The allegations brought by a former employee of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland paint a starkly different picture than the nation’s largest abortion chain’s “Care. No Matter What” slogan.
Misusing taxpayer dollars, exploiting poor patients, and jeopardizing women’s health, these serious accusations suggest a more appropriate tagline for Planned Parenthood would be “Profits. No Matter What.” This “whistleblower” case being heard in federal court today puts financial mismanagement and dangerous practices occurring at least at one affiliate of the nation’s largest abortion chain front and center.
The plaintiff, Sue Thayer, was fired in 2008 after she began to voice safety concerns surrounding Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s use of telemedicine (aka “no doctor in the room”) to dispense chemical abortion drugs. As she recalls, her supervisors rationalized “telemed” abortions by pointing to their lower overhead costs. Indeed, by removing doctors and medical equipment from the picture, Planned Parenthood was able to expand its abortion practice and boost its profit margins at the same time.
Planned Parenthood’s scheme to boost its bottom-line came with a known cost to women’s health and safety. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland lacks the facilities and ability to care for these women if they experience significant bleeding. So, Ms. Thayer alleges, it told them “to go to an emergency room and report that they were experiencing a spontaneous miscarriage” i.e., to lie.
On top of being unethical, encouraging a woman to be dishonest jeopardizes her health. Lying to a healthcare provider about the cause of the patient’s condition leads to a host of obvious problems including inappropriate care and inaccurate reporting of abortion complications. The allegations in Ms. Thayer’s lawsuit highlight the problems associated with telemed abortions and the need for state regulations of chemical abortions.
The whistleblower suit details other nefarious schemes by Planned Parenthood to abuse taxpayer dollars. Ms. Thayer alleges that to enhance revenues, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland implemented a “C-Mail” program that effectively mailed thousands of unrequested birth control pills to women, and then billed the government for these pills.
According to Ms. Thayer’s complaint, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland also increased its profits by exploiting the poor women it “served.” Ms. Thayer states that employees were trained to (and did) solicit money from Medicaid clients at the time services were rendered. Employees recommended to patients that they give “50 percent of the amount of the bill” to Planned Parenthood. In soliciting these “suggested donations,” as Planned Parenthood called them, patients were not informed that the entire amount of the bill would be reimbursed by the government.
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After receiving “hundreds of thousands of dollars” from these patients, Ms. Thayer alleges Planned Parenthood would then bill Medicaid for the same services in full, which violates its legal duty to submit accurate claims to the government for payment. The money collected from the pockets of its Medicaid patients were then used “for purposes unrelated to the provisions of Title XIX-Medicaid services to such patients.” In effect, Planned Parenthood both falsely billed government programs and took money from low-income women by convincing them to pay for services already covered in full.
Grandstanding against a federal bill that would prohibit abortions after 5 months gestation earlier this year, Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY) proclaimed, “If that means funding a Planned Parenthood in every neighborhood to put Gosnell out of business, so be it.” But as Americans United for Life has documented in its Planned Parenthood Report and Exhibits, Planned Parenthood is the problem, not the solution. The Thayer whistleblower case is one more piece of the growing mountain of evidence that Planned Parenthood is a dangerous investment of taxpayer dollars.
It is hard to do evil ethically.