Attorney General Tong supports stronger federal protections for the privacy of reproductive health information


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Attorney General William Tong


Attorney General Tong Joins Coalition of 24 States to Support Stronger Federal Protections for Reproductive Health Information Privacy

(Hartford, CT) — Attorney General William Tong has joined a coalition of 24 states advocating stronger protections for patients’ reproductive health information. The Biden administration is considering adding amendments to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rule, the federal law that governs the disclosure of protected health information. If implemented, the changes would make it illegal to share patient PHI if PHI is sought against a patient for certain criminal, civil, and administrative investigations and proceedings related to legal abortion or other reproductive care. This is especially important when a US Supreme Court decision is overturned. Roe v. Wade It has prompted many anti-abortion states to enforce severe restrictions that lead to criminal or civil penalties for anyone seeking, providing, or assisting with reproductive care. A coalition of attorneys general has issued a letter welcoming the federal government’s HIPAA reforms, which it says will help prevent reproductive health information from being misused and used to harm pregnant people or health care providers.

“Since Roe was overturned, extremist governments have seized access to federally protected emergency medical and care services in states where abortion is legal to criminalize the private health records of patients and doctors who seek and provide abortions. Connecticut’s Reproductive Freedom Protection Act was enacted in response to this concern, and I fully support the Biden administration’s efforts to extend federal privacy protections to all those seeking legal abortion and reproductive care. Attorney General Tong said.

The decision by Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization It is upside down Roe v. Wade in June 2022, and created a climate of uncertainty and fear among reproductive health seekers and providers across the country. Fifteen states currently have laws that prohibit abortion in all or most circumstances. Anyone involved in obtaining aid, supplies, and care in those states may be subject to investigation, civil liability, and criminal prosecution.

Attorney General Tong will host a forum on the anniversary of the decision on Thursday, June 22 at 10:30 a.m. in the Legislative Office Building. He will be joined by Councilors Nunley and Gait, as well as Lt. Gov. Susan Bycewicz, leaders from Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Pro-Choice Connecticut, American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, Reproductive Rights. Caucus co-chairs Rep. Jillian Gilchrist and Rep. Matt Blumenthal, Sen. Mae Flexer, Sen. Heather Somers and others. look out over here For more information.

In a letter, the Coalition of Attorneys General welcomed the proposed HIPAA reforms, which aim to prevent the misuse and misuse of people’s information. The amendments prohibit the use or disclosure of PHI for patient diagnosis in connection with seeking, obtaining, providing, or facilitating reproductive health:

• A patient seeking reproductive health care is in a situation where such care is legal. Or
• The patient needs reproductive health care protected by federal law (eg, the Emergency Medicine and Labor Act) regardless of state.

The coalition said these provisions are necessary to create a more unified privacy landscape for access to reproductive care, and urged the Biden administration to quickly adopt the provisions. The Attorney General also requested the creation of a nationwide online platform that provides accurate and clear information on reproductive and privacy rights and a public awareness campaign to promote the website.

In filing today’s letter, Attorney General Tong was joined by the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon. , Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Washington DC. The letter was directed to California and New York.

A copy of the comment letter to the Biden administration is available over here.

Twitter: @AGWilliamTong

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