An Arizona court awarded a former Planned Parenthood clinic director $3 million in damages in a wrongful termination case, on Friday. Mayra Rodriguez claimed she was unfairly dismissed after raising concerns about ethical and legal breaches at abortion facilities run by the group.
In a decision rendered Aug. 16 at Maricopa County Superior Court, Judge Pamela Gates found in favor of Rodriguez, who worked for Planned Parenthood of Arizona for 17 years.
During her time with the country’s largest abortion provider, Rodriguez claims that she witnessed physician malpractice, illegal conduct of a doctor, falsification of affidavits and patient records, and failure to report a minor who had an adult partner. Following her complaints, she was terminated from her position in October of 2017, at which time she filed suit.
“I feel very, very happy, very, very blessed. It has been a very hard two years since we started this process,” said Mayra Rodriguez, former director of three Planned Parenthood clinics in Arizona, in an interview with CNA on Monday.
After managing a Title X location—where she said no abortions were performed—Rodriguez went on to manage three clinics, including one in Glendale which was one of the biggest abortion facilities in the area when she took it over in November of 2016.
There Rodriguez saw some “eye-opening” concerns, including higher complication rates from one abortionist who was also not properly charting the information of patients.
She also flagged to superiors 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, and that affidavits and patient records had been falsified.
However, the organization did not act on her complaints. “And that didn’t happen because the person I was referring to was a powerful person,” Rodriguez said. “My motivation has always been to care for women, to help, that they are being taken care of, that they received the compassionate and high-quality care.”
“And so obviously, when I saw that was not happening, I was very concerned,” she said.
After she began voicing her concerns, she noticed that her superiors “were giving me a really hard time about common, normal daily stuff from other clinics.”
Then, she was told that narcotics had been found at her desk—on a week that she had not been working there, she said—and she was fired. “I tried to explain myself, but the decision had been made,” she told CNA.
Rodriguez decided to proceed with a wrongful termination lawsuit to clear her name, beginning an almost two-year legal battle.
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