Planned Parenthood continues to face allegations of systemic racism as more former staffers file lawsuits and testify to poor treatment while working for the nation’s number one abortion corporation.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that at least two dozen racial discrimination lawsuits have been filed against various Planned Parenthood affiliates, with staffers telling the outlet that racism is an inherent part of the company’s culture. One was an affiliate COO. Another alleged a hostile work environment where Black employees were treated “with disdain.” Another woman, a Black nurse practitioner, says her manager threw a patient’s urine sample at her desk, allowing urine to splash all over her desk. Eventually, she was laid off — in retaliation, she claims, for filing complaints of racial discrimination — in 2021.
“What if this is someone else’s dream job and they look like me?” the woman, Michelle Fisher, said. “I want other people to be able to go in there and not be treated like that.”
She has since filed a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central and Southern New Jersey, which is still ongoing. “If we can’t count on Planned Parenthood to respect Black employees, how can we count on them to care for people of color as patients?” asked Valerie Shore, Fisher’s attorney.
Planned Parenthood has a long, well-documented history of racism, which dates back to its very founding. Though the abortion corporation has since tried to disaffiliate itself from founder Margaret Sanger, her legacy of racism and eugenics still runs through the organization. Many men whom Sanger hired to serve on her board were known eugenicists — some with ties to the Ku Klux Klan. She also organized experimental birth control testing on Puerto Rican women without their knowledge or consent, and supported the Supreme Court’s Buck v. Bell decision, which allowed anyone deemed “unfit” to be sterilized without their consent.
Today, hundreds of employees continue to allege a culture of racism and white supremacy exists at Planned Parenthood.
Allegations against Planned Parenthood are wide-ranging, from Black employees labeled “angry” to orthodox Jewish women being derided as “birthing factories” who needed birth control. A Vietnamese employee said her manager screamed at her, “It’s so annoying that you can’t speak English!”
Eve J. Higginbotham, the vice dean for inclusion and diversity at University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, told the Inquirer that the number of complaints and lawsuits suggest a much larger problem than Planned Parenthood wants to admit. “If I’m at the executive leadership level of an organization like Planned Parenthood, I would certainly look at the processes we have in place if I got even one complaint like that,” she said. “Having several suggests there is a systemic issue.”