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Former Planned Parenthood Clinic Director Sue Thayer

Former Planned Parenthood Employee Uncovers Fraudulent Business Practices

May 13, 2021

Allowing non-medical staff to issue prescriptions that could trigger dangerous side effects would be unheard of in any clinical scenario.

Except one.

Planned Parenthood has made it common practice to dole out prescription contraceptives without first obtaining an order from a physician, putting the very women they claim to serve at risk—and collecting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in the process.

One former Planned Parenthood employee watched it happen for several years, and now she’s speaking up.

WHO: Sue Thayer

For 17 years, Sue Thayer worked for two different Planned Parenthood clinics.

As an adoptive and foster parent, Sue always valued life and hoped that by working with Planned Parenthood she could help reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies through contraceptive education and use.

But over the years, Sue witnessed increasingly questionable business practices throughout the organization. And she saw the organization’s mission and vision shift—becoming more and more driven by profit and less and less concerned about the patients they were serving.

WHAT: Thayer v. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland

While Sue witnessed a long list of unscrupulous—and in some cases downright dangerous—practices, ADF is representing her in a False Claims Act lawsuit. The suit is meant to hold Planned Parenthood responsible for millions of dollars in “repeated false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible claims for reimbursements” to Medicaid.

Sue claims non-medical staff illegally dispensed prescription contraceptives to patients without a physician’s order, but it didn’t stop there. In return, Medicaid reimbursed Planned Parenthood up to $26 per cycle.

Sue also claims Planned Parenthood illegally billed Medicaid for routine, abortion-related follow-up visits even though Iowa Medicaid explicitly prohibited them from billing Medicaid for those post-abortion visits. Putting their patients at risk yet again, Planned Parenthood had a policy of delaying those visits for weeks to try to hide the fact that they were related to the underlying abortions. 

WHEN: July 2012–Present

Sue initially filed her unsealed complaint in July 2012. And her case has been in court ever since. The case was dismissed once, but ADF appealed that decision, and the appeals court reversed the dismissal of some of Sue’s claims. Now, the courts are considering the two remaining claims mentioned above. First, that Planned Parenthood filed fraudulent claims for reimbursement for unprescribed contraceptives that Planned Parenthood’s staff illegally dispensed without a physician’s order. And second, that Planned Parenthood illegally billed Medicaid for routine, abortion-related follow-up visits. Unfortunately, the district court ruled in Planned Parenthood’s favor on both these claims. But ADF is appealing that ruling back up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th circuit and is representing Sue before that court today, on May 13.

If that appeal is successful, the case will go back to the district court for trial.

Planned Parenthood also tried to punish Sue for taking a stand by filing a motion to collect more than $2 million in attorney’s fees from Sue and her attorneys. An award that large would have bankrupted Sue, and ADF vigorously opposed it. Thankfully, the district court denied the motion late last year.


Sue Thayer served as the Center Manager of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s Storm Lake, Iowa clinic from 1991–2008 and for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s LeMars, Iowa clinic from 1993–1997.

WHY: To stop Planned Parenthood from receiving taxpayer funds when they jeopardize their patients' health

“No person, no business should view a woman’s body as a profit center, yet that is exactly what Planned Parenthood does.” - Sue Thayer

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