Dr. Allen Palmer was a part-time Planned Parenthood contractor filling in for a vacationing medical director when he performed an in-clinic abortion on a 13-year-old girl.
However, Palmer violated state law by not turning over fetal tissue to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, which is a requirement for any abortion performed on a girl younger than 14-years-old. Planned Parenthood self-reported the violation to the state.
On Thursday, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts was scheduled to discuss a petition accusing Dr. Palmer of violating state law in his handling of the abortion. The petition, by Susan Gering, the board’s deputy litigation counsel, says Palmer was a contractor solely tasked with performing abortions for patients in their first trimester.
The petition states that the 13-year-old girl was impregnated by her then 19-year-old boyfriend during consensual sex, and when the fetus was nearly 11-weeks-old, the girl sought a surgical abortion at what was known as Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri Inc.
According to U.S. News, Dr. Palmer was unaware of the patient’s age and blames staff at the clinic.
The petition seeks revocation, suspension, or other action against Palmer’s medical license, because, as required by Kansas state laws and regulations, the doctor failed to preserve fetal tissue from the abortion and submit it to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
At the hearing on Thursday, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts deferred its ruling, while Dr. Palmer insisted he relied on employees of Planned Parenthood to inform him if any patient was younger than 14-years-old.
“I’m as shocked and awed by this failure as anybody here, but they want to hang it on me, and maybe that’s the way it is,” Palmer told the board.
“I’m telling you that I did not know and I would not have proceeded if I had known.”
When Wichita physician board member Douglas Milfeld asked Palmer whether it ever occurred to him to ask the patient how old she was, Palmer answered that he used to ask that question of female patients, but that some took offense.
“I really don’t ask them, because teenagers today, the way they dress, I can’t tell how old anybody is. They go through counseling. They go through screening. I’m the last person in line for them. If there’s a problem, the staff raised it to me or they notified me somehow.”
Palmer’s attorney, Tom Theis, told the board, “It was not unreasonable for him to rely on staff.”
The petition says Palmer’s attorney has insisted his client inadvertently violated the state law and regulations because he wasn’t aware of them and had not received training on the relevant Planned Parenthood policies and procedures involving the treatment of minors.
The argument by Planned Parenthood is that Dr. Palmer “found it unnecessary to familiarize himself in detail with Kansas laws requiring the preservation of fetal tissue extracted during an abortion procedure on a minor.”
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