Friday, March 26, 2004
How Appealing reports this decision today by a split three judge panel of the Seventh Circuit.
Judge Richard Posner wrote the majority opinion. Here are the excerpts that Howard Bashman quotes on How Appealing:
The natural sensitivity that people feel about the disclosure of their medical records--the sensitivity that lies behind HIPAA--is amplified when the records are of a procedure that Congress has now declared to be a crime. Even if all the women whose records the government seeks know what "redacted" means, they are bound to be skeptical that redaction will conceal their identity from the world. This is hardly a typical case in which medical records get drawn into a lawsuit. Reflecting the fierce emotions that the long-running controversy over the morality and legality of abortion has made combustible, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and the litigation challenging its constitutionality--and even more so the rash of suits around the country in which the Department of Justice has been seeking the hospital records of abortion patients--have generated enormous publicity. These women must know that, and doubtless they are also aware that hostility to abortion has at times erupted into violence, including criminal obstruction of entry into abortion clinics, the firebombing of clinics, and the assassination of physicians who perform abortions.
Perhaps I will actually read the decisions in this case and offer a more educated response later. All I will say now is that I hope Judge Posner made a more detailed attempt to establish that these fears were reasonable than he does in this quote.
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