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New York, NY — Planned Parenthood Federation of America released the following statement today, following a New York Times story focused on parental leave policies and pregnancy discrimination: 

Statement from Dr. Leana Wen, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“As a doctor, a public health leader, and a mother, I am deeply disappointed by a recent New York Times article that included allegations about our organization not living up to our high standards and policies.

“A core principle of reproductive health equity is the right to become a parent and raise a family free from fear and discrimination. I’m a new mother to a one-year-old boy, and I know how challenging pregnancy and returning to work can be. It is essential that all employers and all sectors of society support pregnant women and new parents.

“At Planned Parenthood, we do not tolerate discrimination or harassment, and we strongly enforce our non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. If we learn about accusations, we move immediately to investigate and address them. For confidentiality reasons, we cannot comment on specific allegations, but make no mistake: if concerns are raised or complaints brought, we investigate immediately and, where necessary, take decisive action.

“As both a former patient and the new leader of Planned Parenthood, I am well aware of the exemplary work of our 55 affiliates around the country. Every day, our skilled, dedicated staff deliver life-saving care to thousands of American families under extremely difficult conditions.

“As a public health leader who has fought for years for paid family leave legislation and accommodations for pregnant and postpartum women, I believe we must do better than we are now. It's our obligation to do better—for our staff, for their families, and for our patients.

“That is why Planned Parenthood is launching a major new initiative to review, revamp, and strengthen our parental leave policies and ensure a culture that supports pregnant and parenting staff. We will be seeking the advice of external experts who will work with the national office and affiliates to advise on best practices and assist us with implementation. We will announce the results of the review, specific actions to be taken, and resources required in the fall of 2019.  For more than 100 years, Planned Parenthood has revolutionized health care with “passion and tenacity. Now, we are unleashing that determination on improving fair workplace policies and cultures for the people that deliver our care.

“We will also continue to fight for federal and state laws to establish paid family leave and provide workers with the support they need. The New York Times article reminds us of the abiding and widespread inequity in American workplaces. Too many workers are not receiving emotional and material security for themselves and their families. This is an issue of equity, health, and justice.

“Planned Parenthood is stepping up. We encourage other employers to do the same. And we will work with our partners in organized labor, family welfare, community development, reproductive justice, and progressive advocacy to ensure that we truly respect the dignity and well-being of all workers, all families, and all people.”

Further Background:

The lack of paid family leave is an issue that impacts the majority of America:

  • America is the only developed country in the world that doesn’t offer paid time off to new parents.
  • The private nonprofit sector leads in paid family leave policies, yet 60% of private non profit employers do not offer paid time off for new parents.
  • According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017 only an estimated 15 percent of private sector workers — or just over one in seven workers — had access to paid family leave through their employer.
  • An estimated 88 percent of civilian workers are eligible for unpaid leave thanks in part to the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Up to 1 out of 4 new mothers goes back to work within two weeks, counter to medical recommendations for both maternal and infant health outcomes.

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.