Friday, February 01, 2008

Grand juries may soon be pawing through the medical records of thousands of women

By Diane Silver

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.


May said...

How can they even justify this kind of blatant disregard for privacy?


Michael Caddell said...

I warned you, especially Diane, several months ago and also sent along to every major newspaper in the so-called great State of Kansas, but not one so-called journalist listened. I had a hand in sending along the following complaint to the ACLU and they wouldn't touch it. The text is accurate the identity of the complainant has been withheld (any woman journalist worth her salt can figure this out):

This “Inquisition” subpoena required me to initially testify at the AG’s office for about four hours, with the above people present, including an unidentified "court reporter" and a "records custodian" for the first day. A judge was not present at anytime during this or the subsequent meeting. When I said I couldn’t remember everything in my patients' medical files (he had been asking me about Dr. Tiller’s redacted files) KS AG assistant Maxwell said I needed to bring my own patients' private medical files the next week. He reassured me and my attorney, in front of the KBI agents and others attending that in no way did he want to "see them" nor would he try to "get copies of them." The next week upon my arrival, he demanded that I turn over 2 of the 15 private unredacted medical files of my patients to the "records custodian." If I refused he stated that he would charge me with “criminal contempt” subject to immediate arrest by the attending KBI agents present and face an indeterminate length of detention. I feel that my civil rights and the civil rights of my patients were grossly violated during both of these meetings. I reluctantly, under duress and suffering extreme anxiety and mental anguish allowed them to seize the records. My attorney at that time rigorously questioned the legitimacy of these proceedings, but to no avail. I have been under the understanding as outlined in the "Inquisition" order that to speak of this proceeding to anybody would lead to my arrest for criminal contempt "without the written approval of the court." Subsequent to these meetings, Bill O’Reilly from Fox “news” network indicated that he had in his possession private medical records that he read from during his nationally televised broadcast program, these records had been in Kline’s possession and based on the description O'Reilly made of particular cases, I believe may have been from the unredacted private medical records of my patients seized by these same officers of the State of Kansas. I recently was interviewed for a position as a medical doctor at the Topeka Women's Correctional facility and refused employment by the clinical supervising nurse according to her statement, because "you know why."

- 30 -

In my opinion, coffee table liberals and self described "Christian conservatives" are worthless in times like these -- even dangerously complacent, like good Germans and compliant jews under Hitler. Radical mass mobilization and fundamental political and economic change is the only solution.

Former KS AG Paul Morrison should've arrested Phill Kline the day he took the oath of office, but he didn't and look what happened to him ... now to your female neighbors and friends records.

Kline initially learned of the names of women at Tiller's clinics by raiding the files of the motels in Wichita and pulling the names off the registers then comparing them with visual surveillance from anti-abortion agents working the perimeter at Tiller's clinics, running tags, etc.

The anti-abortion extremists are in the legislature of Kansas, in the law enforcement offices, in the courthouses ... it has been a an onslaught for the last decade or more ... oh well.

uniformityville_horror said...

This is where I personally tithe: