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TX Cares About Children And Families

.jpg photo of child abuse graphic
Some child abuse pediatricians have implicated parents who appear to have credible claims of innocence, an investigation by NBC News and the Houston Chronicle found.

Texas lawmakers want to protect families wrongly accused of Child Abuse

In response to an NBC News investigation, lawmakers want families to be allowed a second medical opinion before a child is taken from a home.

HOUSTON, TX  –  Texas lawmakers are calling for stronger safeguards in the state’s child welfare system after an NBC News and Houston Chronicle investigation found children had been taken from their parents based on disputed medical opinions from doctors trained to spot child abuse.

The reporting showed that child welfare workers removed some children from homes after receiving reports from state-funded child abuse pediatricians that were later called into question, leading to traumatic family separations and months-long legal fights.

Rep. James Frank, chairman of the Texas House of Representatives committee that oversees the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services, said the investigation exposed serious problems.

“I’m very concerned with the premature, unnecessary removal of children, and I think it happens a lot more than people in Texas understand,” said Frank, a Republican from northern Texas.

Frank said he plans to call for a series of legislative hearings in the coming months to explore potential improvements.  Some legislators have suggested creating a way for courts, child welfare workers or accused families to request a second medical opinion before the state removes a child from a home.

Texas provides $5 million in grants each year — including $2.5 million from the agency that oversees Child Protective Services — to support the work of child abuse pediatricians, a small but growing subspecialty of doctors who examine children who come into hospitals with suspicious injuries.  The Texas grants deputize some of the doctors to review cases on behalf of child welfare investigators, who then rely on their reports when deciding whether to remove children from parents.

Frank acknowledged that these state-supported physicians have a difficult job and that they play a critical role in protecting abused children, likely saving lives.  But he said he’s heard from numerous parents in recent years whose children were removed by Child Protective Services based primarily on a report from a child abuse pediatrician and despite contradictory opinions from other doctors.

In those cases, Frank said he thinks child welfare workers are sometimes too deferential to agency-funded abuse doctors and fail to complete a thorough investigation before taking children.

“In most cases, the doctors aren’t saying ‘This is child abuse,’” Frank said.  “They’re saying that they are concerned that it’s child abuse.  And so I don’t know there are enough checks and balances to make sure that we have confirmed that it really is child abuse.”

Rep. Harold Dutton Jr., a Houston Democrat and lawyer who has represented a mother who says she was wrongly accused by a child abuse pediatrician, said he has begun discussions with Frank to figure out potential improvements.

“We haven’t come up with anything yet, but we’re working towards it,” he said.  “One of the things that needs to happen is we need to better define when CPS should remove children.  We’ve got to do a better job of that.”

In a statement, Patrick Crimmins, a spokesman for the Department of Family and Protective Services, said the agency relies on the expertise of child abuse pediatricians when its caseworkers and other medical specialists are unable to determine if a serious injury is a result of abuse.

“We believe this process has worked well to detect abuse in complex cases and has protected children,” Crimmins said.  “But any process — particularly one with the lives of children and their families at stake — can be improved, and we want to work with legislators and stakeholders to do just that.”

In interviews, leading child abuse pediatricians said they are careful to rule out underlying medical conditions and accidental causes before issuing their opinions. The doctors acknowledged that a mistaken child abuse diagnosis can result in a child being taken from caring parents.  But overlooking warning signs, they said, could lead to a child being left in a dangerous home, with potentially fatal consequences.

To state Rep. Gene Wu, the issues raised by the NBC News and Chronicle reporting were familiar.  Wu, a Houston Democrat and lawyer, sometimes handles cases involving Child Protective Services and allegations of abuse.

“I have personally dealt with a couple of cases … where you had day-to-day physicians who said, ‘This is a typical type of bone break that is common in children of this age because they’re learning to walk,’” Wu said.  “Then the case gets looked at by the child abuse expert and they say it might be child abuse, and then everyone sort of freaks out.”

In those instances, Wu said, “CPS is sort of caught in this damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation.”

Child abuse pediatricians are trained not only to identify abuse, but to identify medical conditions that can mimic abuse.  The doctors say they rule out or fail to confirm abuse more times than not.

But Wu said when medical specialists are focused on finding and preventing child abuse, it’s natural that some run-of-the-mill injuries may appear more sinister.

“If you’re a hammer, then everything is a nail,” Wu said.

In many cases, the only doctor consulted by Child Protective Services and called to testify in court is the child abuse expert who initially flagged the concerns, in part because many families do not have the money to hire seasoned lawyers or outside medical experts.

To address that, Frank and other lawmakers have suggested requiring Child Protective Services to seek additional medical opinions in some instances before removing children.  Another fix, Wu said, might be to create a mechanism for courts across the state to bring in independent experts to evaluate medically complex cases and offer a second opinion.

“We could create a pot of money that courts could dip into,” he said.  “One party could make a motion to the judge to request an independent expert, and the state could have a list of medical experts to take a look at it.”

There are no “easy solutions,” he cautioned.

“I’ve described the CPS system as a very finely balanced seesaw,” Wu said, “and if you tip it too much you’re going to take kids away from good parents, and if you tip it the other way, you’re going to have dead kids. …  Whatever we do, we need to make sure that this policy solution doesn’t tip the balance.

Aborting Two 13-Year-Olds Led To Misdemeanor Charges

.jpg photo of Doctor whose home was found containing over 2,000 aborted fetuses
Dr. Ulrich Klopfer

2,246 fetal remains found in Illinois home
of abortion doctor

After Dr. Ulrich Klopfer died in rural Crete, Illinois, on Sept. 3, authorities found “2,246 medically preserved fetal remains” in his home.

Klopfer performed thousands of abortions in northern Indiana clinics before his medical license was revoked in 2016.  But it’s unclear where the fetal remains came from, though the Will County, Illinois, Sheriff’s office said in a news release there was no evidence that Klopfer performed abortions on his Illinois property.

Public records show that Klopfer had not been licensed to practice medicine in Illinois since 1990, when he failed to renew his license.  Records do not show Klopfer holding any other state’s medical license after the Indiana suspension.

Authorities are not saying if they think Klopfer, 79, transported the remains from Indiana, how the fetal remains had been preserved or why the remains may have been in his possession in the first place.

Kathy Hoffmeyer, Will County, Ill., Sheriff’s spokeswoman, on Monday called this a sensitive investigation and declined to release details.

Indiana records allege the doctor, first licensed in 1979, had a history of bad record keeping in his clinics.

According to a complaint filed by the Indiana Medical Licensing Board, Klopfer worked in clinics in South Bend, Gary and Fort Wayne from 2012 to 2015.

The board in 2016 found that Klopfer failed to properly file paperwork regarding abortions performed at the clinics, including some that were dated the same day as the procedure, a violation of Indiana’s 18-hour waiting period.

The licensing board found he performed abortions on two 13-year-olds without filing paperwork within three days as required by law.

The allegations regarding the 13-year-olds led to misdemeanor criminal charges in two counties, which Klopfer was facing at the same time he fought to keep his medical license, records show.

He was charged with failing to timely file a public report and admitted wrongdoing in St. Joseph County in 2014 and Lake County in 2015, according to the licensing board’s complaint.  Under terms of the pretrial diversion agreements, the misdemeanor charges were later dismissed.

None of the Indiana allegations against Klopfer were related to fetal remains.  How such remains ended up on Klopfer’s property are a mystery.

In the news release, the sheriff’s office said a lawyer for the Klopfer family first told officials about the discovery of the fetal remains.  IndyStar left a message on Monday for the attorney, identified by WMAQ-TV (Channel 5) Chicago as Kevin P. Bolger.

Klopfer’s family had no idea the fetal remains were inside the doctor’s rural home, Bolger told WMAQ on Saturday.

“No one has any answers,” Bolger told the station.  “The family is cooperating 100%.”

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill told IndyStar on Monday that the discovery of the fetal remains “shocks the conscience.”  Hill said his office will work with the office of Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul on an investigation into the “grisly” findings.

Murder Trial Ignored By Big Media

.jpg photo of empty media seats taken during testimony at the 2013 Kermit Gosnell trial in Philadelphia went viral
A photo of empty media seats taken during testimony at the 2013 Kermit Gosnell trial in Philadelphia went viral.

Drug Investigators Stumbled Onto Nearly
50 Children’s Bodies in Clinic of Horrors

The story is horrific and shocking.  It is so unbelievably gruesome that some preview audiences had a hard time believing it could be real.

But whenGosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer executive producer John Sullivan sat down with The Western Journal’s Josh Manning, he explained that was why actual crime scene photos were included during the credits rolling at the end of the movie: Those horrors really did happen.

Investigators found the bodies of nearly 50 children at Kermit Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society clinic in Philadelphia, and they were not stored in one place as medical waste.  Instead, around every corner investigators found more surprises in the “house of horrors,” according to the firsthand accounts the movie-makers used.

“They were stored in plastic bags, they were put into orange juice containers with the lids cut off, and they were stored in refrigerators in the lunch room … in the break room,” Sullivan said.

As horrific as the discoveries were, little media attention was given to the story, even during the trial.  It didn’t fit the pro-abortion agenda supported by so many in the establishment media.

In an opinion piece for LifeNews, reporter J.D. Mullane of the Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Courier Times noted that he covered “the 2013 trial of the infamous Philadelphia abortionist and killer of newborns, a murder trial ignored by Big Media.”  The scene of the all the empty media seats from the trial was actually reflective of a real photo Mullane snapped in disgust at the actual proceedings.

And that is not all.  I n a preview for the movie, the character of Assistant District Attorney Alexis “Lexy” McGuire says, “Nothing that man did that protects women or children.  And you don’t have to be a pro-life activist to see that.’”  And perhaps that is the biggest problem of all for the movie and the telling of the story.

This was evidenced when “Gosnell,” which opened Oct. 12 and was doing well on screens nationwide, suddenly started disappearing from theaters.  Audiences have raved about the film, with some viewers reporting it changed their views about abortion.

College student Kathy Zhu is one of them. “Yesterday, I was pro-choice,” she told her 50,000 Twitter followers.  “I believed that women should have a say & the gov shouldn’t be interfering w/ our lives.  Today, I’m pro-life.”

Yesterday, I was pro-choice. I believed that women should have a say & the gov shouldn’t be interfering w/ our lives

Today, I’m pro-life.  After watching #Gosnell & doing in-depth research, I finally understand the horrors of loopholes in late-term abortions.  Pls go watch Gosnell pic.twitter.com/H7WPz8Dcoj

— Kathy Zhu (@PoliticalKathy) October 22, 2018

Despite — or more likely because of — the impact it is having on audiences, “Gosnell” has faced numerous obstacles since its release.

The film’s producer has said Facebook blocked “Gosnell” advertising and The New York Times reneged on ads and refused to review the movie.

Although the filmmakers strove for accuracy, “Gosnell” is not graphic in its portrayal of the horrific events.  This, in contrast to some ordinary or even Halloween and horror-themed movies, would not be a reason for the movie to be pulled from theaters or have its advertising banned.

Anyone interested in seeing the film may purchase tickets online via links on the movie’s website.