Woman loses her life and then her privacy after an abortion

Last week I noted an abortion case in New Mexico where the woman’s records became public fodder in the highly politicized abortion debate.

Petual Dvorak describes another abortion case where a woman’s medical and personal details were made public after she died within a day of a late-term abortion:

Her name and photo have appeared on protest signs, in blogs and in newspapers.

The intimate details of her medical records — probably leaked by someone with access to that information at the Germantown clinic where she got the abortion or the Rockville hospital where she died — should never have seen the light of day, let alone be broadcast at a rally the day after her death.


The day after her death, protesters gathered outside the clinic with her name, big posters of her photo and grim details about her medical history and procedures.

“It was a perfectly healthy young woman that died,” said Michael Martelli, executive director of the Maryland Coalition for Life, an antiabortion advocacy group.

And how would you know that, Mr. Martelli? Do you know her?

No, he doesn’t, he told me.

So how on earth did protesters get all of her medical records? How did they get enough detail to make huge posters of her face, give details about her marriage and employment, and make claims about what went on inside her body?

“I can’t reveal our sources. These are confidential and anonymous,” Martelli said.

Read more in The Washington Post.

Words cannot begin to describe what I feel as I read this story. If HHS isn’t investigating this matter, they need to. And if I had my druthers, those who disclosed the patient’s details would be charged criminally, convicted, and sent to jail.

This type of situation can totally undermine patients’ sense of trust in the confidentiality of their health care and dissuade people from seeking help or treatment.

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