving the clinic.
The suit alleges that CRFM "remained upset throughout the process and initially refused to cooperate with any abortion" but was eventually persuaded otherwise. The complaint also alleges that legal consent was never obtained, accusing the clinic, the facility's physician and the DSS of violating CRFM and her parents' rights.
DSS is also accused of continuing contact with CRFM despite being told to recuse themselves after being notified on Jan. 30 that a claim had been filed.
The Dickenson County Department of Social Services (DSS) and clinic owner Diane Derzis did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment.
Attorney Tim McAfee, representing the family, told WJHL that the teenager believes that she "has killed her baby."
"That's how she looks at it," he said.
In a separate statement to the local news outlet, Derzis denied that her clinic has ever pressured anyone into an abortion, claiming that it would never coerce anyone to undergo the procedure. She commented that the decision to have an abortion is a woman's choice, regardless of age.
"I am confident that all the paperwork was done according to state law," she said.
The landlord who owns the property where the Bristol Women's Health abortion facility is based filed a lawsuit against the clinic in December, accusing the abortion provider of fraud and misrepresentation.
Property owner Kilo Delta claims that she did not know it would be used to conduct abortions. Delta seeks an order of rescission, which would rescind the leasing agreement. In response to the suit, the Bristol Women's Health clinic argued that the landlord still accepted payments and made repairs to the facility despite learning about its operations.
As CP reported, a recent study by the pro-life research organization Charlotte Lozier Institute suggests that women who terminate their first pregnancies are more likely to face greater health risks than women who carry to term. The study, published in October, examined data from over 5,400 Medicaid beneficiaries between 1999 and 2015 in 17 states.
The study organized women ages 16 and older into three separate groups depending on whether they gave birth or if their pregnancy ended in an abortion or a natural miscarriage.
According to the researchers, compared to women whose first pregnancies resulted in a live birth, women who aborted their first pregnancies had, on average, 53% more miscarriages.
Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: email@example.com. Follower her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman