— The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit Friday reinstated a former Planned Parenthood facility director’s lawsuit against Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Susan Thayer filed suit in 2011, alleging fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars. A district court judge had dismissed the lawsuit in 2012.
“Americans deserve to know if their hard-earned tax money is being funneled to groups that are abusing it,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “No matter what people believe about abortion itself, everyone can agree that Planned Parenthood should play by the same rules as everyone else. We look forward to continuing our defense of the American taxpayer in this case.”
The lawsuit, Thayer v. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, claims that Planned Parenthood’s Iowa affiliate submitted “repeated false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible claims for reimbursements” to Medicaid. These included billing Medicaid for abortion-related services in violation of federal law, deceptively seeking partial payments from Medicaid patients but billing Medicaid for the full amount, billing Medicaid for contraceptives without any examination or even a proper prescription, and billing Medicaid for more expensive services than those provided.
ADF attorneys filed the suit on behalf of Thayer under the federal False Claims Act and Iowa False Claims Act, both of which allow “whistleblowers” with inside information to expose fraudulent billing by government contractors. Attorney J. Russell Hixson, one of nearly 2,500 attorneys allied with ADF, is assisting with the case.
In its decision reinstating the case, the 8th Circuit wrote, “we conclude that Thayer has pled sufficiently particularized facts to support her allegations that Planned Parenthood violated the FCA by filing claims for (1) unnecessary quantities of birth control pills, (2) birth control pills dispensed without examinations or without or prior to a physician’s order, (3) abortion-related services, and (4) the full amount of services that had already been paid, in whole or in part, by ‘donations’ Planned Parenthood coerced from patients.”
Thayer, former director of Planned Parenthood’s Storm Lake and LeMars clinics, specifically alleges that Planned Parenthood knowingly committed Medicaid fraud. She claims the abortion giant improperly sought and received reimbursements from Iowa Medicaid Enterprise and the Iowa Family Planning Network for products and services not legally reimbursable by those programs.
Planned Parenthood fired Thayer over her opposition to its “webcam” abortions, which allowed abortion drugs to be prescribed to women without a personal meeting with a doctor. On Aug. 19, an Iowa court upheld the Iowa Board of Medicine’s new ban on “webcam” abortions after Planned Parenthood challenged the restrictions.
“Planned Parenthood repeatedly demonstrates that it cares more about protecting its own bottom line than about protecting the women it purports to serve,” noted ADF Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton. “That’s been a pattern with Planned Parenthood across the county.”
ADF has been involved in several lawsuits involving Planned Parenthood secrecy and alleged fraud and recently submitted an updated report to Congress on the abuse of taxpayer money by the abortion giant’s affiliates.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.