A lawsuit against Planned Parenthood by a former manager of the abortion giant is back in the courts after the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it had enough specificity to be considered by a district court.
Sue Thayer, who once headed two Planned Parenthood clinics, filed the lawsuit in 2011. She claims that Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which is based in Iowa, submitted false claims for Medicaid reimbursement from 2002 to 2009. The alleged fraud totaled $28 million.
In 2013, a district court said that Thayer lacked specifics in her suit. However, last week, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which has represented Thayer, announced that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit overturned the lower court's dismissal of the lawsuit.
“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.”
In its recent decision, the appeals court said, “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.”
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Thayer's difficulties with Planned Parenthood began, she claims, when she openly opposed tele-med abortions, which were recently declared illegal in Iowa. Tele-med abortions are done through a conversation between a doctor at an office and a patient at a separate location. Thayer says they were being done to increase Planned Parenthood's profit margin, not assist women more effectively.
Thayer filed the lawsuit under the Iowa False Claims Act and the U.S. False Claims Act, which have protections for whistleblowers. The alleged fraud included double-counting mailings of birth control pills and overcharging Medicaid for financial reimbursements.