What the Planned Parenthood wrongful termination lawsuit reveals

October 1, 2019

Mayra Rodriquez was fired from Planned Parenthood after 15 years of service at a clinic in Arizona. Last month, Rodriquez won $3 million for wrongful termination in her court case against the abortion giant, who fired her soon after she began raising questions concerning medical reports from post-abortive patients treated by one doctor in particular.

Her lawsuit stated that she had substantial concerns about the “health, welfare and safety risks” of patients. Multiple staff members had also complained to her about working with the doctor in question, noting that he would require them to sign an affidavit related to the success of the procedure before it was even performed.

On another occasion, Rodriquez reported a staff member who failed to report a statutory rape case, where a minor received an abortion. Planned Parenthood has been caught before urging minors not to reveal the age of their partners or assuring young women it will not report illegal sexual relationships, so this revelation isn’t surprising.

Rodriquez’s lawsuit also states that she asked questions about staff having open-door access to a medicine room. It was only after Rodriquez brought these concerns to a supervisor multiple times that the organization chose to fire her after 15 years of service—on what she says was a bogus claim of possessing narcotics in her desk drawer and poor work. 

Is this consistent with what we know about Planned Parenthood?

For years, many Christians have opposed Planned Parenthood for its devotion to abortion, but some have questioned whether a place that provides some health care services—like birth control and health screenings—to marginalized women, should be so quickly shut out of the conversation. Yet, as this and other incidents reveal, abortion is core to Planned Parenthood’s mission. 

In reality, the organization supports zero restrictions on abortion for any reason at any time, despite the fact that the public doesn’t stand with them on this. According to an NPR/Marist poll, 61% of the population wants restrictions of some kind. Though Planned Parenthood presumes to speak for women, it holds a minority view and knows that any negative press regarding the safety or legitimacy of its services will increase its negative perception.

Recently, Planned Parenthood headquarters fired its new president, Dr. Leana Wen, for not focusing stringently enough on abortion. The New York Times reported that Wen “wanted to significantly reorient the group’s focus away from the abortion wars and move toward its role as a women’s healthcare provider.” 

Months after that debacle, the organization chose not to accept federal funding to the tune of $60 million after a Trump administration rule that would bar them from referring for abortions. These combined incidents leave zero doubt about just how important abortion is for its business model, despite its regular protestations that abortion only 3% of its services. That statistic has been discredited for the misleading way it is calculated, and the latest scandals bolster that explanation. 

Rodriquez’ concerns about medical safety and protocol with minor patients should have been taken seriously, but abortion clinics nationwide often escape the stringent regulations of normal medical clinics. Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice groups have labeled new regulations to ensure women’s safety and security as “TRAP laws” that target abortion clinics to reduce access. In reality, these clinics want to be known as “healthcare providers” and should be held up to medical standards that uphold the dignity of the women they serve. 

Rodriquez isn’t the only Planned Parenthood worker who was fired or left the business after sounding alarm bells about questionable practices. Abby Johnson’s organization “And Then There Were None” exists specifically to help former abortion clinic workers leave and find legal, spiritual, and financial help. Thus far, Johnson’s organization has helped nearly 500 women leave the abortion industry, and their testimonies have helped shut down several clinics that were not abiding by sanitary or sanctioned practices.

What should Christians think about this?

When thinking about this exposé of Planned Parenthood and similar clinics, Christians should first consider the women affected by the clinic’s actions. Women should be treated with dignity and given the highest level of care. In this case, we should applaud the exposer of a company that exploits vulnerable women, refuses to comply with standard medical regulations, and fails its legal obligations to report rape. It’s clear Planned Parenthood doesn’t exist to serve women, but to serve its bottom line—one that is bolstered by more abortions. 

According to its 2017-2018 annual report, Planned Parenthood performed over 332,000 abortions and made over $1 billion revenue. Each individual clinic is responsible for bringing in its own revenue, thus the corruption at the local clinic level. With little oversight and a growing collection of former employees who have recognized the deception and sinister tactics of an organization they once thought existed to help women, it’s important for Christians to recognize Planned Parenthood for what it is. 

There are over 13,000 other women’s health clinics across the country, where low-income women can receive health screenings, birth control, pap smears, and any other true healthcare needs they have. Rodriquez’s case is just one of many that points to pregnancy resources centers as better options. 

Ericka Andersen

Ericka Andersen is a freelance writer. Her first book, Leaving Cloud 9: The True Story of a Life Resurrected From the Ashes of Poverty, Trauma and Mental Illness was released by Thomas Nelson in 2018. She lives in Indianapolis, Ind., with her husband and two children. Read More

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24