An attorney with a pro-life law firm filed a lawsuit Monday to compel disclosure of public records that indicate why a doctor in Michigan was not punished for tossing aborted fetuses and patient records in the trash.
Robert Fleming, local counsel for the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, filed the lawsuit on behalf of Dr. Monica Migliorino Miller and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society (CPLS) in Ingram County Circuit Court.
Miller, president and director of CPLS, had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to learn the results of an investigation of Dr. Alberto Hodari and his abortion clinic, the Women Care Clinic in Lathrup Village, Mich. The investigation was brought on after CPLS found patient medical and financial records as well as the remains of aborted fetuses in trash containers outside the Women Care Clinic in 2008.
After the discoveries, Miller and CPLS filed the complaint as well as evidence they collected to the Bureau of Health Professionals and the local police department. Earlier this year, however, the FOIA request made by Miller and CPLS was denied. The pro-lifers were told only that there was insufficient evidence to "substantiate" their charges, and were not given any explanation as to why or how their evidence was deemed deficient.
"The Freedom of Information Act is meant to foster transparency and openness in government, and this pro-life group and its leader, who uncovered Dr. Hodari's despicable actions, have been left completely in the dark," commented Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society. "The public has a right to know the details as to Dr. Hodari's grievous and gruesome aberration from professional medical norms and simple human decencies."
The Thomas More Society contends that the cited reason for Miller's FOIA denial, "an unwarranted invasion of the individual's privacy," is moot, as the medical and financial records found behind the Women Care Clinic were already publicly disclosed and a gross violation of the patients' rights and expectations of privacy.
The law firm has also asked the court to review the withheld records in chambers to redact or edit out any personal identification or embarrassing details.