KS court blocks access to abortion provider records

The Kansas Supreme Court yesterday decided to temporarily block a grant jury from obtaining access to patient records from a physician who's one of the few in the U.S. providing late-term abortions. The grant jury, which is investigating whether Dr. George Tiller broke Kansas laws restricting abortion, has subpoenaed the medical records of about 2,000 women, including some who decided against having abortions. 

The grant jury wants all records of women who visited Dr. Tiller's clinic between July 2003 and last month and were at least 22 weeks pregnant. While the records wouldn't have names on them, they would include medical record numbers. In court, Dr. Tiller's attorneys said that this was inadequate privacy protection, claiming that in a previous investigation, former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline was able to track down patient names using medical record numbers.

In its decision, the court denied access to the records on behalf of Dr. Tiller. Yesterday, the Center for Reproductive Rights of New York filed its own petition on behalf of the patients involved, asking the court to quash the subpoena. The Center is concerned that patient privacy may be violated.

To learn more about the decision:
- read this Minneapolis Star-Tribune article