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Court Ruling Protects Patient Privacy
CINCINNATI — Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region (PPSWO) applauded today's court decision protecting women's confidential medical records in Ohio. The ruling came in response to an attempt by anti-choice attorney Brian Hurley to discover 10 years’ worth of medical records of young women seeking abortion services as part of the case Roe v. Planned Parenthood. Today, the First District Court of Appeals of Ohio held that the plaintiffs were not entitled to the records to support their claims and, in particular, that "a private plaintiff's interest in attempting to bolster a speculative punitive-damages award alone does not outweigh the patients' interest in maintaining confidentiality."
"Today’s ruling is a victory for patients and the right to medical privacy. We are pleased that the court saw this attempt to invade private medical records for what it was — an intrusion into some of the most personal, private information an individual has," said PPSWO CEO Becki Brenner.
Nationally, Planned Parenthood has fought and won similar medical privacy battles. In 2004, Planned Parenthood successfully blocked U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's attempt to obtain 900 confidential medical records from Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country. In 2005, in Storm Lake, Iowa, Planned Parenthood defeated another attempt by government to invade confidential medical records.
"Planned Parenthood is committed to medical privacy and will do everything in our power to protect our clients' confidential health information,” said Brenner. “Planned Parenthood's top priorities are the health and safety of our patients; we are committed to protecting teenagers from abuse and we take very seriously our duty to report it."
Today's ruling can be found at: www.hamilton-co.org/appealscourt
From the ruling:
"Though the Roes alleged that Planned Parenthood had systematically and intentionally violated Ohio law, they offered no evidence to support this artifice — and the record is devoid of any." (p 14)
"Even if the records were even tenuously necessary, the burden of disclosure on Planned Parenthood and its patients would exceed the value of the records to this litigation." (p 15)
"...we acknowledge and recognize that, under the proper circumstances, the physician-patient privilege between an abortion patient and her physician may be afforded constitutional protection under the penumbra of privacy rights." (p 15)
Planned Parenthood, a non-profit agency, is the largest provider of reproductive health
care, education and advocacy in our area, with 12 centers in 16 counties throughout
Southwest Ohio. More than 40,000 people rely on Planned Parenthood every year —
regardless of income level — for affordable birth control, breast and cervical cancer
screenings, emergency contraception, prenatal care, and other vital reproductive health
services. Planned Parenthood reaches over 12,000 people every year through its
outstanding community education programs.
The agency, headquartered in Cincinnati, provides reproductive health care services and
education programs and training in Greater Cincinnati, Dayton, Springfield and