Ben Johnson

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Planned Parenthood guilty of tens of millions of dollars in fraud charge whistleblowers, report

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

LUFKIN, TEXAS, February 15, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood that touched off the controversy over Susan G. Komen’s funding of the abortion giant may soon expand into a series of national hearings in the nation’s capital and court cases around the country that could expose hundreds of millions of dollars of financial impropriety, critics say.

Karen Reynolds, a decade-long employee of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC) in Texas, has filed a lawsuit claiming 12 Planned Parenthood mills in Texas and Louisiana bilked the government by billing medical agencies for services that were unnecessary or that were never actually provided. “Fraud is fraud,” said Reynolds’ attorney, Mike Love.

Her allegations are part of a cascade of negative publicity drawing attention to the dubious or possibly illegal accounting practices of roughly 20 percent of Planned Parenthood’s national affiliates.

Responding to the new allegations of wrongdoing, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn has written a letter to House Speaker John Boehner calling for a “full-scale series of congressional hearings to expose the damage Planned Parenthood has caused to our nation.”

The Tennessee Republican cited a recent 23-page report issued by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) that found upwards of $99 million in waste or possible fraud, including the illegal taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion-related procedures.

“There have been 38 federal HHS Office of Inspector General audits of state family planning programs, of which Planned Parenthood gets the lion’s share, between 1995 and 2009,” Steven Aden, vice president for human life issues and senior council at ADF told LifeSiteNews.com on a conference call last week. “These have discovered between $88-99 million in waste, abuse, and potential waste and fraud.”

“Two of those federal audits, in New York and New Jersey, specifically identified Planned Parenthood and only Planned Parenthood as a source of overbilling in the family planning program,” he said.

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Only seven of the nation’s 79 Planned Parenthood affiliates had been officially investigated, as far as the ADF knows, he said. The 10 known audits took place in California, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Washington state – mostly Democratic states that favor legalized abortion.

Yet those investigations uncovered numerous instances of financially questionable practices including wrongly billing Medicaid for medications provided as part of an abortion in violation of the Hyde Amendment, overbilling for prescription drugs, dispensing prescription drugs – including oral contraceptives – without a prescription, double-billing, charging for medically unnecessary services, falsely claiming some services were provided for family planning, and several instances of unsigned or missing documentation. The ADF report identifies 12 types of potential fraud, in all.

A common practice was “unbundling,” in which services provided as part of an abortion procedure were billed separately, as though they were unrelated services.

“In New York alone during one four year period,” the report states, “it appeared that hundreds of thousands of abortion-related claims were billed illegally to Medicaid.” (Emphasis in original.)

A 2008 New York audit found 102 of 119 sample cases improperly received such reimbursement – including funds that paid for 27 abortions. An audit the previous year found nearly half of New York’s 100 sampled cases involved a laboratory being reimbursed for abortion-related services, for which it should not have received any money.

A June 2008 audit in New Jersey found several clinics, “especially Planned Parenthood providers,” billed all their services as family planning, allowing 90 percent of their costs to be reimbursed by the federal government.

“Thus, Planned Parenthood’s primary motivation appears not to be to provide quality healthcare to patients who seek family planning services, but rather to enhance its profits,” ADF reports.

Two federal whistleblower lawsuits in California and Texas charge even more affiliates with Medicaid fraud in the tens of millions of dollars.

Karen Reynolds of Lufkin, Texas, worked more than 10 years at Planned Parenthood. In her court complaint, she charges PPGC with “billing for medical services not rendered, billing for for unwarranted medical services, billing for services not covered by Medicaid, and creating false information in medical records which was material to billing for medical services.”

Reynolds quotes a PPGC memo that stated, “If the client [getting an abortion] 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.”

Another former Planned Parenthood employee, P. Victor Gonzalez, who was chief financial officer for Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles, claimed in a 2010 lawsuit that PPLA paid “$225,695.65 for Ortho Tri-Cyclen birth control pills, yet billed the government $918,084 – for a profit of $692,388.35.”  These and other actions, which he said deliberately violated the False Claims Act (FCA), amounted to $100 million in financial impropriety

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, told LifeSiteNews.com the audits coupled with the whistleblowers’ inside accounts “reveal a pattern of gross financial mismanagement” at the nation’s largest abortion provider.  Yet “after 40 years of receiving taxpayer funds, not one oversight hearing of Planned Parenthood has occurred,” she said. “Now is the time for such scrutiny on behalf of its most important benefactors, the American taxpayers, and on behalf of the young women that it claims to serve.”

Instead of submitting itself to an inspection, she said Planned Parenthood had struck a “posture of entitlement” and waged “campaigns to destroy those who ask questions.”

Aden said, “Americans deserve to know if their hard-earned tax money is being funneled to groups that are misusing it.”

“Planned Parenthood has to play by the same rules as everyone else,” he said. “It is not entitled to a dime of taxpayer funds, especially if it is committing Medicaid fraud.”

“This is part of ADF and our allied organizations…effort to encourage the House Oversight Committee to hold public hearings hearings, to have Planned Parenthood’s national officers testify and be held accountable for the financial mismanagement that one-in-five of their affiliates has been implicated in.”

Thus far, less than ten percent of Planned Parenthood’s 79 national affiliates had been audited; eight other affiliates are implicated in ongoing lawsuits that allege financial malfeasance.

When asked whether a similar pattern would be found if the remaining 90 percent of affiliates were audited, Dannenfelser told LifeSiteNews.com, “It’s the responsibility of the Oversight Committee to do just that, to find the audits – and if they’re not available, to do the audits.”

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for your support. 

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