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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Just a Girl in the World....

Few issues push the hot button like abortion rights, although the word Liberal is gaining ground. The zeal and funding by opponents of Roe v. Wade is creating a political power block. The atmosphere of the country is ripe with the smell of control.

Before you send me nasty e-mails, consider this from Randy Scholfield of The Wichita Eagle:

Upon taking office, Attorney General Phill Kline vowed to enforce Kansas abortion law more aggressively than his predecessor. But his recent effort to force the release of private abortion clinic records goes too far -- and raises questions of whether anti-abortion fervor is clouding his legal judgment.

As revealed by legal briefs made public this week, Mr. Kline for months has been waging a secret battle to force two abortion clinics to release the full records of some 90 patients, including girls under age 16, who had abortions.

It's just about holding adult sexual predators responsible for their crimes, he says.

But medical providers rightly argue that another principle is at stake -- the privacy of medical records, especially regarding one of the most painful and private decisions a woman can make.

What's more, the investigation smacks of a fishing expedition.

The clinics offered to give the attorney general copies with irrelevant private information blacked out. But that apparently wasn't good enough. Why not, if the purpose is to prosecute criminals, not harass women who have sought abortions?

Why focus on records of patients who had late-term abortions, after 22 weeks -- even though many underage teens presumably obtain abortions sooner -- if the intention is to punish sexual predators, not late-term abortion providers?

It's a good question.

I'm tired of seeing persecution of and disregard for the personal privacy of females. I think Kline picked what he saw as an easy target -- young girls with little life experience and education and to whom fighting a nasty lawsuit would seem an insurmountable obstacle. If he got the records, they would not sue to retrieve. The clinic's offer to provide records with irrelevant private information blacked out was reasonable. The fact that it wasn't smacks of an ulterior motive.

On February 24th, according to Ron Sylvester of The Wichita Eagle:

Kline addressed one of the two reasons that have been cited in court records for his investigation -- the sexual activity of girls.

"Rape is a serious crime, and when a 10-, 11-, or 12-year-old is
pregnant, they have been raped under Kansas law," Kline said Thursday. In Kansas, no one under the age of 16 can legally consent to sex.

"There are two things child predators want, access to children and secrecy, and as attorney general I am bound and determined to not give them either."


Then on March 3rd, AP released this:

Kline has said he needs the materials for an investigation into underage
sex and illegal late-term abortions.

Kline is seeking records of women who sought abortions at the clinics during or after their 22nd week of pregnancy. The two unnamed clinics are fighting Kline's request, citing doctor-patient confidentiality.

The records Kline wants include patient's name, medical history, birth control practices and psychological profile, and details of her sex life.

To me, this sounds more truthful. I'm glad Kline ditched the subterfuge: this is about gunning for the clinics. Dr. Tiller of the Wichita Clinic knows a thing or two about people gunning for him. In 1994 he was shot 5 times outside his clinic. Sanctity of life, indeed.

Kansas may be a red state that is roughly 60% republican, but there is uproar in the wheat fields.

On February 25th, according to The Wichita Eagle:

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and a group of female Democratic lawmakers criticized Attorney General Phill Kline on Friday for seeking medical records of women and girls who have had abortions.

In separate news conferences, Sebelius and the lawmakers said Kline's actions were an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

"I find the potential to reveal very personal health histories of women and girls extremely troubling," Sebelius said.

... Fourteen female state representatives, all Democrats, said
Kline's actions were a "fishing expedition," the same term used by lawyers for two abortion clinics fighting Kline's subpoena. The group included Reps. Judith Loganbill, Melody McCray-Miller, Geraldine Flaharty, Delia Garcia and Oletha Faust-Goudeau, all of Wichita.

This was published by The Wichita Eagle on March 1st:

"If this breach of medical privacy is allowed to go forward, no one of us, man or woman, can have confidence that our medical records can be held as private," said the Rev. Bill Ester, pastor of West Side United Methodist Church and co-chairman of the Kansas Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

... Noting Kline's long-standing opposition to abortion, members of the religious coalition said the investigation appears to be aimed directly at the clinics. Candy Krueger and others at the coalition news conference charged that Kline appears to be pursuing abortion providers for evidence of under-age sex, but not doing the same with anti-abortion groups that provide medical services and counseling to young girls.
Reverend Ester makes an excellent point. While this initial subpoena is aimed towards an anti-abortion agenda, what is really troubling is the precedent it will set in the courts for future requests. This instance can be cited as an example of why other private medical records can be taken and used. Once this Pandora's box is opened, I am afraid it will be a real bitch to close it back up.

Do you really want your personal information available to everybody? How about your child's? If you have a child with behavioral issues, do you want that public? How will that affect him or her as they grow? If you have a disability, do you want your prospective employer to hire you based on the medical records they pulled on you or your excellent work history? If you are female, do you want the number of children you have become part of whether or not you are qualified for a job? If you were hurt on a job previously, do you want that or your abilities to be the deciding factor in the hiring decision?

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of abortion, allowing unfettered access to medical records is a terrible idea.

9 Comments:

At March 03, 2005 8:44 PM, Blogger ~Betsy said...

Here, Here, Jet! Excellent piece. It's something that needs to be said and heard far and wide.

The fervor placed on the abortion issue (and gay unions) right before the election was so obviously a plan to get The Religios Right out to vote in droves... "to uphold family values". As if Roe v. Wade did not matter and voting for Bush would nullify that court decision. Let's watch him erode our individual rights.

I truly don't believe that anyone is actually in favor of abortion, including the person having it done. But abortion itself is not the issue. The Real Issue is a Woman's Right to Choose what happens to her body.

As soon as the government usurps a woman'a right to choose what happens to her body, then can the government also decide if a woman should have an abortion? What if a mentally challenged woman who is on welfare becomes pregnant and the government decides they don't want to deal with her child. Why not make her abort it? Better still, why not force her to use birth control? What if she's not mentally challenged but is on welfare...

How about mandetory vasectomies for all males who are not productive members of our society and who have fathered children but are not supporting them? Should they have the right to choose what happens to their bodies?

Where would it end?


If the government can obtain anyone's medical records at any time, we have nothing left. Kiss our inalienable rights good bye.

 
At March 03, 2005 8:58 PM, Blogger Whirl said...

There's no way this administration would make someone have an abortion. The entire reason why the administration is against abortion is to protect the sanctity of life.. why would they want to kill a helpless baby human in any case?

(And don't bring up Iraq)

And eugenics would never happen here. The only place in Western society (I don't know much about the history of African and/or Eastern societies in regards to this) eugenics ever had a chance of success was Nazi Germany
and that only occured through massive government-approved euthanasia and sterilization procedures. In a democratic society like America (yes, it's still democratic.. I hate it cynical ppl who just say cynical things b/c they think it is cool) that would never fly. The people DO hold power in this nation, IF they feel strongly enough about something to stop it.

 
At March 04, 2005 12:00 AM, Blogger frstlymil said...

Way to go JET! And you're a FABULOUS writer, BTW -
I would like to expand upon what Betsy brought up, which is to say...at NO TIME do I see or hear mention of the seeking of medical records of males, their psychological profiles or descriptions of their sexual practices when it comes to them having impregnated young girls or women. Nor do I see that medical counselling of males is suggested, enforced, or even on anyone's mind. I do not see large volumes of political discourse given to the need for the prosecution of frat boys who use GHB on girls to practice the age old custom of date rape - if anything, it's brushed under the rug. There are still those out there who will claim that "the girl deserved it" because we're still living in a hypocritical country that denies equal consideration of women. Did the Equal Rights Amendment pass? Nope. Still hasn't and it's 2005.
And Whirl - not sure where your information came from nor where your logic is going, but the fact of the matter is - you're either pro-life, or you're not. You don't get it both ways. You don't get to cry for the rights of the unborn and disregard the living - either the child just born, the kid on death row, the innocent child in Iraq, or the young soldier that went there. You don't get to cry for life of the fetus and then vote to stop social services for that child once it is born because you don't want to pay taxes, thus denying it any chance at HAVING a life. That aint pro life no matter how you want to slice it, and I'm not being cynical - just pointing out the glaring hypocrisy. Making abortion illegal will NOT STOP IT FROM HAPPENING. It didn't for centuries before and it won't now. It will only stop it from being safe.

 
At March 04, 2005 1:09 PM, Blogger btezra said...

~protect the rights of women to make their own decisions about their health, their bodies and their lives...and also protect the privacy of their information...an advance either by the right-wing Christians or the courts/Congress on either of those legally protected rights is uncomprehensible~

 
At March 04, 2005 3:17 PM, Blogger Jet said...

It's such a divisive issue, and that's why it's so effective when used against one side or the other. What is being hidden in the smoke of the abortion hot button here is the wholesale stealing of individual privacy in the form of health records. Our legal system in lego-like in structure. Each piece is used to support the next one. If the courts allow these records to be released, then that decision can be cited as grounds for the release of further information.

WHIRL, you said THIS administration will never support BETSY's suppositions. I agree. What about the next one? What about the one six elections down the road? We need to be extremely careful here. Once we set a legal precedence, the lego building begins.

FRSTLYMIL, you flatter me. We'll see who gets picked up for paperback rights first. Winner buys the night out! The inequality of responsibility is truly harrowing. The wholesale acceptance of superiority infuriating. What gets lost is, yet again, the progeny. Why we love the unborn more than the born is boggling. Yet this simply IS. I'm ashamed before God. We should all be.

BETSY, your response was classic. Thanks for catching the whole lego theory. Buds for 25 years. Cheers, dear!

BTEZRA, welcome to GOD DEM! and thanks for your comments. I know there are many men who are genuinely puzzled by the farce placed on women in regards to their value as individuals and as contributors to society. Glad to hear your voice in the fray.

Lastly, WHIRL, your comment about Iraq was telling. We've killed a LOT of children there. I wish people gave a shit. It's not all that esoteric and cool when it's your child that's dead. I believe I would lose my mind if I lost one of my children. I think that dismissing Iraq is inexcusable. At what point does life cease to have value and become simply inconvenient? That's a horrible tenet to hold, despairing and without hope. Every mind, every body is a gift, has value, and is part of the plan.

The brain is a treasure and we need every one of them.

 
At March 07, 2005 5:12 PM, Blogger ThomasMcCay said...

In deed, it smells very strongly of the old control fever. No way they have a constitutional right to to blatantly strip a woman's right to privacy. Privacy between herself and her doctor. Outrageous.

Perfectly in line with every thing else this neocon/Christian Right amalgamation.

Absolute control is exactly what it is about. And the people who choose not to care, seem to assume they will be immune to the effects of such perversions of the law and constitution.

Great stuff Jet.

 
At March 08, 2005 11:37 PM, Blogger Steve O said...

I Couldn't agree more with this post! How these guys make it into office? Are there background checks done? This guy probably touches kids. All in time it'll come out, anyone with an obsession for control always has something wrong with them.

 
At March 09, 2005 4:43 PM, Blogger Jet said...

Boy, truer words were never spoken. He who is without sin, eh?

 
At March 10, 2005 2:08 PM, Blogger Paula said...

Why doesn't that pervert Kline just examine every dick on every man in Kansas to see if it has traces of Hello Kitty lipgloss? That'll help him help the little girls he cares about so much, won't it?

God, he makes me ill!

 

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