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One good, one bad

You have probably read elsewhere in the blogosphere the good, indeed joyous, news that a director of a Planned Parenthood facility in Texas has resigned, citing a "conversion," though apparently she already considered herself a Christian and means only a conversion away from her pro-abortion position. It sounds as if her conscience had been bothering her for some time, but two things catalyzed her decision to quit: First of all, her employers appeared in their true colors, pushing her to sell abortion more aggressively to bring in more cash. I'm going to guess (though she doesn't say so) that she had been one of these types who say, "I'm not pro-abortion, I'm pro-choice," and obviously this would not sit well with selling abortions like corn chips. The second thing was seeing an abortion on ultrasound, presumably one performed at her facility.

Anyone who has prayed outside an abortion mill knows that one of the things one prays for is the conversion of those who work there. This is undoubtedly an answer to many, many prayers.

Planned Parenthood has gotten a restraining order against her, telling her not to release any "confidential information." As far as I can tell, "confidential information" isn't defined, and the really damning revelation--about their push for more abortions--is out of the bag already, so one wonders what they are still trying to hide.

For the other side of the coin, we have to turn to the Dominican Sisters in Hinsdale, IL.

A "nun" (I use the term advisedly), named Donna Quinn, a notorious dissident, is acting as an escort at the local Planned Parenthood. Her superior defends her, stating (falsely) that the pro-lifers praying at the clinic and trying to dissuade women from going into the abortion mill are "abusive" and that Sr. Donna is there for that reason. In actuality, it sounds like the abuse is being shouted by Sr. Donna, who has been known to yell at sidewalk counselors, "Look at these men, telling these women what to do with their bodies!" As one commentator at Scott W's site put it, it would be less evil for the Sister to run a different kind of escort service.

What I find striking about these two stories is the fact that the director of the Texas clinic clearly had a softer heart to begin with than this "nun" does. The "nun" is a rampaging ideologue, whereas the Texas director was apparently trying to tell herself some sort of comforting lies which ultimately became untenable.

But with God all things are possible. I guess we have'ta pray for Sr. Quinn.

Comments (29)

Planned Parenthood has gotten a restraining order against her, telling her not to release any "confidential information." As far as I can tell, "confidential information" isn't defined, and the really damning revelation--about their push for more abortions--is out of the bag already, so one wonders what they are still trying to hide.

How interesting. One wonders (at least I do) what kind of information could be considered protected? Certainly there are private things one cannot reveal, e.g. employee review files, but such a mandate seems rather broad. Would I be (legally) incorrect to assume that there could very well be lots of information that she has access to that wouldn't be available to censure?

As one commentator at Scott W's site put it, it would be less evil for the Sister to run a different kind of escort service.

This is one of those comments I don't want to laugh at in general, but especially considering the topic, but I can't help myself. It is rather comical, especially considering I think it accurate.

Actually, we have to pray for her superiors. The first rule in moral theology is that one may not do evil that good may come from it. This sister (she is not, technically a nun because she is not enclosed - would that she were) is facilitating an evil and her superiors are either blind to what she is doing or turning a deaf ear or actually support it. No amount of rationalization is going to make that any different. There is a review of Religious communities going on in the United States right now and hopefully, the Vatican will not be fooled.

The use of the term pro-choice is silly as you have choice, whether you are pro it or not. It is like being pro-left arm. I doubt whether God cares what anyone thinks of his idea to make humans with left arms any more than he cares whether one is pro or con the fact that he gave humans free will. Pro-choice, must necessarily mean pro-the right to do something evil, because pro the right to do good is redundant, since we are commanded to do good. I favor the term abortion supporter or let's just call it what it is, homicidal mania, since if one will kill a child, one will kill anyone. Pretending the fetus is not a child does not alter facts, it merely blinds one to them.

The conversion of the abortion worker is heartening news, but she must do so sort of reparation to help correct the moral disorder her actions have caused. I think she should ignore the immoral restraining order and speak out, loudly and clearly, lawsuits be damned.

The Chicken

It's okay, Robert, I'm sure it was meant to be humorous in a slightly dark way. I certainly meant it that way.

I have no idea what PP thinks it can do with this restraining order. My _guess_, but it's only a guess, is that they haven't got a legal leg to stand on concerning anything the former director was even thinking of telling. (For example, I'm sure she had no intention at all of divulging the names of patients.) So my _guess_ is that it's pure intimidation without any real legal foundation. Get a restraining order against her doing what would have been illegal anyway (violating privacy laws, for example, regarding patient info.) and then hope that she will be intimidated by the vagueness of the mandate into not speaking out at all. Closing the barn door after the horse has got out, for one thing, and bullying, for another.

I came up with another dark analogy when one commentor defended the sister's actions by comparing it to the ministry we give murderers in prison. Namely, that escorting a woman to have an abortion is as much ministering to them as driving a contract killer to his target and leaving the engine running for a quick getaway.

Generally, employees of any organizations sign a non-disclosure agreement. Texas, being one of those states that holds employer/employee contracts as sacred, likely provides no protection whatsoever to this former employee.

As for PP employee convert, kudos.

Non-disclosure of _what_, though? Of anything that anybody said to you within the company? I shd. add that the director of the local pro-life group has also been served with a similar restraining order though he was never their employee.

Another party could be enjoined to an agreement if there was evidence that they received protected information. At least that is what my fictitious Internet law degree says. As far as what is covered, everything! As far as the particulars, I'll be interested in what any specialists have to say here. Experientially, employer protections are so strong that I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up being sued before this is done.

TRO's have to be very speicifically defined. I find it odd that a TRO would issue merely for disclosure of confidential information without some strict parameters of what types of info would be confidential (eg, names of patients, medical conditions, perhaps names of employees). Shouldn't be that hard to dissolve. Addtionally, TROs are onlygood for 14 days, with one optional 14 day extension, and then an application for a permanent injunction must be made. I wonder if PP posted a bond for the TRO as is required under Texas law (although the amount would probably not be much in this case).

Bryan is in Brazos County which has a lot of its case info on the web.

Non-disclosure of _what_, though? Of anything that anybody said to you within the company?

It depends on how the NDA is worded of course, but yes, an NDA can cover everything that is said, heard, read, etc within a building or between employees.

Thanks for the info., Todd. I assume that wouldn't apply (though this apparently isn't relevant here) if there were illegal activity going on, right?

But something like that really is a very strong kind of anti-whistle-blower maneuver. Even if illegal activities are exempted, any dirty business practices short of that must be covered up. Bad news.

I wonder how that squares with lawsuits for harassment and so forth. If an employee sued for discrimination in discharge, harassment, or something like that, the employee would have to disclose what had been said as evidence, even if conversations, etc., were not in and of themselves illegal.

There are whistleblower laws which can protect the whistleblowers. NDAs by and large are civil agreements and thus criminal cases can render them moot with the proper subpoenas and testimony. In the few cases I've seen, where an NDA and testimony conflict and the information revealed in the testimony would pose a risk to one party or the other, the records can be sealed. (I'm not a laywer though).


In case you didn't see it, this column from Ms. Lopez over at NRO is good:


Imagine that the Catholic Church is concerned that their nuns are defending the indefensible!

If I copied this right, you can find the Brazos PP case and TRO here:


No shocker, but PP is represented by Vinson & Elkins - the evil law firm of Enron infamy.

Related to your bad news, American Papist is reporting that sister's congregation is starting to feel the heat thank heavens:


Great follow-up, Scott. Thanks. As Am Papist says, they would not have changed their position without pressure. It will be interesting to see if they follow through and absolutely make her stop. Right now they are just "working with" her or whatever the phrase is.

Right now they are just "working with" her or whatever the phrase is.

A flimsy response, but I'm glad this didn't just go away. This story is really drawing out the orcspeech. When it was reported on another blog, one cackled that nothing would be done at all. Over at Jimmy Akin's blog, one troll is pretending that the sister's formal cooperation is in doubt and her motives indiscernable in the teeth of all evidence to the contrary.

Re: nondisclosure of *what*?

Johnson was talking a lot about how PP's shift to an abortion-based profit model really disturbed her. She actually believed in the "prevention" rhetoric.

News of that shift away from "prevention" is pretty corrosive to PP's public image and the "safe, legal, rare" cant. It might even encourage some to follow in Johnson's footsteps.

And if that single clinic's shift to abortion profiteering reflects a larger PP strategy at the state or national level, the organization *really* doesn't want that news to get out.

In fact, since Johnson was a director, isn't it pretty certain that the changes came from higher up? Who were the "bosses" to whom the Fox story refers?

The NDA also targets the pro-life group that has taken Johnson in. Strange, that...

Whoops, I mean "restraining order," not "NDA."

One last thing: PP president Cecile Richards is the daughter of former TX governor Anne Richards. Any Texas policy setters within PP likely have close connections with the national organization and the state Democratic Party.

That restraining order means there could be a bigger story here.

I assume that wouldn't apply (though this apparently isn't relevant here) if there were illegal activity going on, right?

A contract cannot be used to violate the law. If your employer makes you sign a NDA and then blatantly breaks the law under the cover of the NDA, the NDA offers them no protection if you take it to the police.

I take your point, Kevin Jones. Since she has _already_ said something damaging concerning their pushing for more abortions, it looks like the horse is out of the barn already, but the restraining order seems to imply there are more horses in the barn that she hasn't yet let out.

According to the TRO and petition filed by PP, Ms. Johnson allegedly photocopied some files (employment files from what I could tell) and they claim she shared them with the Coalition, thus disclosing personal info on who worked at the clinic (doctors, nurses, etc.) and possibly their personal addresses. At least, that is what the clinic claims. It seems this is the information that they seek to keep confidential.

I don't know that a shift in service emphasis would be covered by the NDA, but even if it were, it may come close enough to a deceptive practice to be covered by whistleblower protections or otherwise be void. Imagine if a hospital said it needed to emphasize surgical intervention over preventive care in order to boost revenues - no confidentiality agreement would be able to keep that from being disclosed.

On the presonal info for employees, as much as it pains me to say it, PP may have a legit point.

An interesting move, if it is supportable, would be for her and the Coalition (there may be some standing issues) to counterclaim in the same lawsuit on whistleblower grounds and air all of PP's dirty laundry. If they bring it in the lawsuit, they should have judicial immunity, while at the same time making it all public record. It would then require PP to move to seal the record, which would require a hearing with the attorney general's involvement. They also receive medicare funding, so they could possibly have a qui tam action. I wonder if PP would want to go there.

She certainly didn't seem in any particular hurry to disclose the personal info. I have my doubts that it was something she was really planning to do.

At this point, they are merely allegations. She has maintained that she doesn't have any documents, and who knows what PP employees would say. She certainly hasn't made any public disclosures of employee information, and doesn't seem the type to do so.

I hadn't thought of cmatt's point about whistleblowing. I think it can be pressed further.

If PP constantly presents itself for federal, state & local funding on the grounds that it is focused on the prevention of unintended pregnancies, but in fact it is shifting its focus to abortion, that could have huge ramifications if word gets out.

Every pro-choice politician would be put in a bind by their own rhetoric. Could there also be funding regulations violated?

Whistle blowing only covers information a party has a reasonable right to know. Going to financial regulators and informing that your company is not engaging in sound practices is an example of whistle blowing and would be protected. What we have conjured up here, PP shifted its focus away from other programs and into abortion, may be embarrassing and any number of other things, but it isn't whistle blowing. Even in the case that disclosure may jeopardize a state or county contract, she will have to make an argument for why she did not present said evidence to the state or county. I don't think she will get far claiming a fear of retribution from the state or county, which is what she would have to prove for whistle blowing protection. Again, this is my Internet law degree, so take it for its worth.

An update on the former planned parenthood employee may be found at:

Thanks, Thom. I'm glad the judge threw out the restraining order case. That's a real blessing and seems to indicate that she did _not_ violate any non-disclosure contract by anything she said.

The news about the pro-abortion Episcopal church that now feels uncomfortable with her is...not surprising. Sad, but not surprising. The ECUSA has been gone for a long, long time.

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