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Pregnant employees face discrimination, mistreatment at Planned Parenthood: report

'It was looked down upon for you to get pregnant'

Scott Olson/Getty Image

Pregnant women who work at Planned Parenthood clinics often face discrimination, pressure to work beyond doctor recommendations, and do not get paid maternity leave, according to The New York Times.

The Times spoke with numerous former employees and executives with the company, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Leana Wen acknowledged the company's failings.

"I believe we must do better than we are now," Wen said in a statement. "It's our obligation to do better, for our staff for their families and for our patients."

What are some examples? Carolina Delgado, a former employee of Planned Parenthood's Miami office, said women were scared to tell their supervisors they were pregnant.

"It was looked down upon for you to get pregnant," Delgado told the Times. "I don't think that any supervisor had to literally say it for us to feel it."

One former hiring manager told NYT that supervisors openly debated the likelihood that a candidate for a promotion would get pregnant, in violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Ta'Lisa Hairston, a former employee at the White Plains, New York, clinic said managers ignored doctor's notes recommending that she take frequent breaks due to her high blood pressure threatening her pregnancy. Pushed to work hours longer than her doctor said she should, she was placed on bed rest and gave birth via emergency C-section weeks earlier than planned.

Eight weeks into her 12-week leave for the birth, she said Planned Parenthood began calling her urging her to return to work early.

What does Planned Parenthood say about this? Christine Charbonneau, head of the Planned Parenthood Seattle regional office, said money plays a big role in why pregnant women don't get paid maternity leave.

"It is easy to accuse someone of hypocrisy if you're not the one trying to find $2 million out of thin air," Charbonneau said, citing the amount it would cost to provide maternity leave for employees in her region.

While some, like Vincent Russell (who heads up Planned Parenthood's Hawthorne, N.Y. office) maintain that pregnant women are treated fairly, NYT said numerous executives said off the record that they hoped an article exposing the working conditions would lead to change.

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