Employees at a Seattle-based Planned Parenthood affiliate were recently outraged that an upper-level executive repeated the N-word while quoting a donor who had used it. That epithet sparked outrage which ultimately led to her removal and — based on media reports — appears to have forced affiliated employees to question whether the abortion conglomerate truly supports minorities.
The Seattle Times reported that “Chris Charbonneau, a formidable figure in reproductive rights who worked for Planned Parenthood for nearly 40 years and expanded the Seattle-based affiliate across six states, including two in the Midwest, has been removed from her position as the organization’s CEO.”
The paper adds that Charbonneau admitted to using the word while quoting a conversation, but denies that she did not push back against the donor who said it:
“The board of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky made the move last week after a donor this fall used a racist term in a meeting referring to Black people, and Charbonneau repeated the word while discussing the meeting with another staffer
That much is not in dispute. Charbonneau and the board, however, have differing accounts of how she reacted to the donor’s use of the word, which the former CEO said was in the context of comparing the treatment of women impacted by abortion restrictions to the mistreatment of Black people.”
Charbonneau, who is white, said she recoiled and told the donor, also white, she shouldn’t have used the word. While Charbonneau has not been given a copy of the investigation’s findings, she said she was told by the board they found her account of the meeting truthful.”
Charbonneau’s reported actions led to several resignations and inner turmoil. “Before Charbonneau was removed, two senior staffers quit, including the person with whom she discussed the donor meeting,” the paper reported.
“I cannot in good conscience continue to be part of an organization that fails to seriously respond to this degree of racism,” Erika Croxton, then the vice president of external affairs,said in a resignation letter.
The saga started when a donor at a pizza shop meeting made a comparison between the historical treatment of black people in the United States and women in Texas under the state’s new pro-life law:
Charbonneau said the donor voiced anger. “They’re trying to make women the new N-word,” the donor said, according to Charbonneau, except the donor used the actual term. Charbonneau did not name the donor, saying it would violate Planned Parenthood’s confidentiality rules.
Charbonneau said the donor — whose money was eventually returned — told her in a subsequent phone call the comparison was inspired by a book she was reading on racial justice. Charbonneau said she could not recall the name of the book, and did not know if it specifically compared women’s experiences with black people’s.
During the dinner, the donor quickly said she shouldn’t have said that, according to Charbonneau. “No, you shouldn’t have,” Charbonneau said she replied.
But when Charbonneau tried to report the incident, her recounting of the story got her in trouble. The aforementioned Croxton and another employee who overheard the conversation resigned. Then legal discussions and internal investigations began which led to Charbonneau to be removed from her $350,000 per year job.
Following her ouster, the Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky board released a statement, saying, “This is a critical moment for the pursuit and provision of sexual and reproductive health access and care, including abortion.”
“That is our work and our mission, and it calls us to center equity in all that we do. We are more committed than ever to providing excellent and equitable care, education, and advocacy for our patients and communities, now and into the future, no matter what.”
The Seattle Times also reported that a former board member and college academic, Donna Kerr, also said she was in “shock” upon hearing Charbonneau was no longer working at America’s largest abortion provider. Kerr said she was “legendary.”
Apparently, this saga was the latest evidence of what critics say is a series of “microaggressions” within Planned Parenthood. The former director of equity, inclusion, and community engagement Bre Haizlip — who worked for the affiliate from January 2020 to January 2021 — said many in the company feel a “lack of representation, in terms of our workforce did not necessarily reflect who we serve.”
But, the larger concerns over “excellent and equitable care” at the company are almost farcical considering Planned Parenthood’s actual mission, which has included the annihilation of more than 20 million black babies in the womb since 1973 and the fact that 86% of Planned Parenthood abortion facilities are in minority neighborhoods; those actions were not mentioned as being “microaggressions” committed by the company.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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