"Fishing expedition?" 

Planned Parenthood battles Attorney General Steve Carter

Planned Parenthood battles Attorney General Steve Carter
The Indiana Civil Liberties Union has filed a complaint against Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana. According to court documents filed last week, Planned Parenthood is asking that the recent request of the Attorney General's Office for a large number of its confidential medical records be declared unlawful.
Steve Carter basks in conservative Republican applause during the recent Advance America rally at the Indiana Statehouse.
Planned Parenthood is also seeking an injunction preventing the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, under the direction of the attorney general, from conducting record search and seizure in the absence of a legitimate investigation. The Attorney General's Office maintains that it has a responsibility to investigate all allegations of abuse and neglect by Medicaid providers. For that reason they are requesting the records of Planned Parenthood patients under the age of 14 who are Medicaid recipients. Indiana state law considers anyone under the age of 14 who is sexually active a victim of child molestation and requires anyone with the knowledge of the sexual activity to report the crime to Child Protective Services. On March 1, Planned Parenthood complied with the attorney general's initial request and turned over the medical records of eight patients seen at three different clinics over the past two years. Three weeks later, the attorney general requested the records of additional patients seen at nearly 20 clinics throughout the state. In total, the attorney general has requested the records for nearly 100 Planned Parenthood patients under 14 who receive Medicaid, none of whom received abortion services. Carter's office has requested the records to ascertain whether or not Planned Parenthood reported any crimes that might have occurred. In order for charges to be brought against Planned Parenthood, the Medicaid files must first prove that the patients are victims of child molestation and then prove Planned Parenthood failed to report the crime. Planned Parenthood maintains it has committed no crime, and that the attorney general has no evidence of a crime being committed. In asking for the records without evidence of criminal action or intent, Planned Parenthood President Betty Cockrum insists that the attorney general is simply on a "fishing expedition." The Attorney General's Office has threatened that failure to comply with the request for the medical records "constitutes a violation of the Medicaid program" and could result in the "possible exclusion" of Planned Parenthood "from the Medicaid program." The original hearing for the case scheduled for Thursday, March 24 at 1:30 p.m. has been cancelled. The Attorney General's Office has requested that Judge John Hanley be removed from the case and another judge assigned. No future court date was scheduled at press time.

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