I wish this was a joke, but it isn't: Anti-abortion fishing expeditions may soon hand the medical records of more than 2,000 women to grand juries in Wichita and Johnson County. Two thousand!
All of this is supposed to be OK because the names of the women will be removed.
If you were one of the women involved would you feel safe? I know I'd be pleased as punch to have someone wading through my medical history, and that I'd have total faith that nothing would ever become public. Please note the sarcasm.
This is being done at the instigation of Operation Rescue in Wichita and anti-abortion District Attorney Phill Kline in Johnson County.
The Wichita Eagle went to the heart of the matter when it editorialized today that this may well mean that it's open season on patient records.
A hunt through women's medical records soon could begin at the Sedgwick County Courthouse -- one set in motion by a petition, paid for by tax dollars and sanctioned Wednesday by a judge. That should bother Kansans on both sides of the abortion issue....
(T)here's something chilling about the idea of 15 strangers on a grand jury poring over someone's patient records and discussing and second-guessing her medical and sexual history and mental health -- even if she is nameless.
Patients visit their doctors expecting privacy, something underscored by the protections of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. If they knew that their doctor visit could end up being fodder for a grand jury investigation -- or a Bill O'Reilly tirade on Fox News, as also has happened -- might they have gone to the doctor at all? Some surely would not.
IMAGE: The Wichita Eagle's Richard Crowson weighs in with his opinion on the issue. See the full cartoon.