Human Rights

San Antonio woman sues employer, alleges forced abortion, wrongful death

A San Antonio woman amended a sexual discrimination lawsuit this week, accusing her former employer of coercing her into an abortion, in addition to his alleged sexual discrimination and harassment.

The woman, Stephanie Cordero, joined her attorneys and Allan Parker of The Justice Foundation on Thursday on the steps of the Bexar County Courthouse in San Antonio, at a press conference announcing the amended suit. In January of 2015, Cordero, a former salesperson at Tom Benson Chevrolet, filed a sex discrimination suit against the dealership and her manager, Ernesto Davila. The amended suit, The Justice Foundation says, is even more serious…

Stephanie Cordero has amended her pleading to allege that Ernesto Davila, who at the time was her manager at Tom Benson Chevrolet coerced her into having an abortion, with the threat that if she didn’t, her ability to sell cars would be hurt, and that she would eventually be terminated.

Cordero’s complaint says that while she was employed at Tom Benson Chevrolet, she made “numerous complaints to the HR department and the General Sales Manager, Tony Osborne and the General Manager, Paul Osterman, about Defendant sexually harassing her.” The complaint continues:

Plaintiff complained about sexual harassment to Lisa Sherblom and others in the Human Resources Department at Tom Benson Chevrolet. Plaintiff showed Lisa Sherblom texts that Defendant Davila had sent Ms. Cordero. Ms. Cordero explained to Miss Sherblom that and others about the continuing harassment.

Despite Sherblom saying she would speak to Davila about his behavior, as well as report it to General Manager Osterman, the complaint says that all of Cordero’s complaints were ignored, and ultimately she was fired.

However, the sexual harassment took a dark turn, the plaintiff’s suit says, when she became pregnant with a child she wanted to have but the defendant harassed and bullied her into an abortion she resisted but eventually had. Thus, the suit is alleging wrongful death of the baby.

Plaintiff wanted the child, but upon learning of Plaintiff’s pregnancy, Defendant Davila was relentless and insisted and coerced plaintiff to end the pregnancy by abortion…. Davila, through and abuse and miss use of his position at Tom Benson Chevrolet, bullied her to have the abortion, telling her that her income and employment depended on her obtaining an abortion. Only because of the duress, coercion, threats and/or verbal assault by Defendant Davila did Plaintiff go through with the procedure. Defendant Davila ensured Plaintiff complied with his demands by accompanying her and paying for the abortion, which wrongfully ended her child’s life.

The suit alleges that Davila’s coercion, intimidation, bullying, and threats violated section 71.002 of the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code constituting Wrongful Death. It adds that the “deceased child was an individual cognizable under Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code Section 71.001 (3) and (4).”

The Justice Foundation says that forced abortions are more common than people realize, and one of its aims is to stop the practice:

Forced abortion is a frequent occurrence in Texas and the United States.  Whatever one’s opinion is on abortion, everyone agrees that forced abortion is wrong.  In many cases, the father of the child is forcing the woman to abort his child because he does not want to take responsibility for his action. Forced abortion is illegal and men who get women pregnant should know they cannot force, coerce or unduly pressure a woman into having an abortion.  The Justice Foundation has spoken with women in many types of situations over the years and will continue to do all it can to prevent forced abortions, and to help and seek justice for women who have been victims of a forced abortion.

During Thursday’s press conference, the San Antonio Express-News reports Allan Parker, president of The Justice Foundation, said:

Most people don’t even know forced abortion is against the law. Regardless of your position on abortion, everyone agrees it’s supposed to be the woman’s choice. No one can legally force or coerce or unduly pressure a woman into having an abortion, and yet sadly it is very common.

Cordero’s suit asks for unspecified damages under the wrongful death complaint which include:

  1. Grief, and bereavement.

  2.  Loss of companionship, society, love and affection.

  3. Loss of comfort, enjoyment of life, care, comfort, services, advice and counsel.

These damages have been suffered by plaintiff Stephanie Cordero in the past and in all reasonable probability will be suffered in the future because of the loss of plaintiff’s unborn child.

The suit says that both Davila and Tom Benson Chevrolet are liable for the damages.

The San Antonio Express-News reports that one of her attorneys, George LeGrand,  said in the press conference, “She was devastated by this. She did not want to give up her child. She did not want to have an abortion.”

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