Monday, June 06, 2005
Another Nail in Women's Health Care
A woman seeking reproductive health care usually starts by filling out a questionnaire detailing her complete medical history including whether she is sexually active, past illnesses, number of pregnancies, number of live births, contraceptive use, marital status, gender of her sexual partner, occupation, address and more.
Yet, as the legal battles over reproductive rights continue to increase in number and intensity, more and more women have become reluctant to be open and frank.
And after May 30--when an Indiana judge denied the request of Planned Parenthood of Indiana to stop the state's Attorney General Steve Carter from accessing the medical records of its young clients--it may be even harder for doctors to gather an accurate health history from women and teens.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana filed its lawsuit in March after the state attorney general's office implemented the state Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which apparently overrides federal health privacy laws, to investigate whether more than 40 Planned Parenthood affiliates are properly reporting cases of rape and molestation involving girls under 14. The lawsuit also asked the Superior Court judge to require the return of records already taken by the attorney general's office. Following the judge's denial, Planned Parenthood requested a stay in the case and has vowed to appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals if necessary.