Unfortuantely [sic], a general “fishing license” is EXACTLY what Attorney General Phil [sic] Kline is looking for. Kline is wanting to be able to obtain the medical records of any women who had late-term abortions to “see” if any crimes have been committed. That’s a very important distinctions: The BTK investigators KNEW crimes had been committed, were likely confident that they had their suspect and were seeking access to a single medical record in order to make a final confirmation before arresting the man; Kline doesn’t know for sure if any crimes have been committed and just wants to go traipsing through women’s private medical histories (including their sexual history and use of birth control, among other things), on the off chance that he might catch someone having done something wrong. That’s just not how our legal system works, and is not just a violation of the womens’ medical privacy, but I would imagine it could also easily be seen as an unreasonable search, in violation of the 4th Amendment.
There’s a difference between looking through a suspect’s medical records after specific evidence of a crime exists and saying “Give me your records, I’ll tell you what you did wrong.” It’s a presumption of innocence issue, and an unreasonable search and seizure, and even an equal protection violation.
That’s why there was no outcry when Kline said that he was cooperating with Texas prosecutors in investigating the death of a Texas woman after a third trimester abortion at George Tiller’s clinic. There was a specific incident under investigation. If Kline wanted to investigate a particular abortion, a particular pregnancy, a particular patient, and had some evidence of wrongdoing, there would be nowhere near the persistent outcry that has followed his Pfishing expedition.
He wants to make women afraid. He wants women who exercise their right to control their own body and make their own medical decisions to know that some snoopy Attorney General with designs on higher office might just come and along and spread their personal records in front of the public.
What a bastard.
His rationale could just as easily lead to the opening of anyone’s records. A father could be suspected of accessory to child rape if he bought birth control pills for his under age daughter. Kline could demand medical records demonstrating that the daughter has a medical condition requiring the Pill. A woman who comes to the hospital with a miscarriage could have her medical records and those of her relatives subpoenaed to determine if she bought an abortifacient.
Kline’s rationale would lead to investigations against women who drink, smoke, use drugs, or engage in high risk activity while pregnant, if that abortion fails in the third trimester.
What stops him? The constitutional right to privacy. This is exactly why the courts found for Roe in Roe v. Wade. Exactly. There is no way to have these private medical decisions be made in the full glare of politically ambitious prosecutors and a scandal driven media. So these decisions are for a woman and her doctor to make.