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Planned Parenthood Accused of Mistreating Pregnant Employees

Planned Parenthood reportedly mistreats and discriminates against pregnant employees, according to allegations from a former medical assistant and dozens of other former and current employees.

Former Planned Parenthood employee Ta’Lisa Hairston alleged that the abortion organization didn’t allow to her take breaks or eat lunch during her pregnancy and pressured her to return to work early, The New York Times reported Thursday.

After Hairston developed high blood pressure, her doctors directed her to work shorter hours and take regular breaks. Neither Planned Parenthood supervisors nor Human Resources heeded Hairston’s requests for extra breaks, according to Hairston, The Times reported.

Hairston says she sent a number of requests to Human Resources and included notes from her nurse at Full Circle Women’s Health, according to The Times. Hairston became sick after working a long shift in March and went to the hospital a few days later where doctors performed an emergency C-section, according to The Times.

Hairston began working at a Planned Parenthood clinic in White Plains, New York in 2015. Hairston says she joined the organization because of its mission. “Planned Parenthood helped me give women a voice to do what they wanted with their bodies,” she said, according to The Times.

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Hairston resigned in June following Planned Parenthood’s alleged mistreatment. “I didn’t get into the medical field to be treated like this,” Hairston said, according to The Times.

Planned Parenthood’s regional chief executive Vincent Russell denies Hairston’s accusations.

The former director of Planned Parenthood’s clinical services in White Plains, Tracy Webber, sued the organization in 2009 for discrimination, The Times reported. She was fired four weeks after giving birth.

A Planned Parenthood employee at a clinic in New Rochelle, New York said her manager ignored her requests for breaks while she was pregnant, asked her to delay maternity leave, and pressed her to return to work early, The Times reported. A medical assistant at the clinic was fired in May the day she returned from maternity leave, according to a former human resources manager, The Times reported.

“It was looked down upon for you to get pregnant,” said former Planned Parenthood employee Carolina Delgado who worked at a clinic in Miami until 2012. Another former and current employee corroborated Delgado’s account, according to The Times.

Supervisors discriminated against pregnant job candidates, according to a former hiring manager at a Planned Parenthood in California. Pregnant mothers working at the abortion organization did not get promoted where others did, the former manager claimed.

It is illegal to discriminate against a woman “because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; and women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment-related purposes, including receipt of benefits under fringe benefit programs, as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work,” according to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Planned Parenthood denies the allegations. “All the individuals identified in the article were treated fairly and equitably, free of any discrimination,” said Mr. Russell who heads the organization’s regional office in Hawthorne, New York.

A Planned Parenthood employee at a Colorado clinic, Marissa Hamilton, gave birth to a boy in August. The baby was eight weeks premature and spent weeks in intensive care. Hamilton started a GoFundMe after her pregnancy to help with the financial strain because she could not work and the clinic does not provide paid maternity leave, The Times reported.

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Forty-nine of Planned Parenthood’s 55 regional offices don’t provide paid maternity leave, according to The Times.

Planned Parenthood’s new president Leana Wen responded to allegations, vowing the organization will do better.

Planned Parenthood will investigate the allegations, Wen tweeted Thursday. The organization will also launch a “major new initiative to review and revamp our parental leave policies … to find pathways for expanding leave benefits,” Wen tweeted.

“The New York Times article reminds us of the abiding and widespread inequity in American workplaces,” according to a Planned Parenthood statement emailed to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Too many workers are not receiving emotional and material security for themselves and their families. This is an issue of equity, health, and justice.”

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