i have read the concerns that a number of you have posted and i would like to respond both about the law and also about what some readers might fear shows a lack of respect or honor of the people involved. i want to tell you all i can in the hopes that you will be re-assured that no violations are taking place on this site. and, at the same time, i apologize for taking so long to get this up. while i admire those who do daily postings, i just can't!
first of all, i consulted both attorneys and physicians about our postings and have been told that the kinds of personal stories being told (and they are, of course, personal, which is kinda the point of the site) are permitted under both the old and the new patient privacy acts. the act says that as long as NO identifying information is written, the cases can be written up and shared for education and counseling purposes. for example, if i am writing about a 23 year old college student with brown hair and brown eyes in a major university, i need not hide as much information as i did with my last posting, where you can see that not only did i not tell her country, i did not even tell her continent. because her identity might more easily be determined, i am obligated to take additional steps to protect her, her partner, guests, family. i am writing in much the same way that doctors discuss cases when they are teaching or consulting with other doctors, or how therapists, psychologists do as well. in fact, most therapists continue to have supervision even though they are themselves experts in the field. if you watched "the sopranos" you saw dr melfi go a number of times to her own supervisor when she felt she needed another sounding board. so, since none of the patients written about could be identified because names, locales, descriptions were all changed, the women and their stories remain confidential.
equally important to me is the personal part of the postings, the "oh my god, if i go to that place, maybe i will read my own story posted for all to see." i suppose there is a tiny, tiny chance of that, but i would defy any reader to be able to say, with absolute certainty "that's me that they're writing about". you yourself would never know for sure because of the careful protection of the patient's identity and therefore no one else would either. and you will notice, if you re-read the postings, that the postings are always, always done with love and respect. in fact, i can say that that is the reason i do my work, the reasonn i created this site. i truly love the women and want others to know how universal the feelings are, sometimes how similar the thoughts are whether the woman decides to continue the pregnancy or not. those who judge the women have not listened to them with an open heart. in fact there is a doctor i know who has said "until you listen to the heart of a woman, you cannot understand abortion at all". i believe i see, day after day, year after year, good women trying to make good, honorable choices and that is the message i want the readers to know, too. these are the stories of real people, people who often anguish before making their choice, knowing that whatever they choose, they will live with it forever. that is why it is rare for women to regret their decision. if they listen to their own heart, go to a clinic where they can take as much time as they need to talk, are encouraged to put forth their own feelings and opinions without judgment, they will always know that they made the best decision they could at that time in their lives. it is my hope that this site, which will continue to tell the stories of the women we serve, will help you or a friend to accept your own choice, whatever it may be.