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Attorney General Josh Stein Supports Protections for Reproductive Health Privacy

For Immediate Release:
Friday, June 16, 2023

Contact: Nazneen Ahmed
919-716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today supported stronger protections for North Carolinians’ reproductive health information. He and a coalition of 24 attorneys general welcomed the federal government’s proposed updates to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule to prevent people’s reproductive health data from being wrongfully accessed and exploited to harm pregnant people or health care providers.

“Women’s health information is between them, their partner, and their medical provider,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “We need these added protections to address the very real privacy and legal concerns that women and their doctors have – and because it’s the right thing to do.”

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, many anti-abortion states began to enforce draconian restrictions that could lead to criminal or civil penalties for anyone seeking, providing, or assisting with reproductive care.

The changes to HIPAA would make it illegal to share a patient’s protected health information (PHI) for an investigation into a patient in connection with seeking, obtaining, providing, or facilitating reproductive health care if:

  • the patient is seeking reproductive health care in a state where the care is lawful, or
  • the patient is seeking reproductive health care that is protected under federal law (for example, by the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act), regardless of the state.

The attorneys general also called for the creation of a nationally available, online platform that provides accurate and clear information on reproductive care and privacy rights, and a public awareness campaign to promote the website.

Attorney General Stein is joined in sending this letter by the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C.

A copy of the letter is available here.

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