info 02.13.04

Medical Privacy

The Justice Department is demanding patient records from, among other hospitals, Columbia-Presbyterian, Cornell, and St. Luke's-Roosevelt, for hundreds of women who have had abortions in those hospitals since last November. Since the passage of the so-called Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Justice Department wants to know more about what abortions are being performed and why.

But your medical records are confidential, right?

According to yesterday's front-page story in the Times, Justice Department attorney Sheila M. Gowan argued before Judge Richard Conway Casey (U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York) that "Individuals no longer possess a reasonable expectation that their histories will remain completely confidential."

What the fuck? Were we out of the country the day that happened? We're not going to make even a stab at privacy any more? Called it off one day, did we? Game over?

Sheila, baby, if we had your home phone number, we'd publish it in a heartbeat because we decided this morning at MUG that attorneys no longer possess a reasonable expectation of domestic or telephonic privacy. Yup, snap, just like that.

We'd like to stipulate that you have a reasonable expectation of not getting your ass hauled off to Guantanamo, Sheila. Like to, but can't. It's just so madcap how you can go from legal combatant to enemy combatant these days with nought but the old wink and a nod. Maybe we can round up some people with HIV/AIDS, too! They can't have any expectations that their medical records will remain private.

Something you'll no doubt appreciate, though: if you do end up in Gitmo, we're not gonna charge you until…oh, uh…whenever.

Attorney? No way, Sheila. You may possess an expectation of being represented by counsel but, woo-ha!, that sucker's gone, too.

Sheila, your boss, J.A. from the J.D. totally ruleZ!



Times article
ACLU's FAQ on Government Access to Medical Records
Center for Medical Consumers
NARAL Press Release
On a more pleasant topic…
Some of the freshest and most fragrant long-stemmed roses this Valentine's Day will be available from the Seven Pines Flower Farm stand at the Union Square Greenmarket. Michael Barry, the last commercial rose grower on Long Island, is waiting until the last minute to cut the several thousand white, pink, yellow, and red blossoms he'll truck to Manhattan today and tomorrow. They're $40 a dozen. If you can't get to the market you can order online or at 631.207.7777.

We'll be off for President's Day, back on Tuesday.


New York Harbor

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