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Planned Parenthood Facility Violates Privacy of Patient Records

by Steven Ertelt | WASHINGTON, DC | LIFENEWS.COM | 11/22/03 9:00 AM

State

Planned Parenthood Facility Violates Privacy of Patient Records

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 22, 2003

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — For Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates, privacy reigns supreme. A "right" to privacy was used as a basis for the establishment of legal abortion and violation of privacy is used as an argument against pro-life legislation.

Why then did a Planned Parenthood facility in Lubbock, Texas throw away medical records in a trash bin outside the building?

As part of an investigation into identity theft, KCBD-TV in Lubbock investigated several area medical facilities that had discarded private medical records in dumpsters behind their offices rather than shredding the documents and disposing of them properly.

Documents found in the trash outside Planned Parenthood had the name, social security number, address of clients and specific information about their diagnosis.

The CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Lubbock claimed some clients could have thrown the papers away themselves, saying "A possible explanation for this occurrence is that the patient took this piece of paper and threw it in the dumpster, thus explaining why there was a piece of paper outside the large trash bag."

However, KCBD found more than one piece of paper. The station contacted one of the women whose names appeared on the medical records it obtained.

When shown the document, the woman said "I haven’t been there (Planned Parenthood) in over a year. I have never seen the paper before and there is no way I threw it away."

While two other medical facilities identified in the investigation took responsibility for the discarded records and say they have taken steps to prevent future occurrences, Planned Parenthood was the only agency cited by the station to blame the disappearance of the documents on someone else.

That comes in stark contrast to an Iowa Planned Parenthood that, in October 2002, refused to turn over medical records to local police investigating the death of an abandoned infant.

Even though other medical facilities cooperated, Jill June, director of Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa, said giving its medical records to police to aid in finding the mother of the infant would "place in jeopardy" the privacy rights of their clients.

The abortion business took legal action to keep the medical records out of the hands of authorities. The court actions took so much attention away from the investigation into the child’s death and cost the local government so much money that it eventually relented.

That the Lubbock television station found private medical documents outside Planned Parenthood doesn’t come as a shock to one pro-life attorney.

"Abortion facilities should clean up their own houses before they attack the motives of state legislatures and officials protecting the health of women seeking abortions," Nikolas Nikas, General Counsel of Americans United for Life, told LifeNews.com.  "This incident reveals that abortion facilities have greater potential for violating patient confidentiality than common sense state regulations aimed at protecting women from the risk of substandard care."

The new HIPAA Act covers the privacy medical records and their proper disposal. A violation of the law could result in fines of $50,000 or more or jail time.