Ex-Planned Parenthood employees offer to testify in congressional probe
Seven former employees of Planned Parenthood Federation of America affiliates expressed their support for a congressional investigation of the abortion provider this week, and offered to testify against their former employer.
In a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s leadership, circulated by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, the former employees laid out their reasons for supporting a probe.
“We support the decision by your Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to investigate various aspects of the operations of the organization of which we were once a part,” they wrote. “This examination, and the request for comprehensive documentation with which it is beginning, represent not only an appropriate exercise of government responsibility with respect to the use of tax dollars but also a clear duty to serve the best interest of women.”
The former employees note that the organization receives about $1 million a day in federal-state support and point out that this amount of money would warrant close attention even if the organization were not an abortion provider.
“We can state categorically, from personal experience, that abortion is indeed deployed as a means of family planning according to the mission of the organization for which we once worked,” they wrote.
In September the committee launched an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of federal funds, compliance with federal abortion rules and its reporting of criminal conduct, specifically sex abuse. (RELATED: Full coverage of Planned Parenthood)
On September 15, Stearns wrote a letter to Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards notifying her of the investigation and requesting a long list of documents to address specific concerns. According to the former employees’ letter, “one or more of us have personally witnessed and can testify to the validity of specific concerns.”
They say they will testify that PPFA failed to:
- Properly account for and maintain separation between government funds prohibited from use for elective abortions and those funds derived from other sources that are not subject to such limitations;
- Notify parents when a vulnerable girl is seeking an abortion, including instances when the minor girl is the victim of an act of statutory rape under applicable state law;
- Provide a woman undergoing an abortion with accurate and relevant information regarding the stage of her pregnancy, including the opportunity to view ultrasound imagery that may have had a profound impact on her decision whether or not to undergo an abortion;
- Detect and act upon instances where a girl or woman was brought to the clinic under some degree of coercion, up to and including instances where the girl or woman was subjected to human trafficking and was a victim of crime;
- Engage in appropriate financial controls and billing practices to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal laws.
Planned Parenthood explained to TheDC in a statement that, as a health care provider for one in five American women offering a wide range of services, they take their legal obligations very seriously.
“In addition to providing essential health care, we have a strong record of fiscal responsibility,” they wrote. “We follow all local, state and federal laws and comply with all regulations applicable to the receipt and use of federal and state funds. We are regularly audited — not only by independent auditors retained by the state but also by our own outside auditors. We have a zero-tolerance policy with employees regarding noncompliance with state laws concerning reporting instances of child abuse.”
Planned Parenthood further noted that the organization has thousands of employees. The seven women supporting a congressional probe have no proof of their allegations, the group contends.
“Planned Parenthood’s nearly 800 health centers currently employ more than 10,000 highly trained staff, including nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals who provide essential care to patients everyday. This letter from seven former employees offers no evidence to support their misleading claims and simply recycles old and discredited attacks,” they wrote.
The organization added that, as Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Diana DeGette of Colorado noted in a recent letter objecting to the probe, the Health and Human Services inspector general and state Medicaid programs regularly audit the organization and have not found “any pattern of misuse of federal funds, illegal activity or other abuse that would justify a broad and invasive congressional investigation.”
The letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee included Catherine Adair, former employee of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts; Dr. Patti Giebink, former abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota; Abby Johnson, former clinic director of Planned Parenthood Center for Choice in Bryan, TX; Luis Maldonado, former clinic assistant at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte in San Jose, CA; Sue Thayer, former clinic manager of Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa / Planned Parenthood of the Heartland; Ramona Trevino, former clinic manager of Planned Parenthood of North Texas; and Patricia Sandoval, former clinic employee of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte in Sacramento, CA.