The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ohio Supreme Court Protects The Privacy Of Medical Records In Abortion Case


The Ohio Supreme Court today moved to protect the privacy of
minors' medical records when the minor is not a party in a lawsuit. The case
involves a lawsuit against an Ohio Planned Parenthood and attempts by a
teenager's parents to obtain the medical records not only of their own daughter
but of all teenagers seen at that clinic over a ten year period.

"We are pleased that the court blocked the disclosure of the private medical
records of teenage patients who are not directly part of a given lawsuit," said
Louise Melling, Director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "Adults and
teenagers alike need to know when they seek medical care that their private
records will not be dragged into someone else's legal dispute. Confidentiality
is at the core of the doctor-patient relationship and must be fiercely

The court also recognized that given the wealth of detail contained in
patient medical records, redaction cannot reliably protect a patient's

In June 2008, the ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case asking
the court to protect the privacy of minors' medical records, arguing that the
confidentiality of medical records is essential to the doctor-patient
relationship, minors' access to reproductive health care and the right to
privacy. The brief was filed on behalf of the Ohio Chapter of the American
Academy of Pediatrics; Ohio Academy of Family Physicians; Society for Adolescent
Medicine; National Association of Social Workers; National Center for Youth Law;
Center for Adolescent Health & the Law; Ohio NOW Education and Legal Fund;
Ohio Domestic Violence Network; ACTION OHIO Coalition for Battered Women; Break
the Cycle; and Women Empowered Against Violence, Inc.; the ACLU filed a
friend-of-the-court brief in the Ohio Supreme Court.

Today's decision is Roe v. Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio Region No
2009-Ohio-2973. Lawyers on the ACLU's friend-of-the-court brief include
Corinne Schiff and Talcott Camp with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, and
Carrie L. Davis and Jeffrey M. Gamso of the ACLU of Ohio.

The ACLU's brief can be found at:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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