The American Medical Association's 550-member House of Delegates overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for the AMA to "communicate" its concerns to the Bush administration about U.S. Justice Department subpoenas for patient records in abortion cases. Officials said it's not clear how or when the AMA would make its case to the administration. At the group's annual meeting in Chicago, delegates called for a clear expression of the "deepest concerns on behalf of the medical community" about subpoenas issued in connection with litigation over the federal ban on certain late-term abortions, sometimes called partial-birth abortions. The subpoenas sought hospital records for women who had received abortions from physicians challenging the ban. The Justice Department appears to have dropped pursuit of the records after losing several challenges to the subpoenas. However, the "medical community remains alarmed that the issuance of the subpoenas were unjustified, constituted an intrusion on the physician-patient relationship and has had a chilling effect on physicians and their patients," according to the AMA resolution. A San Francisco federal judge ruled the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act unconstitutional two weeks ago in one of three lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the 2003 law. -- by Michael Romano
AMA delegates soundly criticize abortion subpoenas
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