Neither Hickey nor school officials could be reached for comment last night.
``This case is about parents' constitutional right to parent,'' said John Stepanovich, a senior regional counsel for the American Center.
``A school official on the public payroll usurped the role of these parents and arranged a clandestine abortion for their 17-year-old daughter. The actions . . . violated the constitutional rights of the parents and undermined their parental authority,'' Stepanovich said in a statement.
The center filed the suit on behalf of Howard and Marie Carter of Hatboro, whose daughter, Stephanie, had the abortion. The suit contends that Hickey repeatedly and consistently advised Stephanie Carter that a secret abortion was her only choice, even though she told him that it violated her religious beliefs.
The Carters want the court to bar school officials from providing abortion counseling or referring minors to doctors without parental consent. The suit also seeks punitive damages. The Carters could not be reached for comment.
According to the suit, Hickey told her, ``Someday you'll look back on this and laugh.''
The suit alleges that Stephanie Carter would have told her parents she was pregnant if Hickey had not pressured her to seek the abortion.
The lawsuit does not offer an explanation for why Hickey allegedly pressured Stephanie Carter to seek the abortion.
In Pennsylvania, doctors may perform an abortion on a minor only if a parent or guardian consents to the procedure or a judge rules that the child can decide on her own.
Stephanie Carter, then 16, became pregnant just before moving from Murfreesboro, Tenn., in January 1998. She discovered the pregnancy in April, two months after beginning classes at Hatboro-Horsham High School. She graduated in June 1999.
Stephanie Carter met with Hickey nearly a dozen times before the second trimester abortion in May 1998, and, according to the suit, he repeatedly advised her that an abortion was her only option.
She told him of her concerns about having an abortion because of her Southern Baptist religious beliefs. He allegedly responded, according to the lawsuit, by telling her ``welcome to the adult world,'' ``time heals everything,'' and the abortion was ``for the best.''
Stephanie Carter told her parents about the abortion a few weeks after the fact. Lyman said the parents found out about the abortion when they found a soiled scrub suit and abortion pamphlets in their daughter's closet.
The American Center for Law and Justice, founded by Pat Roberston, is an antiabortion law firm based in Virginia dedicated to ``defending and advancing religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, and the two-parent, marriage-bound family.''
In 1996, a Sullivan County woman, Rosa Hartford, was found guilty of driving a 13-year-old girl to New York for an abortion without telling the girl's mother. She was sentenced to one year of probation, fined $500, and ordered to perform 150 hours of community service.
Earlier this year, Attorney General Mike Fisher defended that conviction on appeal, arguing that ``the violation is against the parent. The parent is the victim, and it's interfering with custodial right.''
* This article also contains information from the Associated Press.