Press Statement
HHS Expands Important Protections for Reproductive Health Privacy

Statement of Jocelyn Frye, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 22, 2024 – Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized a regulation that would strengthen the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule to provide additional protections for reproductive health patients.

The finalized rule will improve patient-provider confidentiality and help address threats of criminalization by prohibiting disclosure of protected health information for the purposes of investigating, suing, or prosecuting anyone for seeking, obtaining, providing, or facilitating reproductive care, including abortion.

In the wake of Dobbs, 26 states have banned or are likely to ban abortion. This means that more than 36 million women of reproductive age are living under abortion bans, including more than 15 million women of color, who are at risk of being criminalized for seeking essential reproductive care. In response, Jocelyn C. Frye, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families, released the following statement:

“The National Partnership is pleased to see the Biden administration leverage all their resources in the fight for reproductive freedom. The finalized HIPAA Privacy Rule is a critical tool to better protect the privacy of pregnant people who have recently come under heightened threat of surveillance and criminalization surrounding their pregnancy outcomes and abortion care. We’ve seen the terrible consequences due to the increased criminalization of those who attempt to obtain and provide reproductive care. Too many people continue to fear being reported to law enforcement for their reproductive health care decisions and pregnancy outcomes. This final rule decreases the chances of health care providers reporting patients to law enforcement, protects people who are forced to travel to receive care, and promotes deeper trust between patients and providers. Providers should never be forced to police and report on the patients who entrust them with their care.

“We will continue our work with the administration to further advance comprehensive patient privacy protections, including for those accessing reproductive health care as well as other unfairly stigmatized, highly sensitive care, such as gender-affirming care.”

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Media Contact:

Miriam Cash

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About the National Partnership for Women & Families

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family.

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