WASHINGTON, February 27, 2004 ( – The US Justice Department continues to be thwarted in its bid to procure medical records from Planned Parenthood clinics that conducted Partial Birth Abortions throughout the US before the ban was signed into law last November by US President George W. Bush.

In response to the subpoenas, Planned Parenthood officials cite a breach of confidentiality as their main reason for denying the request. “We believe it is an invasion of confidential medical records,” Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Elizabeth Toledo told the Las Vegas Sun today. “People ought to have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”  As part of its defence of the ban, the Justice Department is trying to determine if the procedures carried out by Planned Parenthood doctors were done to protect the mother’s life.  The ACLU and doctors involved in the suit argue that the ban does not allow an exception for the procedure “if it is needed to protect the mother’s life.”  The US Department of Justice has subpoenaed medical records of patients of the seven doctors involved in the suit. The Justice Department has given an assurance that they are not interested in learning the identities of the women, whose names and any other identifying information could be withheld. Officials said that government lawyers commonly subpoena medical records with names and other identifying information withheld for other types of cases, such as fraud.

Medical organizations euphemistically call partial birth abortions an “intact dilation and extraction,” during which, a full-term baby’s legs and torso are pulled from the uterus before its skull is punctured and brain removed.

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