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Tipsheet

Family Files Lawsuit Claiming Clinic Pressured Teenager Into Getting an Abortion

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

This week, a Virginia family filed a lawsuit alleging that an abortion clinic pressured their 15-year-old daughter into having an abortion against her will and without legal consent. 

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According to local outlet WJHL, the family is suing the clinic, Bristol Women’s Health, the Dickenson County Department of Social Services (DSS) and several individuals who pressured the teen into the abortion in January (via WJHL):

The civil suit claims a DSS employee pressured the girl into the abortion and that the DSS’s local director tried to retroactively 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 child’s parents are listed as plaintiffs along with the child, identified as “CRFM,” whose abortion was done by a three-pill method.

[...]

The suit alleges that CRFM was approximately three months pregnant when the Dickenson County Department of Social Services (DSS) removed her from her father’s care on Jan. 19. She had been staying with her father since August, the suit says, and was placed with a friend of the family.

The suit claims CRFM’s 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.”

The suit alleges that a DSS employee persuaded the girl that she should have an abortion and set up an appointment Jan. 19 to take her to Bristol Women’s Health, an abortion clinic. There they met with the clinic’s director, according to the suit.

The suit claims CRFM told the director she didn’t want an abortion, “remained upset throughout the process, and initially refused to cooperate with any abortion.”

CRFM eventually “was persuaded to abort her baby,” though legal consent was never obtained, the suit says. It claims that the director, the DSS employee, the clinic’s physician and the clinic corporately violated CRFM and her parents’ rights.

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Diane Derzis, who owns the clinic, told the outlet: “We have never and never would pressure someone to have an abortion.” 

“I am confident that all the paperwork was done according to state law,” she said of the lawsuit. 

Derzis was the owner of Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the infamous abortion clinic at the center of the Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. The lawsuit ensued when the Mississippi clinic filed a lawsuit against a 15-week abortion law in the state. The clinic has since shuttered, which Townhall covered. According to Tennessee Lookout, Derzis set up the Bristol clinic right on the Virginia-Tennessee border. And, she reportedly operates abortion clinics in Columbus, Georgia, Las Cruces, New Mexico and Richmond, Virginia. 

Tim AcAfee, the attorney representing the family, said that it’s “shocking” that the underage girl was was allegedly coerced into having an abortion. Reportedly, the family is seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and $5.4 million in punitive damages.

“Some people would say you killed something,” McAfee told the outlet. “The young lady has killed her baby. That’s how she looks at it.”

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