ANCHORAGE, April 29, 2005 ( – The parents of a teenaged girl are suing a social worker and the Anchorage Alaska Catholic hospital she works for who the parents say helped the girl get an out-of-state abortion two years ago. The suit names the Sisters of Providence, doing business as Providence Health System Alaska and Providence Family Practice Center.

The suit alleges that the social worker, with the collusion of hospital officials, helped the girl to go to Seattle at public expense for an abortion without informing her parents. Alaska state law requires parental consent for a minor to procure an abortion. However, the law was suspended after the courts deemed it unconstitutional, the case is currently before the state supreme court.

“Whether you agree or disagree with parental consent or parental notification, this isn’t the right way,” said attorney Yale Metzger, who is representing the family.

A hospital spokesman said that though the hospital does not commit abortions, they have no problems referring women elsewhere to procure one. Far from denying the charge, Karina Jennings said, “We believe we followed good sound medical practice in this case.”

The suit records that the girl went to see the staff social worker at the hospital in the company of her boyfriend and his mother. The social worker’s notes said that she was feeling scared about being pregnant at 15 and that she was advised to return alone to be counseled in ‘pregnancy options.’ The social worker arranged to have her and her boyfriend flown to Seattle while her parents, frantic about her whereabouts, called police.

Their daughter returned home the next day. The parents and the girl are asking for unspecified damages for emotional distress.

Contact Archbishop Roger L. Schwietz
  225 Cordova St
  Anchorage Alaska 99501
  (907) 297-7700

Contact Providence Hospital:
  (907) 562-2211
  3200 Providence Drive
  Anchorage, Alaska 99508


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