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A crisis of confidence. Supreme Court to decide if pregnant women were unlawfully searched.

Authors
  • Farmer, A
Type
Published Article
Journal
Reproductive freedom news / from the Center for Reproductive Law & Policy
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2000
Volume
9
Issue
9
Identifiers
PMID: 12296160
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

At a Charleston, South Carolina, hospital a targeted group of women seeking prenatal health services had their urine searched for evidence of cocaine without their consent or warrant. A total of 10 of the women who had been subjected to this search policy are bringing their case against the hospital and city officials to the US Supreme Court. According to the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy deputy director for litigation Priscilla Smith, who will argue the case, "The question for the Justices is whether pregnant women have lesser constitutional rights than other Americans and, as a result, can be searched for evidence of a crime in their private doctor's offices". In support of the petitioners' position, a number of medical and public health organizations, including the American Medical Association, filed amicus briefs to raise several concerns about the hospital's policy. One of the topics is the impact of the policy which include erosion of patients' faith in the confidentiality of their medical care, increase in the risk of pregnancy by pitting doctors against their patients, driving women away from prenatal care and discouraging open communication between physicians and their patients.

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