Planned Parenthood has been ordered to pay a former employee $3 million in damages after firing her for reporting illegal activities and unsafe medical practices at their clinics.
A Maricopa County jury decided Friday that Mayra Rodriguez, who worked for Planned Parenthood for 17 years and at one point oversaw three clinics, was wrongfully fired for reporting that several violations had been committed. These included not reporting the rape of a minor, the falsification of patient records, and incomplete abortions being performed, leaving women at risk of death.
In a statement released Monday by the pro-life group And Then There Were None, Rodriguez said she hopes her lawsuit, Rodriguez v. Planned Parenthood Arizona, “is a lesson to other workers that shows them that the truth will prevail.
“I also hope my case is a lesson to employers who abuse their power: sometimes the underdog wins and justice will be done,” Rodriguez added.
Rodriguez is now involved in And Then There Were None, which focuses on encouraging abortion clinic workers to leave the industry. It was founded and led by Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director whose story was depicted in the movie “Unplanned.”
“When Mayra came to And Then There Were None with her incredible story, I felt solidarity with her, having gone through a similar situation when I worked for Planned Parenthood,” Johnson said.
“Standing with her through the trial and rejoicing in the ultimate victory has been amazing.”
Planned Parenthood Arizona President Bryan Howard said he disapproved of the jury’s decision in a statement published by the Arizona Republic on Monday.
“We believe the evidence was compelling that it was our former employee’s failure to follow organization rules and procedures, which are designed to protect both patients and the public, that led to her dismissal,” Howard said.
Howard added that although “we disagree with the verdict and the damages awarded, we will not allow this event to distract from Planned Parenthood’s 100% focus on protecting access to health care for those Arizonans who need it most.”
In 2017, Rodriguez was fired after making several complaints about practices and conditions in the Planned Parenthood clinics she helped oversee.
The complaints included high complication rates for one of the doctors, among other issues.
“Ms. Rodriguez was concerned about the substantial health, welfare, and safety risks to these patients, as well as the substantial risk to the health, safety, and welfare of the inevitable future of PPA patients,” read Rodriguez’s lawsuit in part, as reported by the Arizona Republic.
Planned Parenthood claimed that the accusations of health and safety problems were unfounded, saying that state inspections had uncovered none of the problems Rodriguez brought up.