Planned Parenthood director faces arrest

July 5, 2002 at 11:31 AM
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DES MOINES, Iowa, July 5 (UPI) -- The director of Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa Friday faced arrest for refusing to comply with a judge's order to give police the names of nearly 1,000 women who took pregnancy tests during a nine-month period ending in May.

Jill June could be sentenced to six months in jail and a $500 fine for contempt of court. Planned Parenthood is appealing the order in the Iowa Supreme Court arguing it would force the organization to open all its records to sheriff's department investigators.

The judge subpoenaed the names of women who took Planned Parenthood pregnancy tests from August 2000 to May after investigators were unable to locate a mother who left her newborn boy in a shredder at a county recycling center.

The baby's body was found May 30. Investigators checked records at the five hospitals and clinics in the Storm Lake area before running out of suspects.

Post-mortem tests will determine whether the infant was born alive.

The judge's order seeks information on the names, addresses and dates of birth of every woman whose test was positive during the nine-month period. Planned Parenthood estimates about 1,000 women took pregnancy tests between August and May.

The county attorney said doctor-patient privilege was not an issue in the judge's order because the pregnancy tests were administered staff members, not health care providers, and were not considered protected medical records whose release would require a patient's written approval.

A lawyer for Planned Parenthood's Storm Lake clinic argued such records are protected by federal privacy laws.

"Part of the mission of the organization is to afford patients the confidentiality and respect they deserve," attorney Sandra Suarez told the Des Moines Register.

Three other area clinics provided similar information to authorities.

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