The penis privilege
If George Bush had had an abortion we could get a look at his medical records.
Judge Casey issued a temporary injunction in November preventing the government from enforcing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. He said last week that he was prepared to lift that injunction and possibly clear the way for the government to enforce the law if the records were not produced.
Sheila M. Gowan, a Justice Department lawyer, told Judge Casey that the demand for the records was intended in part to find out whether the doctors now suing the government had actually performed procedures prohibited under the new law, and whether the procedures were medically necessary “or if it was just the doctor’s preference to perform the procedure.”
The department said in its unsuccessful effort to enforce the Northwestern subpoena that the demand for records did not “intrude on any significant privacy interest of the hospital’s patients” because the names and other identifiable information would be deleted.
Citing federal case law, the department said in a brief that “there is no federal common law” protecting physician-patient privilege. In light of “modern medical practice” and the growth of third-party insurers, it said, “individuals no longer possess a reasonable expectation that their histories will remain completely confidential.”
Oddly enough, Sheila wasn’t asked to help out in gaining access to Rush Limbaugh’s medical records.