Australian Abortion Business Owner On Trial Over Medicare Fraud

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 9, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 9, 2005

Sydney, Australia (LifeNews.com) — A Sydney woman who ran an abortion business is on trial for allegedly defrauding the country’s Medicare system by overcharging abortions by hundreds of dollars. Health Insurance Commission officers raided her office in October 2001 after reports surfaced that Suman Sood was scamming the health care agency.

Sood has been charged with 96 counts of falsely profiting from the fraud at her Fairfield-based Australian Women’s Health abortion facility, according to a news report in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

A New South Wales district court held a hearing yesterday in the case. They were told that, during the raid, HIC officers found financial records dumped under surgical waste in trash cans.

Minna Zoretic, employed a nurse at the abortion facility testified that she saw Sood disposing the financial documents.

A commission investigator, Peter Bell, said he recalled Sood going into the same room where the records were disposed while his team was conducting the investigation at her office.

During the hearing, prosecutors showed the court copies of brochures advertising abortions at the facility which mention Medicare patients are charged $300 extra for the abortion procedure.

Normally the abortion facility charged $120 for women up to 12 weeks pregnant and as much as $1100 for abortions on women more than 19 weeks into the pregnancy.

Prosecutor David Staehli told the court that the extra charges were not allow because Sood was bulk-billing Medicare for the abortions for poor women.

Health Minister Tony Abbott, Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, and Special Minister of State Eric Abetz have called for a debate about Medicare funding of abortions. Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne says he welcomes the renewed debate on abortion, calling Australia’s 100,000 abortions a year a "huge suffering."