Indiana Superior Court Judge Kenneth Johnson has ruled that Planned Parenthood of Indiana must turn over confidential medical records of more than 80 patients. Johnson denied Planned Parenthood’s request for an injunction to stop Attorney General Steve Carter (R) from gaining access to the records of over 80 girls under the age of 14. Carter’s office has already obtained records from 8 patients. Carter claims that the seizure of these confidential records is necessary to the state Medicaid Fraud Unit’s investigation of reproductive health clinics’ reporting of sexual abuse, according to Kaiser. Planned Parenthood of Indiana CEO Betty Cockrum said at the outset of the case that “This is a clear-cut case of abuse of power. Instead of protecting medical privacy rights, the attorney general is selling them out to his fishing expedition.”
The case in Indiana is being compared to a similar case in Kansas earlier this year in which women’s medical records from two abortion clinics were subpoenaed by the state. Two clinics in Kansas are still fighting attempts by Attorney General Phil Kline to subpoena medical records of 90 women and girls who sought late-term abortions at their clinics. Kline claimed that he needed the records in order to prosecute child rape.
These cases follow on the heels of last year’s attempt by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to subpoena the medical records of over 2,700 women who had undergone certain abortion procedures at Planned Parenthood affiliated clinics across the country. In March of 2004, the DOJ dropped its subpoena. Planned Parenthood of Indiana has asked for a stay in its case and plans to appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals if the request is denied.