State-funded abortion case to be heard at Supreme Court

Chalice Zeitner
Chalice Zeitner

The Arizona Supreme Court will review the case of a woman who faked cancer to obtain a state-paid, mid-term abortion in 2010.

Chalice Renee Zeitner, 33, was sentenced to 28 years in prison after she was convicted on fraud, theft and forgery charges. She produced a falsified letter purportedly from a doctor at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, claiming she needed the abortion so she could undergo life-saving treatment. Zeitner was ultimately able to trick doctors and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System into believing that she was terminally ill and needed the procedure.

Zeitner’s attorney, Adam Schwartz, had unsuccessfully asked the Maricopa County Superior Court to suppress information gleaned from six doctors who treated her, claiming she never gave consent for her medical history to be disclosed.

Zeitner made the same argument on appeal, arguing her physician-patient privilege was violated when her medical records were admitted to the court and her physicians allowed to testify against her. But that argument failed again, and the Appellate Court upheld her convictions in January.

The baby, Aryana Vasquez, was ultimately delivered prematurely at 22 weeks and three days and allowed to die in Zeitner’s arms. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade puts viability at 24 weeks.

AHCCCS paid about $6,000 for the abortion.