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Additional misconduct at Planned Parenthood’s Wilmington clinic alleged at hearing

New accusations against a Wilmington Planned Parenthood Clinic are adding on to previous complaints raised by former employees.

During a public hearing in Wilmington Tuesday, Melody Meanor, former Health Center Manager of Family Planning at Planned Parenthood’s Wilmington clinic, claims that in the less than three months she worked at the clinic in 2012 executives didn’t just mismanage abortion services.

Additional misconduct at Planned Parenthoods Wilmington clinic alleged at hearing
Melody Meanor, former Health Center Manager of Family Planning at Planned Parenthood's Wilmington clinic testifies at Wed. hearing. (Click to enlarge)

Meanor says STD test results came back positive for 200 people who were never notified.

“To this day, I believe that these women who tested positive for chlamydia and gonorrhea had never been told about their positive STD results,” said Meanor.

She also claimed that some women who had colopscopies at the clinic were not contacted with results that indicated they were at a higher risk to develop cervical cancer later.

Those results, Meanor contends, were taken by her boss Gloria Johnson and never properly filed.

Meanor was joined by former Planned Parenthood Wilmington clinic nurses Joyce Vasikonis and Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich who previously testified before the General Assembly this spring about “meat-market style assembly-line abortions” that left patients open to blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis.

Vasikonis, who repeated her pro-choice beliefs during the hearing, is partnering with Alliance Defending Freedom — a conservative Christian nonprofit opposed to abortion — to file another complaint with the state’s Division of Professional Regulation.

In the complaint, she chides the Department of Health and Social Services for not sanctioning stiffer penalties against Planned Parenthood for alleged misconduct.

Planned Parenthood of Delaware responded to Tuesday’s hearing with a statement from President and CEO Ruth Lytle-Barnaby. Lytle-Barnaby concedes the organization’s high standards were not consistently met at the Wilmington clinic, but is confident they do now after hiring new staff, retraining all staff, and instituting new policies.

Regarding Meanor’s testimony regarding STD results, Lytle-Barnaby says senior medical staff reviewed all patients with positive results from STD tests last year to ensure each received information needed, and contacted patients directly in a few cases where there’s was uncertainty.

“We are confident that alarms raised during today’s meeting regarding positive test results are unfounded,” added Lytle-Barnaby in her statement. “Nevertheless, considering that today’s statements made by former staff members may generate concern among patients, we are conducting a second audit of patients receiving care during the time period in question to again confirm that every patient received notification of positive test results.”

Additional misconduct at Planned Parenthoods Wilmington clinic alleged at hearing
Republican lawmakers Rep. Mike Ramone, Rep. Deborah Hudson and Sen, Greg Lavelle (l to r) listen to testimony at a hearing on Planned Parenthood's Wilmington clinic. No Democrats were present. (Click to enlarge)

Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley) helped facilitate both hearings and says he doesn’t have anything brewing for the next legislative session in January.

“It’s not a one-off. There’s no solution. Abortion’s not going to be illegal in Delaware. That’s not the goal. The goal is competent, professional care to patients regardless of the facility that they walk into to get that health care,” said Lavelle.

Oddly absent from the hearing was Democratic Rep. Gerald Brady (D-West Wilmington). Republicans billed the event as bi-partisan, with Lavelle saying Brady booked the room at the Chase Center on the Riverfront.

However, Brady maintains he was only approached about the hearing, but wasn’t aware of the event until that morning.

Other Democrats remained conspicuously absent, including Sen. Robert Venables who drafted legislation further regulating abortion clinics late this past legislative session. It eventually passed both chambers June 30th. Venables co-hosted for the first hearing at Legislative Hall in late May.

Republican Reps. Deborah Hudson (R-Fairthorne) and Mike Ramone (R-Middle Run Valley), as well as Sen. Colin Bonini (R-Dover South) joined Lavelle in listening to the testimony.