Woman pretended to have cancer so Medicaid would pay for her late-term abortion, Arizona officials say
COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA, May 11, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A seasoned con artist exploited the exceptions in Arizona state laws to force taxpayers to foot the bill for her late-term abortion, state officials are saying.
Her arrest came as a Georgia woman says she was working a new scam: offering to serve as a surrogate mother.
Police arrested Chalice Renee Zeitner in Georgia on Friday. Officers say that Chalice (pronounced “shuh-LEES”) fled the state as they were about to close in on her latest round of fraud: In 2010, they say Zeitner forged a doctor's note showing that she had advanced cancer, and that an emergency late-term abortion was necessary to save her life.
Arizona’s Medicaid program, AHCCCS, pays for abortion in the cases of rape, incest, or if it is deemed “medically necessary.”
“Zeitner claimed she had stage IV sarcoma in her abdomen and lower spine, had received chemotherapy and radiation treatments and was scheduled to receive a life-saving surgery in Boston,” according to documents obtained by local media. Zeitner, now 29, was 22-and-a-half weeks pregnant at the time.
Documents show that the baby, who weighed one pound, was born alive but left to die.
“The baby lived for approximately 20 minutes and received no life-saving measure by hospital staff,” the documents state. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last Thursday found that nearly one-in-four babies born at 22 weeks could survive if given medical treatment. University of Iowa pediatrics professor Dr. Edward Bell told the New York Times that 22 weeks is his new standard of viability.
Investigators say they were tipped off when Zeitner returned to the same doctor a year later, pregnant once again, but this time asking to give birth. The doctor said the he found no evidence that she ever had cancer.
The state launched an investigation, and officials say the doctor, whom Zeitner claimed was treating her, had never met her.
Police caught up to her late last week in Georgia, where Zeitner stands accused of trying to fleece a local woman out of $20,000 by posing as a surrogate mother.
Angela Aduri said that Zeitner (who went by the alias Al Serkez or Serquez) was scheduled to have Aduri's embryo implanted in her the week she was arrested.
"We met with her a couple times in person, we checked all her information out that she provided with her Georgia driver's license, medical insurance, name, and address, her references – everything was cleared and verified,” Aduri told WJBF-TV.
Aduri said she had already paid Zeitner $4,000 in cash and spent much more paying for medical treatments.
Zeitner has also been accused of “stolen valor” and operating a phony veterans charity. Records show “Al Zeitner” associated with Veterans Hope and Armed Forces Racing, who allegedly stiffed other veterans charities for thousands of dollars.
Those who know Zeitner say lies and deception are a way of life for her, especially when discussing her alleged charities. “She told everybody she had an orphanage or a school or something for underprivileged children in South Africa,” one man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Arizona's ABC 15. "I think there's a real mental illness there and she does need to get some help for it."
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (pronounced “BURN-o-vitch”) filed charges last Tuesday. She was arrested last Friday and is currently being held in Augusta, Georgia, on felony counts of fraud, theft, and forgery.
Zeitner's arrest crystallizes the ongoing debate over national abortion policy, which is far more permissive than American people support. Polls show that 68 percent of all Americans – and 71 percent of Millennials – oppose all taxpayer funding for abortion.
The majority of Americans also oppose late-term abortions – particularly women and young people. Arizona passed a law banning all abortions after 20 weeks, which was signed by then-Governor Jan Brewer in 2012. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck it down, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the state's appeal.
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The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a national bar on abortions that cause fetal pain on the second anniversary of Kermit Gosnell's murder conviction.