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Data Privacy Rights Strengthened for Abortion Seekers in U.S.: Is Abortion Legalised?

  • Posted on April 12, 2023
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  • By Top Stories


United States' main health privacy law is being updated to strengthen the legal protection offered to women getting abortions either in the state or across borders including their doctors and near and dear ones.



 Health Care providers and insurers are barred through a notice issued by the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights on Wednesday (April 12, 2023) to provide any information to any state official regarding any legal abortion sought by any person.

Currently, there is no clarity as to the effectiveness of the current rules in the prevention of criminal investigation. After Idaho's law on out-of-state travel restrictions to prevent abortion outside the fear persists. The new rule decriminalizes acts of people who get aborted legally across borders or within the state in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).


Big conglomerates including JPMorgan Chase, Amazon, and Walt Disney have acted in the affirmative by providing travel reimbursement to employees seeking a cross-border abortion under their healthcare plans.


Retribution threats subsist from Republican Leaders. Vice President Kamala Harris will have a  conversation with the White House's task force on the new rule and other prospective replies to Texas Court's ruling that threatened access to abortion pills.


A senior administration official on Tuesday (April 11, 2023) said, "We found that even with the permissible disclosures [policy], some providers get fearful when they receive a subpoena or they might feel like they have to turn the information over".


This guidance was necessary to put in place to avoid any confusion for doctors and provide a better framework of protection regarding any demands by state officials and law enforcement agencies relating to the abortion of patients.


Adding to the chilling effect pregnant women get resulting to bypass the medical system, the official said, "They’re scared, they are concerned about their medical information being misused and disclosed. As a result, individuals may hesitate to interact with providers, health plans, pharmacies, or related health applications out of fear that their data will be tracked or shared inappropriately".


Beginning with the Roe Fall last year in 2022, this has been a  perennial demand from democratic lawmakers and abortion rights advocates. The rule awaiting public comment will get finalized after 60 days.


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