U.S. Department of Justice Subpoenas Medical Records From Los Angeles, San Diego Planned Parenthood Affiliates
The U.S. Justice Department has issued subpoenas for medical records of women who have undergone abortions at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties and four other Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide, DOJ officials confirmed Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports (Hymon, Los Angeles Times, 2/27). Attorney General John Ashcroft and DOJ lawyers have said that the records are necessary to determine the validity of doctors' claims that the so called "partial-birth" abortion procedures are sometimes medically necessary (Eggen, Washington Post, 2/27). The subpoenas were issued in connection to a case filed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America and joined by the San Francisco Department of Public Health that challenges a bill banning partial-birth abortions that President Bush signed into law last November. Federal judges in California, Nebraska and New York have issued restraining orders that bar enforcement of the law, and all three judges have scheduled trials, to begin March 29, on whether the law violates standards set by the U.S. Supreme Court because it does not include an exception to protect a woman's health (California Healthline, 2/17). DOJ also subpoenaed medical records from Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania, Planned Parenthood of New York City and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington (Anderson, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 2/26). Ashcroft has asked the affiliates to surrender the medical records by March 5 (Tapper, ABCNews.com, 2/26). However, the affiliates so far have refused to comply with the DOJ subpoenas, according to the AP/Sun (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 2/26). NPR's "Morning Edition" host Bob Edwards on Friday discussed with NPR correspondent Libby Lewis the latest DOJ subpoenas and the lawsuits challenging the partial-birth abortion ban (Edwards, "Morning Edition," NPR, 2/27). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.