Extremely Fishy Planned Parenthood Lawsuit Just a Sign of Shit to ComeS

A newly unsealed lawsuit in Texas alleges that Planned Parenthood falsified tens of thousands of Medicare claims in order to maximize profits. Serious charges, indeed — until you take a look at who filed the lawsuit, who she works for, and how this all fits into a larger plot to win The Battle for America's Uteruses not by overturning Roe v. Wade, but by pushing abortion providers out of business.

According to the suit, which was filed by former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson on behalf of the state of Texas and the US Government, the Planned Parenthood branch ran by Johnson filed 87,000 claims that were "false, fraudulent, or ineligible" for Medicaid reimbursement on her watch. She says her motivation for filing the suit was "to simply expose Planned Parenthood and expose their corruption, and expose what they are doing with American tax dollars."

But Johnson hardly is skinless in this game. She's made a lot of money and notoriety for herself as someone who "converted" from being pro-choice to being anti-choice and then writing a book about it. And she's on the payroll of multiple organizations — Live Action and Americans United for Life, to name a couple — who aim to eliminate abortion, lately by beating up on Planned Parenthood.

Because public opinion has bristled at the anti-choice crowd's latest attempts to demonize and control women, organizations like Americans United for Life and LiveAction are adopting a different tactic. LiveAction's well-known for attempting James O'Keefe-style hidden camera antics, attempting to catch Planned Parenthood employees doing evil whore things like cracking a smile or holding a black mass. And according to a person familiar with AUL, the latest lawsuit is part of a larger strategy designed to interfere with women's access to reproductive health care by tarnishing the reputation of providers, and mostly Planned Parenthood. Smearing the reputations of women who go to Planned Parenthood for care by gathering outside of clinics and holding signs and shouting about how hellbound they are hasn't worked, and so now they've moved on to demonizing providers. My source says Johnson's lawsuit is yet another attempt to "ratchet up the stigma campaign" against providers. They're going after their funding and reputation in a two-pronged effort to render abortion illegal by making it unobtainable.

Rochelle Tafolla of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast told me that the charges against the women's health care provider were absolutely false, and explained that it would be pretty difficult for a Texas Planned Parenthood branch to fabricate fraud at that scale. For starters, for almost a decade, Texas state law has mandated that Planned Parenthood be split into two corporations — one that provides preventative health care, and one that provides abortions — in order to prevent state funds to be used to pay for abortions. Both corporations are subject to exhaustive audits; everything from labs to medical facilities to family planning. And every year, both corporations are subject to state and federal financial audits, audits that more than likely would have caught 87,000 cases of fraud. In addition, internal audits conducted by the organization itself assure that Planned Parenthood is keeping its nose clean.

But even though it seems highly unlikely that the allegations against Planned Parenthood of Texas have any merit, that's not the point of Johnson's lawsuit. "(Abby Johnson's) job," explained Tafolla, "is to make as much publicity in an anti-choice spokesperson role as possible." And even a dismissed lawsuit gives the anti-choice blogging community fodder for years' worth of fabricated anti-Planned Parenthood urban legend-style horror stories. (It's true. It happened to my cousin's ex girlfriend's dad.)

It certainly doesn't hurt that, since the state of Texas has declined to join Johnson's lawsuit, if she wins, she'll net 30% of the proceeds of the settlement herself. Trying to keep poor women from being able to access medical care sure is a lucrative business.

Planned Parenthood Accused of $6M fraud [Washington Times]