Medical Records for Out-of-State Abortions Will Now Be Protected by HIPAA

Healthcare providers aren’t allowed to tell law enforcement about a patient’s abortion if they received the procedure in a state where it is legal, it is protected by federal law, or it is permitted by state law, the Biden administration said Monday. The rule will take effect in 30 days, and it represents a meaningful shift.

But it’s unclear whether it will protect medical data for people who self-manage their abortions by receiving medication in the mail, often from a prescribing physician in a state with laws protecting reproductive rights.

Abortion Funds in Texas Are Unsure if They Will Resume Supporting People After Court Ruling

Funds have halted abortion-related work since June, when Roe v. Wade was overturned. Resuming that work could affect hundreds of pregnant people in Texas, which is the largest state to ban abortion.

An Austin-based federal judge last month temporarily blocked Texas prosecutors from pursuing legal action against organizations that help people secure abortions in states where it is legal. The ruling offers a rare spot of relief for abortion rights proponents in Texas and comes as state lawmakers are increasingly targeting organizations that help people leave the state for an abortion. 

Oklahoma Just Passed a Near-Total Abortion Ban. More Restrictions Are Likely Coming.

As statehouses across the country rush to pass new abortion restrictions ahead of a consequential Supreme Court ruling this summer, Oklahoma lawmakers are trying to restrict abortion access by any and all means necessary. 

“Oklahoma is passing every type of abortion ban to give themselves the largest chance possible for one of them to go into effect. They may be essentially hedging their bets,” said Elizabeth Nash, who tracks state policy for the Guttmacher Institute. 

Idaho Is the Second State to Ban Abortion After Six Weeks

Idaho has become the second state to ban abortion after six weeks.

“By the time you get to six weeks into pregnancy, chances are it is very difficult to have gotten an abortion,” said Lisa Humes-Schulz, vice president of policy and regulatory affairs for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates Northwest. “It’s not when you find out you become pregnant, but how long it takes you to get an abortion when you find out in idaho. There’s so few providers, a waiting period, you have to travel and raise money. That’s a big task.” 

106 Restrictions on Abortions Have Become Law This Year. It’s a Record.

More abortion restrictions have been enacted this year than any other, with 19 statehouses passing 106 new limitations on the procedure. A dozen of the new restrictions include some form of a complete ban on abortion. 

This is the first time that the Guttmacher Institute, which has compiled this data annually since 1973, has counted more than 100 abortion restrictions passed in a single year. In 2011, the only other year since 1973 to come close, 89 restrictions on abortion were passed across the country.