Editor’s Note: This story will be updated as new information becomes available.
A local former Planned Parenthood director was awarded $3 million in damages Aug. 16 after winning a wrongful termination suit after a two-week trial.
Mayra Rodriguez claimed in the suit she was wrongfully terminated after reporting high complication rates for one doctor, illegal conduct of the doctor, falsification of affidavits and patient records, incomplete abortions and failure to report a minor who had an adult.
Rodriguez, who ran three Planned Parenthood centers in Arizona and worked for the organization for 17 years, sued the non-profit after being fired from her position in October 2017 after repeatedly making claims that Planned Parenthood was endangering the health and safety of their patients.
“When Mayra came to And Then There Were None with her incredible story, I felt solidarity with her, having gone through a similar situation when I worked for Planned Parenthood,” said Abby Johnson, herself a former Planned Parenthood director and author of the autobiographical “Unplanned” which was adapted for film earlier this year.
“Standing with her through the trial and rejoicing in the ultimate victory has been amazing,” added Johnson, who is also the founder and director of And Then There Were None, a ministry that has helped over 525 abortion workers leave their jobs.
There are similarities between Johnson’s and Rodriguez’s experiences. Both were named “Employee of the Year” from Planned Parenthood the year before they left. They both were directors of facilities. And they both started working for Planned Parenthood for the same reasons: to help women.
“I hope my case is a lesson to other workers that shows them that the truth will prevail,” said Rodriguez. “I also hope my case is a lesson to employers who abuse their power: sometimes the underdog wins, and justice will be done.”
Phoenix-based attorney Tim Casey, who represented Rodriguez, never asked for any dollar amount during the trial. The damages awarded came directly from the jury, who took three hours to reach their verdict.
“I’ve stared down Planned Parenthood in court. I know how hard it is watching your friends lie about you,” said Johnson. “It’s always good to take down Planned Parenthood but it’s not without hurt.”
Mike Phelan, director of the Diocese of Phoenix Office of Marriage and Respect Life, expressed his support for Rodriguez to The Catholic Sun.
“This is a powerful testimony to the movement of grace through prayer; many have been praying for Mayra and for a just verdict. The shield of lies around the abortion industry has again been pushed aside,” Phelan said. “Arizonans can be very proud of Mayra and her attorney, Tim Casey, who presented the truth so effectively.”
Rodriguez said the most hurtful things said in court were the deception by women she had considered friends and by Planned Parenthood executives themselves, who frequently referred to her as a “liar” due to her undocumented status the entire time she worked at Planned Parenthood.
“Planned Parenthood publicly states they want to help and stand up for immigrants, that they care about these women, but it’s not true. They shamed me for my immigration status,” said Rodriguez. “But here we are, the jury heard the truth.”