Indiana Subpoenas Medical Records of Girls Under the Age of 14
Indiana Superior Court Judge Kenneth Johnson has ruled that Planned Parenthood of Indiana must turn over confidential medical records of more than 80 patients. Johnson denied Planned Parenthood's request for an injunction to stop Attorney General Steve Carter (R) from gaining access to the records of over 80 girls under the age of 14. Carter's office has already obtained records from 8 patients. Carter claims that the seizure of these confidential records is necessary to the state Medicaid Fraud Unit's investigation of reproductive health clinics' reporting of sexual abuse, according to Kaiser. Planned Parenthood of Indiana CEO Betty Cockrum said at the outset of the case that "This is a clear-cut case of abuse of power. Instead of protecting medical privacy rights, the attorney general is selling them out to his fishing expedition."
The case in Indiana is being compared to a similar case in Kansas earlier this year in which women's medical records from two abortion clinics were subpoenaed by the state. Two clinics in Kansas are still fighting attempts by Attorney General Phil Kline to subpoena medical records of 90 women and girls who sought late-term abortions at their clinics. Kline claimed that he needed the records in order to prosecute child rape.
These cases follow on the heels of last year's attempt by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to subpoena the medical records of over 2,700 women who had undergone certain abortion procedures at Planned Parenthood affiliated clinics across the country. In March of 2004, the DOJ dropped its subpoena. Planned Parenthood of Indiana has asked for a stay in its case and plans to appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals if the request is denied
Media Resources: Kaiser 6/1/05; Planned Parenthood 3/14/05, 5/31/05; Indianapolis Star 5/31/05, The New York Times 6/1/05; Feminist Daily News Wire 2/3/04, 3/12/04, 3/2/05.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .