A former Planned Parenthood clinic director who was fired after pointing out ethical and legal transgressions to her superiors was awarded $3 million in damages Friday for wrongful termination.
Judge Pamela Gates found in favor of former Planned Parenthood employee Mayra Rodriguez in her ruling at Maricopa County Superior Court, Arizona, putting an end to a two-year legal battle.
Rodriguez testified she had reported medical malpractice, illegal conduct of a doctor, falsification of affidavits and patient records, and the failure to report the case of a minor who had an adult partner and was a victim of statutory rape, but that her complaints had fallen on deaf ears.
Moreover, in October of 2017, some two months after she had brought these issues to her supervisors’ attention, Rodriguez was sacked from her position, at which time she filed suit.
Rodriguez worked for Planned Parenthood for 17 years, during which time she managed three clinics, including one in Glendale, AZ, where she witnessed a series of “eye-opening” irregularities, such as the failure to report a minor with an adult sexual partner, which is required by law as well as Planned Parenthood’s official policy, she told Catholic News Agency (CNA) in an interview Monday.
Along with this, she said that affidavits and patient records had been falsified and that one abortionist who was also not properly charting patient information experienced higher complication rates among his clients.
In her lawsuit, Rodriguez claimed she had been approached by five medical assistants who complained about working with a certain doctor who was requiring them to sign an affidavit prior to the abortion, stating that the proper things were removed after the surgery was done.
“The medical assistants believed the attestations were premature, wrong, and illegal because the abortion surgery had not yet been performed and they were concerned about the quality and thoroughness of the procedures,” the lawsuit stated.
Nevertheless, Rodriguez said that Planned Parenthood management did not act on her complaints “because the person I was referring to was a powerful person.”
“And so obviously, when I saw that was not happening, I was very concerned,” she said.
Her superiors began “giving me a really hard time about common, normal daily stuff from other clinics,” she said, and not long afterward she was informed that narcotics had been found in her desk — during a week she had not been working there — and she was let go.
Rodriguez said that she was relieved the legal battle was over but is very pleased with the outcome.
“I feel very, very happy, very, very blessed,” she said.
“It has been a very rough two years. A lot of deception, and a lot of pain,” she told CNA. “I lost a lot of friends throughout these two years, especially since I lost my job. People just stopped talking to me the moment they hear I submitted a lawsuit.”
“Some of them still work there, so I understand. But there were others, formerly that used to work there, and ‘oh, I don’t want to be involved,’” she said. “It hurts, because there were some moments where you feel like you’re standing there alone.”
She received support, on the other hand, from Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who left the abortion industry and whose story is told in the film Unplanned.
“I felt solidarity with her, having gone through a similar situation when I worked for Planned Parenthood,” Johnson said in a statement following Friday’s ruling.
“Standing with her through the trial and rejoicing in the ultimate victory has been amazing,” she said.