Sens. Greg Lavelle, R-Sharpley, and Colin Bonini, R-Dover South, are encouraging fellow lawmakers to look at new testimony heard July 30 at a second public hearing concerning accusations of patient mistreatment at Planned Parenthood of Delaware.
Testimony was heard from three former Planned Parenthood employees, including a former manager who spoke publicly for the first time.
During her testimony, Melody Meanor, who worked at the Wilmington clinic for three months in 2012, called Planned Parenthood’s practices “neglectful conduct that has put women in unnecessary danger.”
Meanor said Planned Parenthood failed to inform as many as 200 women of their positive tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia and failed to notify 87 women of the results of their colposcopies. A colposcopy can help determine if a patient has a greater risk of cervical cancer.
Meanor also testified that Planned Parenthood put women in grave danger by failing to properly train and supervise employees. She urged anyone who has had an abortion, STD test or a colposcopy at Planned Parenthood to see an outside physician and, if necessary, “seek justice.”
Former nurses Joyce Vasikonis and Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich, both of whom also testified at a Senate hearing at Legislative Hall in May, recounted the “meat-market style assembly-line abortions” which led them to quit their jobs.
In 2012, Vasikonis and Mitchell-Werbrich reported their complaints to the Division of Public Health, the Division of Professional Regulation and the governor’s office. Mitchell-Werbrich testified her concerns went unanswered for months.
“How could you not be concerned? How could you not demand that something different be done?” Lavelle asked.
“The deeper we dig, the worse it gets,” Bonini said. “The people expect this to get fixed and we have to work to make sure that happens.”
In May, the state agencies announced that they had completed an investigation of Planned Parenthood, but failed to discover serious medical problems. After the nurses filed a complaint with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Planned Parenthood Delaware was cited for several violations.
Subsequently, the Delaware Attorney General's Office filed a formal complaint against Dr. Timothy F. Liveright. The former Planned Parenthood doctor, who has surrendered his Delaware license, was cited for repeated acts of misconduct, incompetence and negligence while practicing medicine at the Wilmington clinic.
“I hope that my colleagues in the General Assembly will listen and read the testimony of these ladies and take it seriously,” Lavelle said. “We are trying to give a voice to the voiceless, not to end abortion. Abortion is legal in the United States of America and it’s legal here in Delaware, but that doesn’t mean that people who provide those and related healthcare services to women should be lazy, neglectful and offering services that border on malpractice. And that’s what we heard yesterday.”