Judge Rules Former Planned Parenthood Director Did Not Breach Confidentiality Contract

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Tuesday's decision was in the case of Abby Johnson, the former director of Planned Parenthood in Bryan. Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas, Inc. and Planned Parenthood of Southeast Texas Surgical and Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. claimed Johnson breached a confidentiality agreement.

After working as the director for two years, Johnson said in early October she had a change of heart. Johnson said she decided to volunteer with the pro-life organization Brazos Valley Coalition for Life. Planned Parenthood alleged Johnson took confidential records with her, and wanted a judge to prevent her from releasing any confidential information.

District Judge J.D. Langley denied the plaintiffs request for a temporary injunction. If granted the injunction would have prevented Johnson from seeking any lawsuit until a trial or any other court action had been taken.

Tuesday, two Planned Parenthood employee's took the stand. A health assistant who worked with Abby Johnson for a year and a half said she saw Abby make copies of two patient records and place the copies next to her purse. The health assistant said however, she did not see Johnson physically remove the documents from the Planned Parenthood building. She said she didn't say anything to Johnson about the alleged incident because they were files of two people Johnson was friends with.

A nurse practitioner testified her copies of her evaluation and another health assistant were printed by Johnson to help them find employment. The R.N. also testified Johnson put a resume together for her and gave her resume to Coalition for Life, but an existing employment contract prevented her from seeking other employment until July, 2010.

"Those employee's asked me for a copy of their evaluation because they were planning on leaving their job," said Johnson.

When the Regional Medical Services Director for Planned Parenthood was asked if she had any proof Johnson took any confidential records she said "I do not." Another issue discussed was whether Johnson disclosed information on a physician who travels to Bryan to perform abortions and how he accesses the facility. The director testified Johnson "has it in her head". The director said she was more concerned about "how we secure the building" and is "more concerned about that than the doctor."

Further testimony of the witnesses proved when Johnson resigned from Planned Parenthood, security access codes to the building were changed. Judge Langley ruled the plaintiffs did not provide sufficient evidence that Johnson took patient records from Planned Parenthood the day she resigned. Judge Langley also ruled the plaintiffs did not provide sufficient evidence that Johnson breached a confidentiality agreement concerning the identity of the physician who performs abortions.

"Planned Parenthood is very disappointed the judge decided to deny our temporary injunction at Planned Parenthood our clients health, safety and especially their confidentiality are top priorities. And today we were taking one measure to protect that confidentiality, " said Vice President of Communications and Marketing, Rochelle Tafolla.

Even without Judge Langley's ruling Tuesday afternoon, the temporary restraining order against Johnson was scheduled to dissolve at midnight Tuesday.

"I have to think that the past eight years that I've spent with Planned Parenthood are not in vain. And that all of the time that I've spent working with women in these stressful times, that they've had of unintended pregnancy are going to be able now to work in my favor. And I'm going to be able to help the Coalition with those skills that I've learned at Planned Parenthood," said Johnson.