Komo News broke a story late Tuesday about a 15-year-old Ballard High School student who was taken for an abortion in Seattle with neither her parents' knowledge nor consent.
Alas, in Washington, secret abortions on high school students are nothing new. What comes as a shock to parents like "Jill', the mother other of the aborted teen, is the seamless end-to-end system that has been set up to facilitate these abortions. This system includes the school districts, abortion industry, public health officials, the state legislature, and certain non-profits that leave nothing to chance.
One part of this story that went almost unnoticed was the fact that this girl was taken to the abortion center in a taxi.
Who paid for the taxi? How did it get to the school? Who dispatched it? Which abortion provider did it take her to? AIW has learned that taxi services to "contracting school districts throughout King County" are provided by the Redmond-based non-profit Hopelink.
Can that be right? Can an organization supported by churches and police departments be secretly operating a shuttle service to take girls from their high school classrooms in the middle of the school day to an abortion clinic, and then back to school, all without Mom and Dad finding out?
A conversation with Lisa Krogman, RN, a school nurse at the Chief Sealth High School clinic confirms the following: Without parental consent or notification, girls as young as 13, facing sudden and terrifying news of an unplanned pregnancy, can excuse themselves from class for "reproductive health care" appointments.
Ms. Krogman also confirmed that school based clinics set up abortion appointments through "Hopelink", a free taxi service the schools use to ferry the scared and confused girls to abortion clinics. And the Department of Social and Health Services of Washington pays for the cost of the abortion through Medicaid.
When AIW spoke with one of the dispatchers for Hopelink, we were told that they "take lots of those calls", and that they take students to both various Planned Parenthood locations and the late-term abortion center Cedar River Clinic in Renton.
People praying outside both Planned Parenthood and Cedar River have reported sightings of teenage girls arriving in taxis.
In another conversation with a school nurse at West Seattle High School, it was revealed how the in-school clinic system paves an unobstructed path to Planned Parenthood: The school clinics, which are separate businesses, first provide prescription birth control to any student without parental permission. If a girl turns up pregnant, as birth control often fails, the clinic will excuse the student from class and provide the abortion referral. The abortion appointments are set up during the day by the clinic and provide taxi vouchers to "any medical services" the student needs.
When asked if the school clinic provides taxi vouchers to abortion clinics, the response was: "any services the student needs."
The Ballard Teen Health Center would not answer questions and referred all calls to the King County Public Health communications manager. The school's health center is run by Swedish Hospital, which performs abortions.
Women who have had abortions often remark that the abortion "choice" was more like an escalator ride with no exit. The story of this Ballard high student appears to confirm that the skids were greased toward abortion with no opportunities to get off the deadly path laid before her. At every turn those in a position to help a young woman in a time of crisis, the worst time for making a life-changing decision, helped facilitate an abortion.
Hopelink is listed as the Regional Broker that serves DSHS Medical Assistance clients in King County. DSHS is the agency that pays for teen abortions in Washington state.
Hopelink has refused to answer any of our questions about their abortion taxi service. The public relations specialist Denise Stephens refused to connect us with the transportation coordinator or answer questions about the history of this service, its financing, or frequency.
Calls to the CEO and President Marilyn Mason-Plunkett were not returned.
Donors to Hopelink have been left furious and questioning. One Microsoft employee and long time supporter of Hopelink, who wished not to be identified, was so angry that he attempted to pull his donation and the matching funds that go with it. One Catholic parish has decided to "move away" from Hopelink. Other donors to Hopelink are waiting for more information.
Parents are also upset. The parent of a teen, who wished only to be identified by her first name Mary, told us she pulled her daughter out of the Seattle public school system after discovering these clinics and taxi-services were so embedded in the school system.
The mood at Ballard High School after the KOMO story broke as been one of business has usual, according to Ted Nutting, teacher at Ballard High. According to Nutting, "no one is talking about it, it's like nothing happened."
Apparently the clinics, the taxis and the abortions live another day.