"A New Mexico woman who alleged a physician’s assistant at a health clinic expressed anti-abortion views while removing her IUD without her permission won a $20,000 settlement from the federal government, On Point has learned.
Ashley Van Patten’s attorney provided On Point with the settlement agreement after the U.S. filed dismissal papers in court earlier this week. In advance of the settlement, she had dropped her unusual claim alleging physician’s assistant Sylvia Olona violated her due process right to choice of contraception. The $20,000 payment compensates Van Patten only for a run-of-the-mill malpractice claim for negligent removal of her IUD.
The government’s potential liability was much higher since, if Van Patten’s allegations were true, Olona went far beyond the scope of both the state and federal “conscience clauses” for health care providers by imposing her beliefs on a patient.
Van Patten visited the Rio Rancho Family Health Center in Rio Rancho, N.M., on Jan. 17, 2007 for an adjustment of her IUD. According to her original complaint, Olona told her, “I personally do not like IUDs. I feel they are a type of abortion” and recommended that she use a “non-abortion” form of contraception such as a depo provera shot or the pill."