Federal Judges Disagree That Partial-Birth Abortion Records are Needed
by Steven Ertelt
April 22, 2004
New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — Though the first round of trials in three lawsuits filed against the ban on partial-birth abortions is almost complete, the battle over whether or not the Justice Department could get records of women who had the gruesome abortion procedure continues.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Casey found New York’s Presbyterian hospital in contempt of court for refusing to turn over patient records to the Justice Department.
The Bush administration is looking to use the records to defend the pro-life law and establish that partial-birth abortions are never medically necessary and almost always performed on healthy mothers and healthy babies.
Casey fined the hospital $500, but Presbyterian appealed the decision.
On Wednesday, judges on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seemed to disagree with Judge Casey’s decision.
"I just don’t understand what the records will prove in this case,” said Judge Sonia Sotomayor, in an AP report.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said the Justice Department has a wealth of other information and people available to provide the same information without obtaining the partial-birth abortion records.
In a ruling last month, Judge Casey had asked Presbyterian Hospital to turn over its abortion records. The hospital refused, citing patient privacy, and now Casey says the records are important to deciding the case.
"It became increasingly evident as this trial went on that significant concerns that were relevant to this case were in those hospital records," Casey said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. Without the records, Casey has "great fears about justice being achieved here."
Casey said there was no violation of patient privacy in turning over the abortion records because personal information would be redacted.
In addition to New York, cases are being tried in San Francisco and Nebraska.
The San Francisco trial has concluded and federal judge Phyllis Hamilton says her decision will cover only Planned Parenthood and a San Francisco hospital — rather than issuing a nationwide decision.