Thursday, February 12, 2004

Tell the Truth
First there was the Drake University peace-protestor case; now comes word that the Justice Department is seeking the medical records of women who had partial-birth abortions, not to find out who the women were, the department says, but to determine whether the doctors suing the feds over the ban on the procedure have actually performed it, and under what circumstances. The medical schools subpoenaed have fought the demand, and federal judges have blocked the request in Illinois and may do so in Pennsylvania. Asking for medical records with personally identifying information removed is a common procedure in lawsuits--but not when the information is that of people not directly involved in the suits.

Here again, let's not fall for what looks like a routine request. Given the marauding spirit of the Ashcroft Justice Department, the danger of permitting them a new level of access is that it always encourages them to go a bit further next time they want something. Picture it--in the future, the argument will go something like: "Partial-birth abortion is illegal. Why should doctor/patient confidentiality protect those who commit crimes?" After all, they've already torn up the idea of attorney/client privilege.

From our "I know I am but what are you?" department, conservatives have found the photo of Kerry with Jane Fonda I linked to yesterday, and now they're proclaiming that it's much worse than anything George W. Bush could possibly have done, up to and including desertion from the National Guard, which he didn't really do, really. Now we'll see what the mainstream media does with all this--it's the precise kind of "balance" they love, because they think they've got both sides of a story and play them equally. But the two are not remotely close to equivalent. Even if Kerry hung out with Hanoi Jane, that's only a political transgression, and a debatable one at that. If Bush skipped out on his National Guard service, that's against the law, and an honorable discharge doesn't fumigate the stink.

Recommended viewing: The people at MoveOn.Org have another ad they want the world to see. "Polygraph" highlights the misleading statements Bush used to sell the war in Iraq. You can watch it here.

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