Dangerous waters

Few child protection programs in human history have been under the strain that Texas' is right now.

Consider: The Lone Star State normally does DNA samples on 1,000 kids a year. Right now, officials are sampling more than 400 kids removed in one sweep from the sequestered Eldorado ranch of the breakaway Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

There is tremendous pressure on the social workers, court workers and Court Appointed Special Advocates volunteers trying to sort through all 437 cases - while they try to expedite hearings so any non-victimized kids can spend as little time in foster care as possible.

The threat, of course, is that the state will (1) trample on parents' constitutional rights or (2) traumatize the children.

And as dedicated and underpaid as the vast majority of child protective workers are, foster care is, by its very nature, problematic. Texas had better hope nothing befalls any of the children in its care.

Meanwhile, the state is in dangerous legal waters. Is one phone complaint - maybe a hoax, at that - enough to have removed all 437 kids?

At the same time, it must be said that there are reports some of the underage girls are pregnant - which you would think is, on its face, evidence of a crime.

Indeed, one news report says the state raised the number of "children" taken from the ranch "after discovering that some of the mothers who volunteered to stay with their children are younger than 18."

Similarly, a growing number of abortion foes are questioning whether abortion clinics are covering up crimes of sexual abuse of underaged girls who end up pregnant.

There again, it's a thorny legal issue - since patient confidentiality is concerned. But it would seem evidence of a crime would trump that consideration, and that abortion clinics should be able to - even be forced to - reveal evidence that an underaged girl has been sexually abused.

By one national estimate, as many as 90 percent of abortion clinics are not in compliance with state laws requiring the reporting of child sexual abuse.

Augusta Care Pregnancy Center does report - some 27 cases in the past year and a half alone.

Texas authorities may be looking into possible cases of abuse at the FLDS ranch. No one has been charged, it's important to note.

But neither anyone there, nor anywhere, should get away with such a crime.

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Sun, 04/23/2017 - 02:57

Proof and reproof