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Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.
A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943
Omnia pro aegroto

Kathryn Serkes
[email protected]

Sept. 20, 2001

For Release after 12 noon (EDT):

AAPS Joins ACLU in Call to Protect Civil Liberties “In Defense of Freedom” Coalition Issues Statement

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) today in urging Congress not to pass any hasty legislation in the name of anti-terrorism that would compromise our civil liberties while providing questionable additional security.

In a news conference today in Washington at the National Press Club, the newly formed coalition released a statement titled “In Defense of Freedom at a Time of Crisis,” that outlined the concerns, and called for calm and deliberate consideration in the weeks and months ahead. (Statement posted at www.indefenseoffreedom.org)

While AAPS does not agree on every point or all wording of the statement, AAPS Executive Director Jane M. Orient, M.D. said the potential for violations was so great that action was necessary. “We want to join in urging the government not to make haste to destroy our country just to keep our adversaries from doing it first. Let's have a calm, open appraisal of just where our intelligence and security failed us.”

AAPS has long opposed a national ID card -- a proposal which has been raised in the past to cope with immigration problems -- and recently sued the government to halt national medical ID cards. “I do think our immigration policy is a problem. It is misguided in every direction. But the equivalent of electronic dog tags for law-abiding citizens is unacceptable,” said Dr. Orient.

Dr. Orient warned that expanded law enforcement powers will only result in civil liberties violations while creating a false sense of security. “We should target law enforcement efforts to areas where there is probable cause to think a crime is going on instead of blanketing all Americans with police state surveillance.”

“The problem is not the lack of government power; it is the misdirected use of government power. Problems will get worse, not better, if the government is allowed to become more powerful against individual rights,” concluded Dr. Orient.

AAPS is a non-partisan professional association of physicians dedicated since 1943 to the protection of the patient-physician relationship from third party intrusion.

AAPS recently filed suit against the federal government to protect patients’ medical privacy, halt the establishment of a national database of medical records, and prevent implementation of national medical ID card. Information is posted at www.aapsonline.org.


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