Peas, Carrots, Green Beans, and Gray Matter

Roe v Wade, HIPAA, and medical privacy

For any law to be enforceable, the state would have to have a way of knowing when that law has been broken. Citizens have a Constitutional right to privacy that sometimes will prevent the state from knowing if a law has been broken, unless the state violates that right to privacy.

For example, states that have historically had laws outlawing oral sex or specific sexual positions, can not know what a couple is doing in the privacy of their bedroom, without violating that privacy. Therefore, they can not know if the law is being broken. They can’t just barge into everyone’s homes, doing a door to door sweep every night, hoping to catch at least one woman giving her husband a blow job, so they can lock the couple up for violating the law. That would violate their Constitutional right to privacy, with an unconstitutional illegal search & seizure.

Roe v Wade extended that Constitutional right to privacy to include medical records, by stating that the government has no right to invade someone’s privacy by accessing their medical records, digging for any evidence that a crime may have been committed. Just like how they can’t go door to door, barging into everyone’s bedrooms, looking for illegal sexual positions, they can’t go to a doctor’s office and sift through all his patient records looking for abortions, vasectomies, hysterectomies, liposuction, boob jobs, specific mental illnesses, STDs, diabetes, high blood pressure, genetic disorders, smoking, or anything else that they might want to criminalize in some way, in order to discover law breakers, so that they can enforce their laws and lock up patients. To do so would be considered an unconstitutional, illegal search.

Consider Roe v Wade to be the precursor to current HIPAA privacy laws, if you really want to frame it in the right context.

When someone says they are pro-life, and seeks to have Roe v Wade to be overturned, what they are really saying is that they are anti-privacy, and want the government to have the right to be able to walk into any doctor’s office, sift through everyone’s medical records, looking for any evidence that a crime may have been committed by any of that doctor’s patients, and then use that evidence to compile a list of people to arrest and prosecute, using their patient records as evidence to convict them.

Just imagine if that were to happen, if Roe v Wade was overturned, and a state passed a law against premarital sex, having the right to go through all patient records in the state, looking for any evidence of premarital sex, including pregnancies, pregnancy tests, birth control prescriptions, std treatments, etc, with the intent and purpose of gathering a list of names of single people to arrest and convict of violating that law.

Because if Roe v Wade were to be overturned, states would be free to do that.

When applied to psychiatric records, overturning Roe v Wade would make it possible for the government to round up people for thought crimes.

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