A young woman who chose not to have an abortion and was then fired from her job has filed a lawsuit against her former employer.
Christina Garcia became pregnant at the age of 16 while working for a doctor’s office in Texas. She was employed by Dr. Meenakshi Prabhaker at ID (Infectious Diseases) Doctors. According to Garcia, Dr. Prabhaker told her to get an abortion. She says, “He [Dr. Prabhaker] said it wasn’t a good image for him. I was very upset. I started crying.”
According to the lawsuit, Dr. Prabhakar tried to bribe the young woman into getting an abortion. He offered to pay her college tuition and to pay for a psychologist if she felt she needed one. As Garcia says, “The only thing is that I would have to get the abortion and I would have to maintain birth control.”
But Garcia did not want to abort her baby. She made it clear to him that she intended to give birth. When she returned home, her father told her that the doctor had called and spoken to Garcia’s mother. According to Garcia’s parents, she had been fired because she refused to have an abortion.
Garcia’s mother had also been working for Dr. Prabhakar, but when her daughter was fired, she tendered her resignation.
Christina Garcia gave birth to a baby girl who is now nine months old. She has no regrets.
“She’s learning new things everyday,” she says of her daughter.
Teenagers who are pregnant are extremely vulnerable to abortion coercion by adults around them, and women at any age can be pressured by their employers. It is illegal to discriminate against a pregnant woman or to fire her for her refusal to have an abortion.
However, Garcia’s story is not unique.
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Nicole Bergestrom Ek of Minnesota sued her employer, Duluth Little Stores, after her supervisor attempted to coerce her into an unwanted abortion. The case was settled out of court. Paula Talley, an organizer of the Stop Forced Abortions Alliance, has discussed how she was pressured by her employer into getting an abortion in 1980. The abortion led to years of depression and psychological problems.
Pressure placed on pregnant women in the workplace can be subtle or overt, and it is likely that the majority of women who face such pressure never report it. In difficult economic times, some women may be so desperate to hold on to their jobs that they have difficulty resisting when employers threatened to fire them if they don’t abort.
LifeNews Note: Sarah Terzo is a pro-life activist who is a member of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians.