RESOLVED: Fairbanks v. Planned Parenthood

RESOLVED: Fairbanks v. Planned Parenthood

Life Legal assisted a young woman, Denise Fairbanks, in a suit against Planned Parenthood, who failed to report her father for his sexual molestation of her when she presented for an abortion as a young teenager. Much of her story is recounted below in a letter of thanks to LLDF.

Dear Life Legal Supporters,

She’s out there. Somewhere. A girl just like me. Somewhere there’s a young innocent girl—barely a teenager. And right now, she’s suffering from the horrors of sexual abuse at the hands of an adult as I did. Somewhere “that girl” is getting raped. Like I was. Impregnated. Like I was.

And she may be taken to a Planned Parenthood abortion center. Like I was.

“That girl” may actually be telling Planned Parenthood that she’s being abused. Probably by her boyfriend. In my case, I was abused by my own father.

Hello, my name is Denise Fairbanks—and I’m “that girl” from the long-running case against Planned Parenthood that the Life Legal Defense Foundation assisted with.

Mine was the court case that you helped us with. For six years Planned Parenthood did everything possible to try to defeat my claims and drown out my message that, when Planned Parenthood knows or suspects that a young girl is being sexually abused, it must meet its duties under the law and immediately report that abuse to the proper authorities.

However, Life Legal came to my aid, and we were able to withstand Planned Parenthood’s attempt to force me to drop my suit.

My attorneys, led by Brian Hurley, worked tirelessly on this case. They put in so many hours (most that they simply donated), it’s unimaginable what they sacrificed for me and the fight for all the abused and exploited girls like me, from this point forward.

But Mr. Hurley and his colleagues persevered, because he knew that they could rely on Life Legal’s help. And that’s what got us through. It took years, but we did it.

You see, all we need is an advocate willing to do the right thing: to take on the tough cases, the impossible cases, the unpopular causes—the kinds of cases where it’s not about money but about something much bigger.

Mr. Hurley and Life Legal took on this case because they know what sexual abuse does to a young girl’s life, especially in cases of young girls like me who are the victim of sexual abuse by their own relatives or close family friends for many years.

Thanks be to God, I am in the process of healing.

So now, I just wanted you to know that when you support Life Legal, you’re helping protect more young girls than you could ever imagine. More than you’ll ever know.

We can all get behind cases like mine. Because they’re out there. I know they’re out there. You know they’re out there. Planned Parenthood knows they’re out there.

Most of all, however, I simply can’t forget that “that girl” who is being sexually abused is also out there.

“That girl” once was me, and I ask that you generously support her in her quest for justice the way you supported me.

Denise Fairbanks

P.S. I was thirteen years old when my father started to abuse me, and my father continued to abuse me for almost two years after he took me to Planned Parenthood to have an abortion.

So from this day forward, I ask that you will please continue to help Life Legal as much as you can.

They truly deserve your support. I’m living proof of that.

Thank you.


Reprinted from Lifeline Vol. XXII, No. 1 (Winter 2013)