Planned Parenthood portrays itself as an organization that acts as champions for women's reproductive and political rights. But is that really accurate when it comes to what goes on inside their organization?
According to a shocking expose piece by the New York Times, the answer is no.
Despite launching multiple protests for women's rights across the country, Planned Parenthood has little sympathy for its own employees, especially the pregnant ones. Multiple staff members from Planned Parenthood report that there is a pattern of discrimination against female employees who are pregnant or could be considering becoming pregnant in clinics across the country.
Female employees report that pregnancy often factors into human resources decisions. Women have reported being denied a job or promotion while pregnant. Another woman shared that she lost her job the day she returned from maternity leave. All of which is illegal.
The environment towards pregnancy and children is so toxic in some offices that employees will volunteer to tell managers if they are single, uninterested in having children or gay. Female employees who do become pregnant are often "scared to tell managers" of the pregnancy and many felt looked down upon for getting pregnant. After women become pregnant, they often feel pressure from their human resources departments to delay their maternity leave or to return early from leave.
But that's not the worst of it. In some instances, being pregnant and working at Planned Parenthood could be a life-threatening situation.
In one instance, a Planned Parenthood clinic forced a woman with pregnancy-induced high blood pressure to work for hours without breaks, even though she had a note from her nurse explaining her medical situation. Eventually, she had to go on bed rest due in part to work related stress. She prematurely gave birth at 34 weeks, and her child had to spend time in the NICU. After giving birth, she was pressured by the human resources department at Planned Parenthood where she worked to return early, despite the Family and Medical Leave Act that guaranteed her 8 to 12 weeks of leave. She eventually resigned from the organization.
This woman almost lost her child, in part because a manager at a Planned Parenthood clinic, "the nation's leading providers of high-quality and affordable healthcare" according to its website, ignored the advice of a medical doctor. That's extremely problematic and deeply troubling. It also raises a host of questions about the competency of the medical staff and managers working at a so-called healthcare facility that receives more than $500 million in federal funding.
Did the healthcare facilitators at the office not understand the dangers of a "high-risk" pregnancy or did they just not care?
It shows Planned Parenthood's true colors, not as an organization designed to help women, but one more interested in the bottom line and destroying families than it is in healthcare. Although the purpose of the article may have been to highlight the lack of paid maternity leave within the organization, it exposed something else entirely.
Although Planned Parenthood might eventually be shamed into providing maternity leave to its employees, the culture of discrimination will continue. An organization that's dedicated to ending pregnancies at the core of its philosophy is not interested in providing support for pregnant employees or its clients. Pregnancy and life – in the eyes of Planned Parenthood - is something to end, not something to protect.