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Texas Planned Parenthood must reimburse $1.4 million in Medicaid fraud, calls charges ‘baseless’

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Ben Johnson
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AUSTIN, TX, July 24, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Planned Parenthood must reimburse the State of Texas Medicaid program $1.4 million in erroneous and fraudulent billing, under the terms of a settlement announced today. That includes funds that, according to the whistleblower who exposed the chapter, were used to finance abortion-related services.

A thorough investigation found that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC) “improperly billed the Texas Medicaid program for products and services that were never actually rendered, not medically necessary, and were not covered by the Medicaid program – and were therefore not eligible for reimbursement,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced today.

“For example, state investigators determined that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast falsified material information in patients’ medical records in order to support fraudulent reimbursement claims to the Medicaid program,” he said.

The announcement comes after Karen Reynolds, a decade-long employee at PPGC, filed a lawsuit stating that the Houston-based chapter of Planned Parenthood gave each of its 12 offices in Texas and Louisiana regular revenue goals and instructed them to bilk the state through deceptive billing.

Reynolds – who worked as a “health care assistant” at Planned Parenthood in Lufkin, Texas, 1999-2009 – stated that, in addition to seeking reimbursement for services not rendered, or that weren't medically necessary, they also charged for abortion-related services. 

According to Reynolds, when post-abortive women came in for a follow-up visit, PPGC told its employees to “ask if she needs any other services such as birth control," thus allowing them to make it appear as if the purpose of the visit was for a reason other than abortion-related care. "If she is interested, screen for” the state Women's Health Program or Medicaid, they instructed. “If the client is getting on birth control make this the focus of the visit and put a note in the chief complaints that the client had a surgical or medical abortion 'x' weeks ago.”

Every post-abortive woman was given a bag of contraceptives, so the offices could put in a request for reimbursement in the form of state family planning funds.

Pro-life activists have long alleged that Planned Parenthood uses public funds to underwrite its abortion business, in violation of the Hyde Amendment.

After the news of the settlement broke today, PPGC dismissed the charges as “baseless” and said that it chose to end “this case as a practical matter.”

“Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast is proud of the high quality health care we provide, and more than 50,000 Texans rely on us every year for essential, high quality prevention services,” the group said in a press release. “A lengthy and costly process that would have distracted our energies and required us to share the private medical information of thousands of women.”

The abortion giant called the state of Texas a “hostile environment for women’s health.”

While many pro-life activists welcomed the news that the attorney general's investigation had implicated Planned Parenthood, former PPGC manager Abby Johnson, who has her own lawsuit pending against the affiliate alleging fraud, said that ultimately the settlement will do little harm to the abortion giant.

“My former affiliate has an endowment of $20 million dollars just sitting in an account. This settlement is simply a slap on the wrist,” she wrote. “This is NO victory.”

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According to a a 23-page report produced by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) in 2012, Planned Parenthood has committed between $88 and $99 in fraud and abuse.

Steven Aden, ADF senior counsel, told LifeSiteNews.com that only seven of the nation’s 79 Planned Parenthood affiliates had been officially investigated at the time, as far as he knew. However, 38 HHS Office of Inspector General audits between 1995 and 2009 had uncovered between $88-99 million “in waste, abuse, and potential waste, and fraud,” Aden said.

Governor Rick Perry founded the Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP) to deny state family planning funds to Planned Parenthood, as well as other abortion providers.

Perry had to form TWHP as an entirely state-funded female health alternative after President Obama pulled federal funding – which accounted for 90 percent of the previous, $40 million Women's Health Program – because Texas had decided to withhold state funds from abortion providers.

However, President Obama's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) did an end-run around the statue, giving $13 million in federal Title X money to abortion providers instead of funding the state. The HHS directly funded the Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas (WHFPT), a coalition of women’s health care offices that includes Planned Parenthood.

Under the terms of the fraud settlement, Planned Parenthood's settlement will be divided between the state of Texas, the federal Medicaid program, and the whistleblower who exposed the fraud – in this case, Karen Reynolds.

For his part, Abbott is seeking the Republican nomination for governor to replace Rick Perry, who is retiring in 2014. National pro-life leaders continue to lobby Abbott to file charges against – or at least investigate – Houston late-term abortionist Douglas Karpen.

The case is but one of several alleging that Planned Parenthood – which received 45.2 percent of its $1.2 billion annual budget from taxpayers last year – is guilty of unethical practices.

Johnson said the case had nothing to do with her own lawsuit, which she promised will go forward.

“I have absolutely no intention of settling with my former affiliate,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “Second, if I did settle, I would never settle for an amount this pathetic.”

“I am out to close down the abortion business...not give them a reprimand,” she wrote.


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UK quietly opens the door to genetic engineering, ‘3-parent’ embryos

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By Hilary White

Last month the UK’s Department of Health quietly redefined the term “genetic modification” to open the door to allow certain kinds of modification of human embryos – thus potentially making it the first country in the world to allow genetic engineering.

Scottish journalist Lori Anderson recently raised the alarm over the change in a column in the Scotsman, in which she alleged that the change is designed to “dupe” the British public into accepting “full-scale germline genetic engineering,” using human embryos as test subjects.

Anderson said that in July, the Department of Health “effectively re-wrote the definition of ‘genetic modification’ to specifically exclude the alteration of human mitochondrial genes or any other genetic material that exists outside the chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell.”

“The reason for doing this is that it believes it will be easier to sell such an advancement to the public if it can insist that the end result will not be a ‘GM baby’.”

This change follows a statement from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the government body that regulates experimental research on human embryos, approving the procedure to create an embryo from one couple’s gametes but with genetic material added from a third party donor, a procedure called in the press “three-parent embryos”.

Anderson quoted a statement from the Department of Health comparing this procedure to donating blood. The statement read, “There is no universally agreed definition of ‘genetic modification’ in humans – people who have organ transplants, blood donations, or even gene therapy are not generally regarded as being ‘genetically modified’. The Government has decided to adopt a working definition for the purpose of taking forward these regulations.”

This assertion was challenged by one of the UK’s leading fertility researchers, Lord Robert Winston, who told the Independent, “Of course mitochondrial transfer is genetic modification and this modification is handed down the generations. It is totally wrong to compare it with a blood transfusion.”

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The HFEA, which throughout its history has been known as one of the world’s most permissive regulatory bodies, has been working steadily towards allowing genetically modified embryos to be implanted in women undergoing artificial procreation treatments. In a document issued to the government last year, they called the insertion of mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) into embryos “mitochondrial donation” or “mitochondrial replacement”. mDNA is the genetic material found in the cytoplasm outside a cell’s nucleus, problems with which can cause a host of currently incurable genetic illnesses.

In the statement issued in June, the HFEA said the technique of inserting “donated” mDNA into already existing in vitro embryos, “should be considered ‘not unsafe’ for the use on a ‘specific and defined group of patients.’”

“Mitochondria replacement (or mitochondrial donation) describes two medical techniques, currently being worked on by UK researchers, which could allow women to avoid passing on genetically inherited mitochondrial diseases to their children,” the statement said.

The HFEA admitted that the techniques are “at the cutting edge of both science and ethics” and said that the results of a “public consultation” in 2012/13 were being examined by the government, which is considering “draft regulations”.

In June, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children echoed Lori Anderson’s concern, commenting that the HFEA is attempting to deceive the public. Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, said, “Human gene manipulation is being sold to a gullible public on a promise of reducing suffering, the same old con-trick that the test-tube baby lobby has been using for decades.” 

Any manipulation of human genetics, always breaks “several important moral rules,” entailing the creation of “human guinea-pigs,” Tully said. “Human germ-line manipulation and cloning – changing the genetic inheritance of future generations - goes against internationally-agreed norms for ethical science.”

He quoted Professor Andy Greenfield, the chairman of the scientific review panel that approved the techniques, who said that there is no way of knowing what effect this would have on the children created until it is actually done.

“We have to subject children who have not consented and cannot consent to being test subjects,” Tully said.

Altering the mDNA of an embryo is what cloning scientists refer to as “germline” alteration, meaning that the changes will be carried on through the altered embryo’s own offspring, a longstanding goal of eugenicists.

In their 1999 book, “Human Molecular Genetics” Tom Strachan and Andrew Read warned that the use of mitochondrial alteration of embryos would cross serious ethical boundaries.

Having argued that germline therapy would be “pointless” from a therapeutic standpoint, the authors said, “There are serious concerns, therefore, that a hidden motive for germline gene therapy is to enable research to be done on germline manipulation with the ultimate aim of germline-based genetic enhancement.”

“The latter could result in positive eugenics programs, whereby planned genetic modification of the germline could involve artificial selection for genes that are thought to confer advantageous traits.”


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Cable series portrays nun as back-alley abortionist

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By Ben Johnson
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'To depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,' said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

The Cinemax TV series The Knick portrayed a Roman Catholic nun as a back alley abortionist who tells a Catholic woman God will forgive her for going through with the procedure.

In its latest episode, which aired Friday night, the series showed Sister Harriet (an Irish nun played by Cara Seymour) telling a Catholic woman named Nora, “Your husband will know nothing of it. I promise.”

“Will God forgive me?” Nora asked, adding, “I don't want to go to Hell for killing a baby.”

“He knows that you suffered,” the sister replied, before performing the illegal abortion off-screen. “I believe the Lord's compassion will be yours.” 

The period medical drama is set at the Knickerbocker Hospital (“The Knick”) in New York City around the turn of the 20th century, when abortion was against both civil and ecclesiastical law.

“It is no secret that Hollywood is a big pro-abortion town, but to depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said. “The only saving grace in this episode is the real-life recognition of the woman who is about to have the abortion: she admits that her baby is going to be killed.”

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The series is directed by Steven Soderbergh, known for such films as Erin Brockovich, the Oceans Eleven franchise, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. More recently he directed The Girlfriend Experience, a film about prostitution starring pornographic actress Sasha Grey.

Critics have hailed his decision to include a black surgeon in circa 1900 America. But after last week's episode, the New York Times stated that The Knick has chosen to “demonstrate concern for other kinds of progress,” citing the depiction of the abortion. 


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Balcony of the Grandmaster Palace in Valletta, which houses the Maltese Parliament. Shutterstock
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Catholic Malta enacts ‘transgender’ employment discrimination law

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By Hilary White

An amendment to Malta’s Employment and Industrial Relations Act means that employment “discrimination” against “transsexuals” is now officially prohibited in the Catholic country. The provision, which was quietly passed in May, came into effect on August 12th.

The law allows those who believe they have a complaint to make a case with the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality, with an industrial tribunal or the courts. A government spokesman told local  media, “Employees do not need to prove that their employer has discriminated against them.”

“They only need to provide enough evidence pointing to a likely case of discrimination. The employer will then need to prove that discrimination has not taken place.”

The amendment defines illegal discrimination against “transgendered” people as, “in so far as the ground of sex is concerned, any less favourable treatment of a person who underwent or is undergoing gender reassignment, which, for the purpose of those regulations shall mean, where a person is considering or intends to undergo, or is undergoing, a process, or part of a process, for the purposes of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.” 

Silvan Agius, Human Rights policy coordinator with the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, told Malta Today newspaper that the new amendment brings Maltese law into harmony with EU law.

“This amendment is continuing the government’s equality mainstreaming exercise. The inclusion of gender reassignment in the Act also brings it in line with the anti-discrimination articles found in both Malta’s Constitution and the Equality for Men and Woman Act,” Agius said.

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Agius is a key member of the homosexual activist apparatus in Malta’s government working to entrench the ideology of gender in law in Malta and elsewhere. In June, he was a featured speaker, with the notorious British anti-Catholic campaigner Peter Tatchell, at a Glasgow conference organised by the Edinburgh-based Equality Network, a group that helps organise and train homosexualist campaign groups.

The amendment to the law follows promises made recently by the country’s equalities minister, Helena Dalli, to a “transgender” congress in Hungary in May. Dalli, who brought forward Malta’s recently passed same-sex civil unions bill, told a meeting of gender activists in Budapest that while her government’s focus had been mainly on homosexuals, that she would shortly be turning her attention to “trans” people.

“The next step now is a Bill towards the enactment of a Gender Identity law. A draft bill has been prepared and it has now been passed to the LGBTI Consultative Council for its vetting and amendment as necessary,” Dalli said.

“Some of you may be thinking that we are moving forward quickly. I have a different perspective though. We are doing what is right, what should have been done a long time ago,” she added.

Since the legalisation of divorce in 2011, Malta has been remarkable for its rapid adoption of the gender ideology’s agenda. In 2013, Malta was named the “fastest climber” on the Rainbow Europe Index, a survey organised annually by ILGA Europe, the leading homosexualist lobby group funded directly by the European Union.

The ILGA Europe report notes (p. 114) that Helena Dalli Helena “was one of 11 EU Member States’ equality ministers to co-sign a call for the European Commission to work on a comprehensive EU policy for LGBT equality.” The report also noted that although the new Labour government has proved cooperative, the Christian Democrat Nationalist Party has “progressively proved more receptive to LGBTI issues, including same-sex unions.”


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