Friday, February 13, 2004


The headline is to answer this question from my post below:

"Is there no limit to the depths this maladministration will stoop?"

Apparently, there is not.

A story in today's New York Times has Ashcroft defending his subpoena of women's medical records from several hospitals.

The department has subpoenaed at least six hospitals, in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago and Ann Arbor, Mich., to obtain medical histories for women who have had abortions in the last three years performed by the doctors now suing the government. A federal judge in Chicago has thrown out a subpoena against Northwestern University Medical Center because he said it was a "significant intrusion" on patient privacy, and hospital administrators in other cities are contesting the demand as well.
There are obvious signs of retribution here; the records subpoenaed are only from those doctors suing the government. There are also signs that Ashcroft sees himself - and his band of merry men - as omniscient:

Mr. Ashcroft told reporters that "if the central issue in the case, an issue raised by those who brought the case, is medical necessity, we need to look at medical records to find out if indeed there was medical necessity." He refused to say whether he had personally signed off on the subpoenas for the records.
Is anyone in the Department of Justice qualified to determine what is medically necessary? And if there are questions, how will they resolve them? They can't maintain the women's privacy - as promised - and then subpoena them or their doctors to ask pointed questions about something that should be strictly between a person and their doctors. And of course, see the last sentence, Ashcroft won't even accept responsibility for his actions: "He refused to say whether he had personally signed off on the subpoenas for the records."

This is, on the face, a clear instance of intimidation; of the doctors, the medical facilities where they practice and the women involved. It is spiteful, hateful and intrusive. And it is entirely in character.

Women make up more than 50% of the citizens of the US. If a single woman votes for BushCo in November they are fools.

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