Planned Parenthood Fights Hard For Abortion Rights. How Hard Will It Fight For $15 Minimum Wage?

Abby Johnson | Former Planned Parenthood Clinic Director

Planned Parenthood is a tough place to work the hours are long, the work is emotionally draining, the paperwork is endless and the morale can run low.

Employees understand all of this, and at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, staff at 14 chapters of that group have asked to form a union.

The nation’s biggest unions like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Planned Parenthood have worked together seamlessly to support abortion rights. They’ve rallied together at the U.S. Supreme Court on everything from Obamacare to the Whole Woman’s Health case. Planned Parenthood has paid the SEIU to make telemarketing calls in support of pro-abortion candidates. They’ve worked hand-in-hand to make sure that any woman who wants an abortion can have one.

But on this issue, these two organizations are opposed. SEIU is helping Planned Parenthood staff to form a union following complaints of long hours and pay below $15 per hour. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America is saying no, even going so far as to ask the Trump administration to help them.

The irony of this situation is laughable. Perhaps even more ironic is that Planned Parenthood is imposing the very same hardship on their own employees that they claim pro-life legislation imposes on their patients. According to this story, SEIU “and Obama-appointed NLRB member Lauren McFerran claimed, however, organizing across three states would prove an extremely difficult feat in that workers in Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico would need to rally.”

When any kind of legislation passes in efforts to restrict abortion or protect the safety of women, Planned Parenthood always claims that patients have to travel hundreds of miles for their needs to be met. Yet by refusing to allow their employees to organize, they are imposing this same “hardship” on their staff.

I rose through the ranks at Planned Parenthood in Texas many years ago, starting as a volunteer clinic escort to working inside with patients to eventually becoming the clinic director. It was extremely hard work and I was constantly trying to figure out how to improve morale there. Even so, we were a tight group of employees and worked long hours, believing we were helping women.

But my superiors did not encourage employees when they started having families. It was suggested to me that I hold off on having kids so I could focus 60-plus hours a week on my job. I was away from my family, from my husband and friends. I became enslaved to my work and Planned Parenthood encouraged it.

And I’m not the only one. I left Planned Parenthood in 2009 and have since started an organization called And There Were None, which helps abortion workers leave their jobs and find new ones.

We’ve helped over 450 former abortion workers so far and the sentiment from them is the same over and over again: they all wanted to help women and to do something good in this world when they started working for Planned Parenthood. They were promised money, status, incentives and being part of a team. But once they figured out that Planned Parenthood is in the business of making money by preying on the vulnerable, it was too late.

Like these 135 employees of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, they’ve realized they are not being paid enough to deal with the “intense and emotional work” they do.

That’s an understatement. The abortion industry and their workers are under unique pressure and constantly in the spotlight because abortion is so controversial and people on both sides are considerably passionate. This isn’t a typical nine-to-five job. It’s on a whole other level of intensity.

Labor laws in Colorado require employers to pay their employees “overtime at a rate of one-and-a-half times their regular rate if they work more than 40 hours a week, more than 12 hours in a workday, or 12 consecutive hours.” The state also requires “employers to provide rest breaks, including a paid 10-minute break for every four hours worked.”

Many of our clients coming out of the abortion industry find these laws laughable. Time is money and the more breaks given, the less money that is made. With the incentives to sell more and quotas to meet, a break meant you were not strong enough to cut it in this industry.

If Planned Parenthood isn’t following these labor laws, employees should absolutely form a union. They deserve to be treated with respect. The other option is to leave and don’t look back. They deserve better than walking into Planned Parenthood every day and being treated like a dollar sign.

Abby Johnson is president of And Then There Were None and author of Unplanned.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

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