Appeals Court upholds sentencing of woman convicted of faking cancer diagnosis to get state to pay for late term abortion

By Dave Andrusko

Chalice Renee Zeitner

In April 2016, a jury in Arizona convicted Chalice Renee Zeitner of faking a cancer diagnosis in a scheme to get the state to pay for the 2010 abortion of her 22-week-old unborn baby.

On Tuesday the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected her appeal, ruling she must serve out her 28-year sentence following her convictions for three crimes–fraud, forgery and theft. “She was separately convicted for defrauding a military charity and for aggravated drunken driving,” the Associated Press reported.

Now 32, Zeitner appealed her convictions in the abortion and charity fraud cases. “Her attorney argued prosecutors violated her medical privacy by using her doctors’ testimony and medical records to prove their case,” according to the AP. “Tuesday’s appeals court ruling says state law requires physicians to disclose confidential medical information in suspected fraud cases and rejected her appeal.”

As we reported in 2016, Zeitner was arrested in Georgia in May 2015 where authorities said she was using the alias Al Serkez.

“Investigators say the scheme was discovered a year after the April 2010 abortion when a doctor who performed a C-section during Zeitner’s subsequent pregnancy found no signs of cancer,” according ABC 15.

“Another doctor who was listed on medical records as having treated Zeitner for cancer later said he never treated her.”

Zeitner was enrolled in an Arizona health care program which would pay for abortion in very limited conditions, such as when the mother’s life is endangered. She did not mention cancer when she applied, prosecutors said.

Zeitner tried her scam twice. She first told her doctor in 2010

that her fetus had been exposed to radiation. After a specialist found her fetus was healthy, they say Zeitner didn’t give up the alleged scheme and forged a letter from another doctor that stated her pregnancy had to be terminated to save her life.

Undeterred, she forged a letter from another doctor which read that the abortion was necessary to save her life.

“Zeitner allegedly claimed before her abortion that she had stage IV cancer in her abdomen and lower spine and told her obstetrician that she was scheduled to resume cancer treatment at a hospital in Boston,” Fox News reported.

The other many charges she was convicted of included defrauding charities for military vets and “using a fake identity on social media to convince her boyfriend to set up a fundraising website for her cancer treatments,” according to the AP.