ACLU of Texas Letter

From: ACLU TX <>
Date: Monday, March 16, 1998 1:23 PM
Subject: Re: Please Help and Forward to Email Lists

Dear Mr. Crider:

I understand that the Texas Department of Health seeks authorization to require doctors and insurance to send in children's medical records, including their social security numbers and home addresses, to insure compliance with the Department's vaccination requirements. While we recognize that your motives are to insure the health and well being of the citizens of Texas, we
do not agree with this measure. It violates the usual medical privacy that all citizens have a right to expect.

In a free society there are simply things which government ought not do, even when the public health is at issue. We do not quarrel with the right of the state to require that all children attending public schools be vaccinated, but setting up a scheme that will include private medical information in a national database simply goes too far.

Privacy rights in our modern era of instant access to information are steadily eroding. There are no safeguards that are adequate. The only method to insure privacy is to refrain from creating the database. There are adequate, less intrusive measures that can be taken to make sure that the laws are complied with.

We urge you to reconsider this measure.

Jay Jacobson
Executive Director
ACLU of Texas
PO Box 3629
Austin, TX 78764