A caseworker with the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) allegedly pressured a pregnant teenager in foster care into a late-term abortion by threatening to take away her toddler or her yet-unborn baby. Additionally, Marisol Rivera, the girl’s social worker, said that she was fired for refusing to take the teen to a late-term abortion clinic.
“They hired me to work in child protection, not to kill children,” Rivera told the Philadelphia Daily News.
According to the newspaper, the girl’s foster mother said that the 16-year old was excited about having the baby and had already told her 1-year-old child that she would have a little brother. The teenager’s birth mother, identified only as Deborah M., also said the girl was excited.
But this all changed, according to the teenager’s foster mother, after the DHS worker Cynthia Brown threatened to take away her children.
“She said that if she decided to have the infant she wasn’t going to let her have both babies, that I know,” the foster mother said. “They wouldn’t be together.”
Another source, however, insisted that the girl’s foster mother, whose first language is Spanish, did not understand the conversation between the girl and Cynthia Brown.
Yet Deborah M. said that she believed the foster mother’s allegations, because she had witnessed Brown bullying her daughter before. She said Brown threatened to take away her one of her children unless the teen began taking her older child to daycare.
The DHS reportedly procured a judge’s order allowing an abortion; Pennsylvania state law requires parental consent for abortion, but this may be bypassed by court approval.
Brown said she drove the teen to get an abortion in New Jersey at the Cherry Hill Women’s Center, because abortions in Pennsylvania are illegal at 24 weeks. There, her infant was killed by the injection of a feticide.
Marisol Rivera initially refused to drive the girl to the abortion mill for the second appointment, scheduled to remove the baby’s body, but did so after she learned that the baby had already been killed.
“That baby had to be taken out of her,” Rivera said. “It couldn’t stay in there much longer. It was against my will, but I had no other option. Instead of one dying, two were going to die.”
Rivera worked for Concilio, which performs subcontract work for the DHS. She says her supervisor threatened to fire her when she initially refused to take the teenager to the clinic; after she complained to Concilio’s human-relations director about the threat, Rivera says she was fired.
The Philadelphia Daily News claimed that the DHS and Concilio have tried to suppress the publication of the affair.
The DHS had not returned LSN’s request for comment at press time.