Chalice Renee Zeitner is on trial for allegedly forging medical documents to convince her OB-GYN to end her second-trimester pregnancy in April 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Adam Schwartz, Zeitner's lawyer, told the jury on April 7 that the 30-year-old woman honestly believed she had terminal cancer when she asked her doctor to perform the abortion to be able to get cancer treatments to save her life, notes The Arizona Republic.
“She genuinely thought she had cancer,” Schwartz told jurors several times, but Schwartz didn't say why Zeitner thought she had cancer.
According to prosecutors, there is a long time line of "false statements and misrepresentations" by Zeitner, including forged documents that qualified her for the taxpayer-funded abortion that cost the state Medicaid program, Arizona Care Cost Containment System, $6,346.48, Arizona Republic reports.
While federal funds cannot pay for an abortion, states can make their own rules.
The doctor who performed the abortion for Zeitner also delivered her baby in 2011. The same doctor thought something was wrong when he delivered Zeitner's baby by C-section and didn't notice signs of cancer or medical procedures that Zeitner allegedly had. The doctor subsequently reported Zeitner.
The Arizona Attorney General's Office alleges that Zeitner told the doctor she had stage IV sarcoma and had to travel to Boston, Massachusetts, to have cancerous tumors removed from her abdomen and lower spine, reports LawNewz.
Zeitner allegedly asserted that if she did not have the abortion, then her life would be danger. Prosecutors checked with the Massachusetts doctor who said he neither met or treated Zeitner for cancer.
Zeitner is also facing charges in May stemming from a 2012 fraud case when she allegedly charged $25,000 on a credit card she opened under the name of the founder of charity, Veterans Hope. She allegedly scammed another $10,000 from the Veteran Tickets Foundation, a non-profit providing free and discounted tickets to veterans for sporting events, family activities and performances, by claiming to work for Veterans Hope and Armed Forces Racing, according to the Arizona Republic.
Zeitner pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices, money laundering and identity theft among other charges. Court records show the trial for those charges is scheduled for May 25.
Sources: The Arizona Republic, LawNewz / Photo credit: Arizona Attorney General's Office via The Arizona Republic