It’s been a bad week for Planned Parenthood. Not only did they lose about $60 million when the organization rejected Title X funds over new regulations, but the organization is now also being forced to pay a former employee $3 million for wrongful termination.
Mayra Rodriguez first applied to work at Planned Parenthood after a friend mentioned that the organization was hiring. She had a passion for women’s health and the medical field and working at Planned Parenthood seemed like a perfect fit.
“I didn’t know a lot about Planned Parenthood,” Mayra said in an interview with The Daily Citizen. “But I knew they did women’s health care, so I decided to give it a try. I dedicated myself to their mission.”
For most of her time at Planned Parenthood, things were going well. Mayra was in fact such a great employee that she was able to rise through the ranks and manage several offices in Arizona. But her perspective on the organization shifted when she was put in charge of the Glendale location, which is the company’s biggest abortion clinic in the state of Arizona. Particularly, she started to notice that things weren’t quite right.
“(The abortionist wasn’t) charting appropriately what happened in the room,” she said. “It wasn’t just one patient—it was a couple of them. We also had an issue with the affidavits, which were implemented in the state in 2017. We got in a debate about when that form would be signed, and it wasn’t signed at the appropriate time. I brought those concerns to my superiors and it didn’t go anywhere.”
The affidavits that Planned Parenthood had to sign were part of an Arizona law. It required that abortionists sign a statement saying that the abortion was not occurring because of a “child’s sex or race.” If the document wasn’t signed on time or in the right condition, it meant that the state’s requirements for a legal abortion were not being met.
There was also a serious issue of patient mis-charting, which means that a patient could have been misled about a possible abortion-related complication. During an abortion procedure, some patients pay extra for sedation and could remain unaware about a medical issue that arose during the procedure unless they’re informed by the medical staff or if it is in the charts.
Mayra brought these legitimate concerns about patient safety to her supervisor, but she was simply brushed off. She soon became more and more vocal about what she was seeing, hoping that her concerns would be recognized, and actions taken. Mayra also tried to get the organization to hire a nurse practitioner to expand the services available, but that request also didn’t go anywhere. Planned Parenthood instead decided to end Mayra’s employment.
By that point, Mayra was a 17-year veteran of the organization. She had even been invited on a Washington D.C. trip where she met former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, but when she expressed concerns about patient safety, she was deemed unsuitable to continue her work at Planned Parenthood.
Mayra decided to sue for wrongful termination and won a $3.3 million settlement. She was able to successfully argue in court that the main reason for her termination wasn’t the quality of her job performance, but that she repeatedly expressed to her superiors concerns about the complication rates for one abortionist, the failure to report a possible relationship between a minor and an adult and other medical and ethical issues.
Before her termination, the office accused her of possessing narcotics. A low blow for the abortion business, but not surprising.
“I felt deceived,” Mayra said. “Imagine you’ve been married to a person for 17-years and all of a sudden they are cheating on you and the deception that you feel in your heart. The safety of women is my priority and that’s what kept me there. Providing affordable and quality health care for them.”
But the truth prevailed. The jury saw through Planned Parenthood’s smear campaign. They recognized that all Mayra wanted to do was ensure that the women coming into the clinics she managed were safe by raising the alarm about an incompetent abortionist and other issues that could compromise patient safety. Post-trial, Mayra is thinking about taking some of her settlement and going back to school.