WASHINGTON â€“ A former chief financial officer (CFO) of a California Planned Parenthood facility has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case and rule that he is entitled to sue the organization over massive fraud charges that he claims took place while he served the abortion provider.
Victor Gonzalez is the former CFO of Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles. He says that he internally audited the organization and found that it had marked up birth control prices far above and beyond their acquisition cost, and in turn requested reimbursement from the government to the tune of $200 million in excess due to the markup.
Gonzalez says he was fired after expressing concern over the practice, and went on to file a lawsuit against the organization in 2005. Three years later, U.S. District Court Judge A. Howard Matz threw out the suit, stating that Gonzalez didnâ€™t qualify to bring the legal challenge because he was not the â€œoriginal sourceâ€ of the figures.
The former Planned Parenthood employee then appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2010, and won his right to be heard as a whistleblower. But as the case was then sent back to the district court, it was again dismissed and an appeal was filed for the second time.
As the appeals court dismissed his challenge in July of last year, attorneys for Gonzalez with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month, asking that it rule that the case should be heard. The organization provided a sample of the content of its petition on Tuesday.
â€œThe Euclid Avenue Center facility obtained birth control pills at a cost of $31,936.95, but added a mark-up of $154,990.05â€”about five times the costâ€”thus receiving a total reimbursement from the state (and through it, the federal government) of $186,927.00,â€ it asserted.
â€œThe Mission Valley Center facility obtained Plan B products at a cost of $9,423.90, but added a mark-up of $96,816.09â€”more than ten times the costâ€”thus receiving a total reimbursement from the government of $106,239.99,â€ the ACLJ continued. â€œPPLA obtained Ortho Novum 777 at a cost of $33,170.96, added a mark-up of $220,365.04â€”roughly six or seven times costâ€”and thus grossed $253,536.00.â€
The lawsuit is filed under the federal False Claims Act (FCA), and asserts that Planned Parenthoodâ€™s practices not only cheated the state and federal government, but also takes money from the American taxpayer.
â€œThe False Claims Act is the federal governmentâ€™s â€˜primary civil remedy to redress false claims for government funds,â€™ according to the Department of Justice itself,â€ the ACLJ states. â€œIn fact, FCA suits have brought in more than $38 billion in recoveries in the last three decades. â€¦ We hope the Supreme Court will agree to hear this case and to overturn the Ninth Circuitâ€™s very unfortunate ruling.â€
Planned Parenthood has not yet issued a statement about the appeal. However, its site does include comment about those who speak out against abortion at the various facilities, and asserts that women are superior to preborn children.
â€œRather than anti-abortion participants reflecting on their own growth, sin, and omissions, they gather, not unlike the Romans and Pharisees, to besiege women while berating them for the moral choices they make,â€ it contends. â€œThey re-create the mobs and violence that surrounded Jesusâ€™ death.â€
â€œTo carry out the teachings of the New Testament, teachings of inclusive love and justice for all, we profoundly support the moral agency of women. We honor their superiority as full human beings over nascent life in the womb,â€ the organization continues. â€œWe support womenâ€™s capacity to exercise her own values of life, home, family, faith, children without a mobâ€™s imposition of their own self-defined rules upon her.â€