President Biden signs order on abortion care and patient privacy

President Biden signs order on abortion care and patient privacy


President Joe Biden signed an government order on Friday directing federal businesses to guard abortion entry and the net privateness of sufferers looking for reproductive healthcare following the Supreme Courtroom’s choice to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The order’s major directives immediate the Division of Well being and Human Companies to increase entry to emergency contraception and long-acting contraception gadgets like IUDs. Nevertheless it additionally calls on HHS and the Federal Commerce Fee to take steps to guard the delicate well being knowledge of sufferers looking for abortions and different reproductive care.

“We can’t permit an out-of-control Supreme Courtroom, working along side extremist components of the Republican Get together, to remove freedoms and our private autonomy,” Biden stated earlier than signing the order. “The selection we face as a nation is between the mainstream and the intense.”

Quickly after the Supreme Courtroom overturned Roe final month, abortion rights activists and Democratic lawmakers warned how delicate well being knowledge may threaten the protection of abortion-seeking sufferers if accessed by the federal government.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) have been a number of the first lawmakers to induce the FTC to guard reproductive well being knowledge in a Could letter. They requested that the company element any steps it was taking and the assets it could have to counter the dangers posed by the Supreme Courtroom’s ruling. Shortly after, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) launched the Well being and Location Safety Act in June that will impose a sweeping ban on the sale of delicate well being and location-tracking knowledge.

Biden’s plan to ask the FTC to take motion on client privateness was first reported by Axios final week. Nonetheless, it’s unclear what actions the company might take within the wake of Friday’s order. In January 2021, Flo, a fertility-tracking app, settled with the company amid allegations that it misled customers on how their knowledge was shared with advertising and marketing corporations and enormous tech corporations like Fb and Google.

Whereas the order directs the FTC to contemplate subsequent steps on knowledge privateness, it additionally calls on HHS to craft new safeguards for delicate data, together with beneath the Well being Insurance coverage Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. Final week, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra requested the company’s Workplace for Civil Rights to publish new steering explaining that the HIPAA Privateness Rule largely protects healthcare suppliers from disclosing personal affected person data to 3rd events and legislation enforcement.

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