NRL News

PPFA staffers say Nashville clinic “prioritized money over patients”

by | Dec 19, 2018

By Dave Andrusko

Last week we reported the encouraging news that the last abortion clinic in Nashville had ceased offering abortions. But why did they make that decision?

According to a statement from officials with Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, which operates the north Nashville clinic, the clinic was “undergoing a period of quality improvement and will return with these services soon.”

Anita Wadhwani’s story in The Tennessean added that the clinic was “referring patients to clinics hundreds of miles away in Knoxville and Memphis”; that officials “could not say when the clinic would resume providing abortions”; and that a spokeswoman said “The organization has a shortage of abortion providers.”

But what does all this mean, especially the part described by Tereva Parham as a “period of quality improvement”? Steven Hale, writing for the alternative newspaper the Nashville Scene, offered answers.

The explosive headline read, “Former Planned Parenthood Employees Allege Mismanagement: In the wake of suspension of abortion services, clinic staffers say new management prioritized money over patients.”

Hale is no crusading pro-lifer. He is very sympathetic to the “four staffers from the facility, some of whom have lost their jobs as a result of the closure,” whom Hale clearly sees as idealists.

In fact, he writes, they expressed concern that going public “would only fuel the rhetoric of anti-abortion activists. …But ultimately, they say, a concern for their patients and a belief that this wasn’t the way things had to go moved them to speak.”

The way the news that the clinic would no long perform abortions—“blunt” and “cold” and delivered just 24 hours in advance— “is in line with what they describe as a number of recent policy changes at the clinic that they perceived as being designed to prioritize money over patients.”

Hale begins with the intriguing tidbit that when he emailed Parham for a follow up comment, “an automatic email response came back: ‘Be advised, Tereva Parham is no longer employed at Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi.’”

He then goes through a very disturbing litany that included:

  • ”A loan program, through which the clinic lent patients money to cover the cost of their first appointment, was canceled, with new leadership citing mismanagement of the program and low rates of repayment.”
  • “Staffers were instructed to begin charging patients for IV sedation, which had previously been included with the abortion procedure.”
  • “New management stopped providing doctors with sterile gloves and, staffers say, wanted to use small plastic drinking cups for urine samples.”

One of the staffers told Hale, “It felt like everything they did was money-motivated, not motivated by [concern for] the patient.”

What about the aforementioned “quality improvement”?

“[S]ome former staff members say they believe that’s a euphemism for replacing employees who pushed back on troublesome policy changes with new ones who will be more compliant,” Hale writes.

It’ll be interesting to see what Anita Wadhwani discovers in the weeks to come. We can say two things for certain.

First, PPFA says of itself that “Our 56 unique, locally governed affiliates nationwide operate more than 600 health centers, which reflect the diverse needs of their communities.” But contrary to the media-manufactured myth, the Planned Parenthood conglomerate is not some gigantic do-gooder that is disinterested in making money.

Second, early in her story dated December 12, Wadhwani wrote, “On Monday, the Nashville Planned Parenthood clinic was open for non-abortion services, but its waiting room was empty.”

Keep that in mind every time you read PPFA’s assurance that abortion constitutes “only 3%” of its “services.”

Categories: PPFA