Biden’s HIPAA expansion of abortion has drawn criticism and threats of a lawsuit

There is an “absolute” possibility of legal challenges, said Roger Severino, who served as head of the HHS Office for Civil Rights under former President Donald Trump and is now vice president of domestic policy at the Heritage Foundation. “I imagine, at least, the challenge will come from the state attorneys general, because the administration is interfering with their ability to enforce their laws.”

Meanwhile, dozens of top Democrats in the House and Senate say the draft rules are insufficient for the post-ru environment in which Republican-controlled states seek to target abortion providers more aggressively and anyone who helps a patient circumvent state restrictions.

The attacks from both sides highlight the perilous path the Biden administration has attempted to take since the Supreme Court overturned it. Roe v. Wade last summer. With no hope of restoring abortion protections through legislation in a divided Congress, the White House has relied largely on rule-making and executive orders — many of which draw criticism from progressives and the right.

The White House refused to respond to criticism of the proposed rule. An HHS spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

The proposed expansion of HIPAA is one of the most concrete steps the administration has taken to advocate for abortion rights since the end of the year ru. If enacted, it would prevent health care providers and insurance companies from turning over information to state officials for the purpose of investigating or prosecuting a person seeking or providing a legal abortion. It would provide more protections for both people who cross state lines for the procedure and those who qualify for an exception to their home state’s abortion ban, such as in cases of rape, incest, or endangerment of life.

HHS proposed the rules in April and opened them up for public comment until mid-June. Republican officials and conservative advocacy groups say policy draft It goes too far, violating state abortion bans, while nearly 50 Democratic members of Congress say it doesn’t go far enough, pressing the administration to add additional measures before issuing a final rule.

in Letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra Joint first with Politico, Democrats led by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-ore) f Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is making several demands, including requiring the Department of Law Enforcement to “obtain a warrant before compelling doctors, pharmacists, and other health care providers to turn over their patients (PHI).”

Currently, the proposed rule only requires that state officials seeking such information obtain a subpoena, administrative request, or other type of court order—a bare minimum for clarification. Rather than limit expanded protection to reproductive health care, as the proposed rule currently does, the senators argue that “HHS should apply these protections in all areas, regardless of illness, disease, or medical problem.”

1 participant, deputy. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas), told POLITICO after a roundtable on abortion rights Monday night that a much stronger rule is needed to prevent “rogue prosecutors” from going after private health records.

“We need an executive order that explicitly states that under no circumstances, unless a person waives access to those documents, if that is permitted,” she said. “They just think it’s everyone’s business if someone has an abortion or if someone is going through a (gender) transition. So we have to rein in that, because at some point, if you can get the wrong people under control, it could end.” They have the order of trying to get records on Viagra and everything else.”

However, Severino and other conservatives insist that the proposed rule does indeed exceed federal authority, violating both the Administrative Procedure Code and the US Constitution.

“If someone says, ‘I’m going to kill myself’ or ‘I’m going to kill someone else,’ medical providers are allowed and in some cases required to disclose that information to law enforcement,” he said. But if there is an imminent threat to an unborn person in a pro-life condition, this rule will prevent the provider from disclosing that information to save that life. They are creating an abortion exception to the HIPAA system in order to appease the left-wing base that Biden and Becerra are responding to.”

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch – who defended the 15-week abortion ban in the overturned case Roe v. Wade Last year – he led a group of 19 Republican attorneys general in the General comment which repeatedly called the rules “illegal” and accused the Biden administration of trying to “take away control of abortion from the people in defiance of the Constitution.”

While Fitch’s office declined to say whether it was considering its own legal challenge, its letter argues that the rules defy the substance of the Supreme Court. Dobbs – That states have the right to make and enforce their own abortion laws, including the right to seize data and to prosecute doctors suspected of violating them.

“Suppose that state officials have reason to believe that an abortion provider intentionally performed an abortion in violation of state law, resulting in serious injury to the woman, and that the provider then falsified medical records and referred the woman to an out-of-state provider to cover it up,” the plaintiff writes. general. “It is clear that state officials have a basis for investigating this provider.”

Democratic attorneys general from 23 states and the D.C. region provided commentary in support of the proposed rule, as did Blue Cross, Blue Shield and other health insurers, Universal Uniting Church and other faith groups, the American Pharmacists Association and other medical groups, and municipal officials from Los Angeles, Cleveland and other cities.

Conservative groups Women for America, the Catholic Medical Association, March for Life, and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists — one of the groups currently suing the Food and Drug Administration over approval of the abortion drug mifepristone — were among those who opposed it.

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