Doctor Demanded Receptionist Have Abortion For Sake Of His 'Image,' Lawsuit Claims

Christina Garcia doctor receptionist abortionIt's illegal in this country to discriminate against a pregnant woman, and that includes telling a pregnant woman that she has to get an abortion to keep her job. But a doctor's receptionist claims that happened when she got pregnant early last year. When she refused to have the abortion, according to her lawsuit, the doctor fired her.

Christina Garcia, now 18, was hired as an $11-an-hour receptionist at ID Doctors in Bedford, Texas, in August 2010, the lawsuit states. Seven months later, she claims that she told the doctor, Meenakshi Prabhakar, that she was pregnant, Courthouse News reports.

Prabhakar, an infectious disease specialist who's been licensed in Texas since 1997, allegedly told Garcia that her pregnancy "wasn't a good image for him," reports CBS 11. "I was very upset," she said. "I started crying."

The doctor allegedly told her that she would need to get an abortion to keep her job, and that he would pay for it, along with her college expenses and any counseling that she needed, if she would start taking birth control pills.


Garcia says she refused, and four days later was fired. With a right to sue letter from The Texas Workforce Commission, Garcia has filed suit in Dallas County against Prabhakar and his practice, requesting back pay, front pay, reinstatement of her job, attorney's fees, as well as compensation for mental anguish, inconvenience and loss of enjoyment of life.

Last week, Nalini Samuel, an employee in Prabhakar's office, emailed the Dallas Observer that the allegations were false, and it was a "shakedown to get money."

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"Ask her about her criminal record," Samuel writes, and then notes that Prabhakar is anti-abortion.

Prabhakar's attorney Brian C. Newby told CBS 11 in a statement that the lawsuit is "fabricated and frivolous" and that his clients "have not discriminated against or wrongfully terminated this former employee or any other employee."

Garcia's attorney, W.D. Materson, says that most cases settle but "this one is kind of out of the ordinary." He referred AOL Jobs to Garcia's mother, who was the office manager at the clinic at the time but quit four days after her daughter was fired, according to CBS 11. She didn't respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this month, another young woman, Abigail Shomo, filed suit, claiming that she was fired for refusing to get an abortion. The 20-year-old waitress said that she was impregnated by her 17-year-old boss, Leopoldo Aguirre, and that Aguirre's father, the president of the restaurant company, terminated her when she was four months along, saying that customers preferred "a slim young waitress."

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Aguirre's attorney claimed the waitress' story was fantasy: She wasn't fired, she quit, and the Aguirres are anti-abortion anyway, and would never have pressured an employee to abort a child.

Shomo's pregnancy-discrimination suit hit a more technical snag, however. The federal law it was based on, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, only applies to companies that employ 15 or more people, and it was unclear that the restaurant company met that criteria.

Garcia, on the other hand, isn't suing under the federal civil rights law. She filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in Texas state court, seeking a jury trial.

Under Texas labor law, Garcia could receive up to $50,000 in compensatory damages. Her daughter is now 9 months old.




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Claire Gordon

Staff Writer

Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.

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mustangmaniac01

Sounds like she had an affair with him. Why else would he pay for her abortion and to keep her mouth shut? Why else would it be bad for his reputation? She's a fat loser looking for free money. Get the abortion and go away!

October 25 2012 at 9:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hjaffeesq

I presume Shomo is also seeking child support from her ex-boss?

August 27 2012 at 3:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Todd M Bullis

I heard about this on ProLifeBook.com and I could not believe it. What the heck is this doctor thinking.

August 27 2012 at 10:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Danny

I used to own a gym in the same strip mall as an abortion clinic. It was about an hour away from a large metropolitan area. The only other businesses in the center was a CPA and a Minuteman press. Many, of not most of the people going to the abortion clinic would park on our side of the building and walk around the building instead of parking out in front of the clinic. They thought they were being really sly. You know what they weren't thinking about? They weren't thinking about the stickers on their car windows proudly proclaiming the parochial schools they were alumni's of and/or their kids attended. We called these cars "Hippo's" for "hypocrites". There was a gas station/convenience store next to the strip mall that all the gym employees would frequently go to get a drink or a snack. When someone came back from the store you would hear them say "4 hippos in the parking lot". All of the employees (and members in the know) felt that "hippos" seemed to be over represented then their percentage in the population.
Isn't is interesting that there is a way to make anti-abortionists "pro-choice" for select, short periods of time?

August 24 2012 at 11:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ed

He's a ********* ... people are cheap in India, or wherever he is from ... he should be running a convenience store ...

August 23 2012 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
klpatrick4

I'm not buyin' this one folks.

August 22 2012 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sunrise

Uhh, hello? I'm sure if this is true, he offered to pay her expenses to KEEP HER MOUTH SHUT. Why else would he offer those things to her? Sounds like this is a simple case of he said/she said. It's her word against his and, in those types of cases, no one wins.

August 22 2012 at 4:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Emily

this sounds like a bunch of BS. why would he pay for her college expenses and abortion and all that other stuff? for an $11/hour secretary? he could just hire a new one!

August 22 2012 at 3:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
yannaro

Concerning some of the comments below.....Is today's date 8/22/2012 or 8/22/1950. In Boston, before collective bargaining, if a female teacher got married (never mind got pregnant) she was fired. More than one got married, never wore a ring, officially changed their name, had children, etc.

August 22 2012 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ms. Eddye

He must be a Republican! She should have found out his political beliefs before she was hired or interviewed for the job. This is one more issue that the unemployed has to consider and ask before accepting a job.

August 22 2012 at 12:58 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Ms. Eddye's comment
themechanicsix

And you must be an idiot!!

August 22 2012 at 2:14 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
mnkydk

you stupid punk! republicans are AGAINST abortion..

August 22 2012 at 5:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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