The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York stayed a contempt order that would have compelled two hospitals to turn over patient medical records to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft for the government's defense of its 2003 ban on certain late-term abortions. The appeals court set a May 11 date for oral arguments. The hospitals, both members of New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, are among seven nationwide subpoenaed for records on patients who received so-called partial-birth abortions from one of several physicians challenging the ban. Three of the hospitals demonstrated that such procedures were not performed at their facilities. Courts in Chicago and Philadelphia so far have rebuffed the other subpoenas. In New York, U.S. District Judge Richard Casey earlier this week ordered New York Presbyterian to produce the requested documents, saying patients had no expectation of a right to privacy. When the health system refused, Casey cited it with contempt. The system promptly appealed. -- by Mark Taylor
N.Y. hospitals get more time to fight abortion subpoenas
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