PEARL RIVER, LA. – Former State Senator and candidate for Louisiana Secretary of State A.G. Crowe, in a letter to the Legislative Auditor and Attorney General today, called for an investigation into whether non-identifying records from abortion facilities and certain state agencies containing possible evidence of suspected child abuse have been destroyed.
In his letter, Crowe noted, “I have recently been shown disturbing information from citizen activist Richard Mahoney that gives me reason to believe that possible evidence of suspected child sex abuse may have been destroyed by the Louisiana Department of Health without LDH having received permission from the Secretary of State to legally destroy and dispose of such records.” Crowe identified the records as Induced Termination of Pregnancy records from 1999 to 2010 that should have required an SS ARC 930 permission to destroy form from the Secretary of State. Those records are required by state law to be kept permanently. LDH is required by law to submit an SS ARC 930 records destruction approval form to the SOS and receive it back approved from them for every “Report of Induced Termination of Pregnancy (ITOP Report)” before any ITOP Report can be destroyed legally. Abortionists are required by law to submit a properly and legally completed ITOP Report to LDH on every abortion performed. The data helps determine statistics on abortions and patients are identified by a code number, not by name. Mahoney, a leading activist against abortions, noted that SS ARC 930 forms would show how many minors are receiving abortions and how many procedures lead to complications which would likely result in the closure of some abortion clinics throughout Louisiana.
This is not the first time these records have been spotlighted. Local anti-abortion activists filed a lawsuit in 2014 to gain access to mandatory reports detailing each pregnancy termination performed in Baton Rouge. At that time, Department of Health and Hospital officials argued that law specifically forbids disclosures of patient information gathered by physicians. In 2013, Congressman Charles Boustany called for a Congressional probe into the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ Vital Records Registry to review documents that were alleged to be falsified by doctors performing abortions. Boustany, a doctor himself, noted then that incomplete reporting by clinics that perform abortions could protect statutory rapists. Wrote Boustany, “These physician-signed forms potentially shielded statutory rapists by listing the father’s age and state of residence as ‘unk’ or unknown in advance.”
“No abused child in Louisiana should be abused twice – first by the abuser, then by a state agency that would destroy her ITOP Report, forever depriving her of such indispensable corroborating evidence of her abuse in future litigation, Crowe said.
Said Crowe, “Change is needed in the records management, retention and disposal policies in the Secretary of State’s office. The retention schedule of all public records needs to be thoroughly reviewed and updated. The retention schedule for child sex abuse crimes in particular must be extended for the life of the victim,” Crowe continued. "I will apply a high level of scrutiny to the protection of all records, especially those that may be used in an evidentiary manner."
Crowe, a pro-life advocate during his 16 years in the Louisiana legislature, said he will use the office of Secretary of State to require rigorous compliance of state law by every state agency and political sub-division as well as abortion clinics to protect the women and unborn children of Louisiana.