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Life changes

Roe v. Wade | Anti-CPC forces alter their tactics, auditors cast a probing eye on Planned Parenthood, and other news on the abortion front

Issue: "Pro-baby," Jan. 30, 2010

Auditing Planned Parenthood

Government agencies are auditing Planned Parenthood for dubious financial practices that cheat taxpayers and enrich Planned Parenthood.

The Washington Department of Social and Health Services audited Planned Parenthood Spokane and informed the group that it owes the taxpayers more than $629,000 due to overbilling. The audit found that Planned Parenthood has dispensed prescriptions and billed the government for drugs without substantiating documents. When people came in for a simple injection or to pick up a prescription, Planned Parenthood allegedly recorded their visits as face-to-face consultations to charge the taxpayers more.

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It also allegedly overcharged the government to reimburse for condoms, billed for a pregnancy test that was not medically necessary, and engaged in "unbundling"-meaning that instead of billing the government for abortion-related services in one package, Planned Parenthood made more money by billing the government for post-abortion antibiotics separately. Planned Parenthood has responded by appealing every one of the charges. The attorney general's office is also auditing Planned Parenthood Western Washington.

In California, a former Planned Parenthood vice president-now a federal whistleblower-has filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, asking it to reinstate his lawsuit after a federal district court dismissed it. Whistleblower P. Victor Gonzalez claims that Planned Parenthood overcharged California taxpayers by at least $180 million.

Shift in tactics

For the first time, a governmental body is telling pregnancy centers how they must advertise what they don't do. Responding to accusations from pro-abortion groups that pro-life crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) mislead women about the services they do-and do not-provide, the Baltimore City Council passed a measure that would fine CPCs $150 a day if they fail to post signs stating they do not "provide or make referral for abortion or birth-control services."

Pro-lifers insist that the measure unfairly targets them since it has no similar provision for abortion providers. In a statement applauding the regulation, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland said that CPCs give out "false and misleading information in an effort to discourage women from seeking abortion or using contraception."

Jeff Meister, director of administration and legislation at Maryland Right to Life, said the ordinance shows a shift in tactics targeting CPCs. Lawmakers in several states-Oregon, Texas, West Virginia, New York, and Maryland-have tried unsuccessfully to pass legislation regulating CPCs. Meister believes that abortion advocates are now first targeting local areas where they have more support, to build a precedent of public officials passing legislation that implies CPC dishonesty.

Abortion by force?

Caitlin Bruce is accusing Michigan abortionist Abraham A. Hodari of performing a forced abortion on her. In a civil complaint, Bruce said that after she decided she didn't want the abortion, Hodari had one of his assistants restrain Bruce and cover her mouth, starting the abortion while Bruce screamed, "Stop, stop, I don't want this."

Bruce has filed a civil suit against Hodari, and Operation Rescue has filed a separate complaint asking for a criminal investigation into Hodari's practices. Bruce said she has since suffered severe emotional distress and anguish, along with loss of wages, and charges Hodari with gross medical negligence.

Hodari claims in turn that he had already started the abortion and that stopping would have endangered Bruce's health. Hodari has come under scrutiny before-having paid a $10,000 fine for a 2003 abortion death and having faced charges for the illegal disposal of medical records. His license is due to expire at the end of January 2010.

Settlement reached

In early 2007, Rasheedah Dinkins, then 20, visited Metropolitan Medical Associates, an abortion clinic in Englewood, N.J. The clinic botched the abortion. Dinkins later passed out and was rushed to another hospital, where physicians removed her ruptured uterus. The hemorrhaging made her left lung collapse: She suffered a stroke and went into a coma for three weeks.

Her case led state inspectors to briefly close the facility, which performs tens of thousands of abortions a year, but it reopened in March of 2007. In December of 2009, Metropolitan Medical Associates agreed to a $1.9 million settlement with Dinkins for the botched abortion.

Princeton's preferences

Last year the LGBT Center at Princeton University sponsored a lecture about learning to "embrace and cultivate our erotic power," along with a lecture by an "anal sexpert" who made the case for "open relationships." Despite allowing a campus center that promotes a libertine sexuality, for the second year in a row the university has refused to allow students to open a Center for Abstinence and Chastity.

Joel Alicea, administrative chairman of the Anscombe Society and one of the students lobbying for an abstinence center, said establishing the center would lend institutional support to students struggling to remain abstinent in the university's "hook-up culture." While only a minority of students may be interested in pursuing an abstinent lifestyle, Alicea reasons that the number of LGBT students is also small.

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