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Attorney at Center of Scam to Trick Teens out of Abortion Rights Seeks Mississippi Supreme Court Seat

Sharona Coutts

A Rewire investigation published earlier this year told the story of a 17-year-old girl and her mother who were targeted by an array of anti-choice activists who meddled in the teen's medical care, in an effort to thwart her ability to obtain an abortion. Stephen Crampton was at the center of this effort.

A Mississippi attorney who sent a threatening letter to an abortion clinic—falsely claiming that he represented a teen who was at the clinic attempting to obtain an abortion—is now running for election to that state’s supreme court.

Stephen Crampton has worked for multiple extremist Christian groups, including the Liberty Counsel and the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy.

A Rewire investigation published earlier this year told the story of a 17-year-old girl and her mother who were victimized by an array of anti-choice activists who meddled in the teen’s medical care, in an effort to thwart her ability to obtain an abortion.

The trouble began when the teen learned she was pregnant in February 2015, and confided in a teacher at her high school. That teacher told other staff members, setting off a chain of events that resulted in the teen being driven across state lines to a crisis pregnancy center—known as a CPC—without her mother’s knowledge or consent, where she was asked to sign a document indicating that if she were to seek an abortion, she was being coerced into it. The CPC then faxed that document to area clinics. When the mother and daughter, who together decided to terminate the pregnancy, then went to an abortion clinic, staff informed them that they could not perform the procedure because of the document. Police arrived and threatened the mother with charges of fetal homicide if the daughter went through with the abortion.

When mother and daughter returned to the clinic a few days later, staff there had received a letter from Crampton, in which he falsely asserted that he represented the young woman and that she was being coerced into having an abortion by her mother. Crampton threatened to take legal action against the staff at the clinic if they provided the care the teen sought. Clinic staff again declined to provide the abortion at that time.

Rewire‘s investigation found that the anti-choice group Life Dynamics produced the initial document, which purported to show that the pregnant person in question signed away their rights to an abortion. The form, which was faxed to multiple third parties, also included the teen’s full name, address, date of birth, and social security number.

After hiring an attorney, the girl’s mother was able to help the girl obtain an abortion. Crampton never returned the mother’s attorney’s calls or emails, the attorney told Rewire. Crampton also did not reply to Rewire’s multiple efforts to obtain his comments for the investigation.

Based in Tupelo, Mississippi, Crampton faces three competitors for the position on the court.

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