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Record Battles

posted by awelborn

Feds want abortion records; Planned Parenthood says no

A federal judge in San Francisco yesterday rejected the Justice Department’s attempt to obtain abortion records from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a ruling likely to halt demands for as many as 1,000 patient files from clinics around the country, including the Washington area, according to Justice officials and the family-planning group.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton is a legal setback for the department, which is trying to obtain edited records of patients as it defends the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, approved last year. Planned Parenthood and other organizations have filed lawsuits to overturn the statute on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.

In the Planned Parenthood lawsuit and in another brought in New York by the National Abortion Federation, Justice Department prosecutors have argued that they need the patient records to determine the veracity of claims by physicians that the late-term abortion procedure covered by the law is sometimes medically necessary.



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Peggy

posted March 6, 2004 at 7:46 pm


Geesh,
If the Palm Beach County can get Rush’s medical records, with his name on them, why can’t the feds get this? [I don’t agree w/PBC, but I’m just making a point of inconsistency.]
Usually [sensitive business data, in my experience] proprietary data can be provided to other parties so long as identifying information is deleted. The feds should be able to obtain aggregate data on quantity of abortions performed and at what stage in the pregnancy for each abortion. They could ask for certain data per abortion performed: age of patient, race of patient, stage of pregnancy, reason for abortion if stated, method of procedure, etc. This can all be done in some spreadsheet w/no names, social security #s, insurance provider data, etc. We just want to quantify what PP does. I see no reason why data should not be collected on this information, for legal or census purposes, since we collect similar data on any other “medical procedure.” Why should we not track these statistics? It would seem that PP would want to produce these data to prove their case that the abortions were not partial-birth abortions. I guess they cannot–& there are other things they probably don’t want to see the light of day. DoJ should press this issue! It looks like the courts are going to prevent them from making their case.



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Joanne

posted March 6, 2004 at 8:44 pm


Hi, Peggy:
You are right on all counts. If PP is telling the truth, what do they have to hide?



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michigancatholic

posted March 7, 2004 at 12:14 am


If it were made public the race and age of the mothers, I think it would make a big stink. That’s probably why they don’t want to let go of the data.



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