Judge: New York Hospital Must Turn Over Partial-Birth Abortion Records

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 20, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Judge: New York Hospital Must Turn Over Partial-Birth Abortion Records

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 20, 2004

New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — A federal judge has ruled that a New York hospital that has been dragging its feet in complying with a request for its records on partial-birth abortions must hand them over to the Justice Department. The federal government is seeking the records in its bid to defend the ban on partial-birth abortions.

Judge Richard Casey ruled Thursday that New York-based Presbyterian Hospital must comply with the Bush administration’s request.

The decision is a victory for the government, following decisions by federal judges that hospitals in Chicago and San Francisco did not have to turn over their records. The judges in those cases said doing so would violate the privacy protections guaranteed to the women who had abortions there.

Judge Casey said the records are not covered by privacy laws because the information identifying the women would be deleted.

The hospital argued that turning over the records could result in "anger and mistrust of its patients, and damage to its reputation." Presbyterian hospital officials told the Associated Press they are considering appealing the ruling.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department dropped its request for partial-birth abortion records from six Planned Parenthood affiliates after it appeared they would not be able to obtain them.

Earlier this week, Judge Casey denied a motion by abortion advocates seeking to overturn the ban without a hearing. Casey said that a trial should move forward to determine the veracity of claims by abortion advocates that such abortions are necessary to protect women’s health.

The National Abortion Federation, an association of abortion businesses, filed one of the three lawsuits seeking to overturn the pro-life law.

As a result of Casey’s decision, the trial that was previously planned for March 29 will proceed. Similar trials will occur in San Francisco and Omaha, where two other lawsuits were filed.