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Magdalena Olek: The controversy around Planned Parenthood

Published: 04.10.2019

Ordo Iuris

In 1916, an American feminist, Margaret Sanger, opened the first clinic in the United States of America, where women were advised on the use of contraceptives. It was also a place where dangerous procedures were performed to kill unborn children. Sanger was accused of using illegal and deadly practices, convicted and sentenced to 30 days in prison. However, it did not discourage her from continuing her activities. In the following years, she published magazines and books in which she promoted concepts which nowadays seem to be almost inhumane, such as eugenics or sterilization racism. In 1921, Sanger founded the organization American Birth Control League, which after the war changed its name to International Planned Parenthood Federation. Today, Planned Parenthood portrays itself as ‘a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world’ although, in reality, it is the most famous and largest pro-abortion organization in the world. The killing unborn children and the scandals surrounding its American branch in recent years reveal that the ideas behind her business have nothing to do with ‘planning parenthood’ or health care.

Planned Parenthood – facts

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (hereinafter: Planned Parenthood) is the most famous member of the international association called the International Planned Parenthood Federation, operating for over 100 years in the United States. Although this organization describes itself as an entity offering basic health services, fighting for women's rights and for a ‘healthier, more equal world,’ in fact, behind these slogans one can find the promotion of prenatal killing, permissive sex education, or LGBT ideology. In 2018, Planned Parenthood killed over 330,000 American unborn children and offered more than 630,000 times what they call emergency contraception, which would be the pills known as Plan B or the morning-after pill. Currently, there are over 600 clinics in the United States. In over 350 clinics abortion can be performed.

Employee scandals in Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood is trying to create an image of a non-profit organization, governed by humanistic values and principles, which allegedly protects women's rights and improves health care. It would seem, therefore, that PP should create an ideal work environment, especially for parents. However, the scandals connected with the discriminatory treatment of certain employees cast a shadow over this image created by the organization.

In August 2019, an Arizona court awarded former director of the Planned Parenthood clinic $ 3 million in damages in a wrongful termination case. She claimed she was unfairly dismissed after raising concerns about ethical and legal breaches at abortion facilities run by the group. Mayra Rodriguez also claimed that she witnessed physician malpractice, illegal conduct of a doctor, falsification of affidavits and patient records. She pointed out the increasing number of women who experienced complications after an abortion. The woman also revealed that a minor with an adult sexual partner was not reported on their first day of contact with Planned Parenthood, as mandated by law and the organization’s own policy. Rodriguez also recounts how she was made to feel ashamed of her immigrant background by the Planned Parenthood associates.

This is not the first conflict between employees and Planned Parenthoodand and not the first disappointment at the current practices which are applied to the catchy slogans proclaimed by PP. Ta'Lisa Hairston worked as a medical assistant at Planned Parenthood’s center in White Plains, New York, often taking 10-hour shifts. When she got pregnant, she asked her superiors for regular breaks and for lunch. Hairston says they ignored her nurse’s notes and rarely allowed her to even take lunch breaks. Ms. Hairston gave birth prematurely and received pressure after eight weeks to return to work early. She is just one of many women, who suffered discrimination on grounds of motherhood in the Planned Parenthood, who were reached by journalists of the New York Times during their journalistic investigation in 2018. A dozen lawsuits filed against Planned Parenthood clinics in federal and state courts since 2013 accused managers of denying workers rest periods, lunch breaks or overtime pay, or retaliating against them for taking medical leave. Managers have discriminated against pregnant women and new mothers. According to interviews with the current and former Planned Parenthood employees from California, Texas, North Carolina and New York, the managers declined to hire pregnant women and to promote new mothers. They also ignored the notes recommending frequent breaks and in some cases led to the dismissal of mothers after delivery. In Miami, women were scared to tell managers they were pregnant. In California, supervisors openly discussed the likelihood of a current or potential employee getting pregnant as a liability weighing against hirings or promotions. The press information also shows that the organization declined to hire one pregnant woman and to promote one new mother. Thus, it turns out that Planned Parenthood which is supposed to fight for women's rights and their reproductive health, in fact, violates these rights, discriminating against pregnant women and mothers.               

Financial struggle

For almost 40 years, Planned Parenthoodhas received funding from the US governments in its mission of killing unborn children. Since 1970, some part of the revenue received at Planned Parenthood is from government health services reimbursements and grants, such as Title X of the Public Health Service Act. The programme enacted by President Richard Nixon allows for funding for family planning services. According to the report of the U.S. government published in 2015, in 2010-2012 PP received $ 344.5 million from federal programs and $1.2 billion in funding from Medicaid, which combines federal and state funds (equivalent of the Polish National Health Fund for poor citizens), thus being the largest beneficiary of the program in the U.S. However, in 2019 President Donald Trump introduced the 'save life' policy, which has started enforcing regulations that prohibit Title X grant recipients from counseling patients about abortion. Two years earlier the Trump administration has expanded its ban on funding for groups that conduct abortions or advocate abortion rights, known as the global gag rule, and has also cut funding to the International Planned Parenthood Federation for that reason.

The change of law was accompanied by stormy discussions between supporters of abortion and life defenders. Meanwhile, not only prenatal killings was financed from the money of all taxpayers, but also the promotion of permissive sex education, including sexual promiscuity, gender ideology, and LGBT. What's more, in 2017 Charlotte Lozier Institute and Alliance Defending Freedom have published research in which a potential fraud by Planned Parenthood affiliate was identified. It strongly suggested that Planned Parenthood affiliates systematically take advantage of ‘overbilling’ opportunities to maximize revenues in complex. Nearly all of the 51 known external audits have found overbilling. The audits found numerous improper practices resulting in significant Medicaid overpayments of more than $8.5 million to Planned Parenthood affiliates. Another federal audit in New York found that a great number of abortion-related claims were improper. Auditors and investigators have specifically identified Planned Parenthood affiliates as the source of at least $123.8 million in waste, abuse, and potentially fraudulent overbilling and penalties.

Illegal trade of human organs?

In 2015, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt revealed shocking recordings of conversations with representatives of Planned Parenthood. They had recorded a Planned Parenthood employee arranging to sell fetal body parts for profit. One of the doctors said at the time: ‘We don’t want to do just a flat-fee (per baby) of like, $200. A per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.’ In turn, Melissa Farrell of Planned Parenthood-Gulf Coast in Houston boasted of Planned Parenthood’s skill in obtaining ‘intact fetal cadavers’. Another recorded person told about technicians taking fetal parts without patient consent.

Planned Parenthood has denied breaking the law. In order to investigate Planned Parenthood, a select committee was formed in Congress which after 15 months of work released a critical report. However, the organisation was not charged due to a lack of evidence. In December 2017, The Justice Department has launched a federal investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practices and the sale of fetal tissue.

In September 2019, the trial of David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt began in California. They are each charged with 15 counts of felony invasion of privacy due to the fact that they infiltrated and recorded abortion providers from Planned Parenthood at meetings. According to Daleiden, the case that has been launched against him is unprecedented and politically motivated. He also claims that the First Amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing freedom of speech and press has been violated. He emphasized that during the preliminary interrogations, employees of the 'abortion business' confirmed that the body parts of aborted children were being sold. Other witnesses, in turn, showed a surprising ignorance of topics related to abortion. It remains an open question of what verdict the court will pass in a case against journalists who have disclosed shocking recordings, as well as what the investigation conducted by the Department of Justice will reveal.

What sort of future awaits Planned Parenthood? There is no doubt that, despite the emerging financial problems, allegations of discrimination and violations of the law, this organization still has a strong position in the United States and plays a significant role in the fight against such values as the right to life. However, more and more people, including employees of Planned Parenthood clinics, are noticing the irreparable damage that this organization's activities bring to society. Thanks to the courage of people like Daleiden and Merritt and the impressive indomitableness of life defenders' spirit, one can hope that Planned Parenthood will gradually withdraw from public life.

Magdalena Olek - Director of the Ordo Iuris Center of International Law

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