Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Your "Partial Birth" Abortion Records Belong To The State

The White House and the Department of Justice want to subpoenaing the medical records of women who had a "partial birth" abortion. The AMA reacts:

The American Medical Association voted to express concerns to the White House and the Department of Justice about subpoenaing medical records in the court actions involving the procedure commonly called partial birth abortion.

Apparently, the reason the government wants to see these records is in order to determine how many "partial birth" abortions are actually performed. (Inquiring minds want to know: Why doesn't the Department of Justice already have this information? After all, the politicians have already banned "partial birth" abortions. Could it be that our beloved political buffoons banned a [non-existent] procedure, based on unknown numbers?)

Hmm, let's see. Is there any other possible way to obtain this information without violating a patient's privacy, interfering with the patient-doctor relationship, and damaging the doctor's credibility and the patient's trust? Anyone?

How about looking at OR records? You know, the OR, the part of the hospital or clinic with all the surgical instruments. The OR, where all these "partial birth" abortion procedures are performed. The same OR where one cannot blink without 100 people recording the date and time of the event, while simultaneously performing a count to make sure you didn't misplace your blink.

All you'd have to do is go through the instruments records and see the dates and times the D&E packs were used. You could also cross-reference with the OR schedule and records, after removing the patient's name to protect privacy.

But no, as per the Department of Justice, why not look at the patient's chart instead, the document that contains a woman's most detailed and private medical information.

Better yet, why not have the patient give a public and detailed account of having the procedure. And, just to make sure we get the data we need, why not have the event covered live by all the major TV networks. Followed closely by posting the patient's chart online so we can all have access to it 24/7.

Asked about Dr. Golden's statement that the AMA was tailoring actions to avoid offending the Bush administration, Dr. J. Edward Hill, president-elect of the AMA, told Reuters Health that the AMA "makes decisions based on the issues, not on whether or not we will offend either party." He said the AMA will contact the administration "right away" but said he wasn't sure if the AMA would seek a meeting with representatives of the White House and the Justice Department or if it will send a written communication.

Note to AMA: forget about expressing concern. This calls for outrage, hostility, and vigorous denunciation and public shaming of the Department of Justice (and, maybe as a last resort, slapping them silly).

The confidentiality of patient records is, and should remain, sacrosanct. Shame on all who are willing to compromise it for political and ideological reasons!

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