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I knew you were a staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood, but there’s one comment in your response that really has stunned me. And, that’s not easy to do. I can’t believe that you really believe that it is “morally outrageous that one of the most well-respected sources of information on sexuality and pregnancy prevention is given so little government funding…” Barry, “so little” government funding? Planned Parenthood receives hundreds of millions of dollars in federal taxpayer money each year – some $350-million last year alone. You believe they need more taxpayer money? How much more would you like to give them? And, the only thing that’s “morally outrageous” is the fact that the federal government continues to fund the nation’s largest abortion provider with our tax dollars, year after year.
Not only are Americans fed up with subsidizing Planned Parenthood at the federal level, there’s growing concern at the local level as more communities take action to keep their state and local taxes from going to subsidize Planned Parenthood.
The Ohio example is just one of many. In recent months, local communities across the country have said no to Planned Parenthood funding including Orange County, California. In Tennessee, lawmakers voted to redirect more than one million dollars that would have gone to PP to local health organizations. And, now there are new reports from Texas where a former Planned Parenthood employee says a clinic was pushing employees to strive for abortion quotas to boost profits. The former employee, who quit after viewing an ultrasound-guided abortion, told a reporter that “abortion is the most lucrative part of Planned Parenthood’s operations.”
As we continue to pursue this very troubling multi-million dollar fraud case against Planned Parenthood affiliates in California, we’ll be watching a Supreme Court case very closely that could very well have a direct bearing on our fraud case.
On November 30th, the Justices will hear arguments in Graham County Soil & Water Conservation District v. U.S. ex. rel. Wilson, a very different case – but a case that raises similar issues addressed in our fraud case – issues involving the False Claims Act. We’ve just filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in this case.
As I reported in my earlier post, the case we’re involved in is on appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In that case, Gonzalez v. Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles (PPLA), we represent Victor Gonzalez, an ex-employee of the PPLA affiliate. He accuses the PP state affiliates of over billing to the tune of some $100 million. A federal district court threw the case out, however, on the basis of two supposed “public disclosures” of the information underlying the fraud claim. Both alleged disclosures came from state government proceedings. On appeal, we’re arguing that the state government disclosures should not bar Gonzalez’s suit.
The Graham County case, now before the Supreme Court, addresses the question to what extent, if any, state and local government disclosures can bar False Claims Act lawsuits. As you know, since Supreme Court decisions bind lower courts as well, a victory for the claimant in the Graham County case could translate directly into a victory for us in the California fraud case.
The Graham County case is important to the ability of citizens to blow the whistle on state and local government fraud. We’re urging the Supreme Court to read the False Claims Act in a way that is consistent with its text, structure, legislative history, and purpose of encouraging private citizens to root out frauds against the federal taxpayer.
That’s exactly the kind of citizen involvement that took place in our fraud case when Gonzalez blew the whistle on Planned Parenthood.
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