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Iowa Officials Request Withdrawal of Subpoena for Clinic Pregnancy Test Results

Citing inadequate time and resources for further litigation, Buena Vista County attorney Phil Havens submitted a request yesterday to the Iowa Supreme Court seeking a withdrawal of his subpoena demanding release of pregnancy test data from the Planned Parenthood clinic in Storm Lake, Iowa. In July, Judge Frank Nelson ordered the clinic to provide test records as part of an ongoing police investigation to identify the mother of a newborn baby found dead at a recycling center in May. However, clinic officialsÑarguing that test results were private medical records protected by confidentiality lawsÑfought the order and filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court. In August, the court granted a stay, temporarily suspending the handover of names and addresses of all women who had a positive pregnancy test between August 15, 2001 and May 30, 2002.

Judge Nelson will need approval from the state Supreme Court to withdraw the subpoena. Havens has expressed he would not seek another court order to obtain patient records in the future. Still, Planned Parenthood intends to formally request a dismissal from the high court, which could still review the case as a “public policy issue that needs to be resolved,” according to the Associated Press. Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa President Jill June cautioned, “The privacy rights of these patients are still in jeopardy.”

Sources:

Kaisernetwork 10/10/02; Associated Press 10/10/02; Omaha World-Herald 10/10/02; Feminist Daily News

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