When 19 attorneys general objected to a Biden Administration rewrite of the federal health privacy laws, they weren’t trying to track women down across borders where they might be getting abortions, if their own states disallowed it.
Yet that is the narrative out of the mainstream media and liberal activists.
The 19 attorneys general, including Alaska’s Treg Taylor, object to a proposed rule change that seeks to reinterpret the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to lock up information related to abortions.
Why would they want that not completely private? At times, criminal investigators need to be able to access medical records from across state lines, when a crime has been committed.
The Biden administration wants to shield information about abortions and select other medical procedures in the “reproductive treatment” category from law enforcement investigators, even if crimes involve rape, incest, or human trafficking.
In other words, medical records could, with appropriate warrants, be reviewed by criminal investigators for anything but abortion and transgender medical work.
The 19 attorneys general sent a letter about the proposed rule change, saying it was government overreach that could impede investigations into serious crimes.
All 24 Democratic attorneys general support Biden’s rule change to lock up these records.
Jezebel headlined it: “19 Republican Attorneys General Want Police to Investigate People for Abortions.”
Rachel Maddow on MSNBC reported: “Republican attorneys general demand access to out-of-state abortion medical records.”
Statehouse News reported: “Ohio’s Attorney General wants access to medical records of Ohioans who go out of state for abortions.”
The Louisville Courier-Journal wrote, “Cameron wants Kentuckians’ out-of-state abortion records to be available to authorities.”
Alaska Public Media wrote, “Alaska attorney general wants access to medical information about out-of-state-abortions and gender-affirming care.”
The Anchorage Daily News reported, “Alaska attorney general wants states to have access to out-of-state abortion records.”
Alaska’s abortion laws are not affected by this proposed rule change, because Alaska has the most pro-abortion legal interpretations in the country, allowing abortions up to the moment of birth. The state’s Supreme Court justices have ruled that abortions in Alaska are completely protected by constitutional privacy provisions.
But in other states, where abortion laws are strict, abortion advocates are saying that without privacy protections, women could be pursued for criminal charges in their home states.
It’s a stretch, but now the 14 most radical members of the Alaska Legislature have written a letter to the Biden Administration, excoriating the attorneys general, including Alaska’s.
HIPAA rules say if presented with a court-ordered warrant or subpoena as part of an investigation, a provider would normally then provide the information that is permitted under HIPAA. Absent a warrant, there are only limited law-enforcement exceptions under HIPAA. Disclosure is prohibited, unless the request came under one of these narrow exceptions.
“The proposed rule would thus curtail the ability of state officials to obtain evidence of potential violations of state laws — even when requested under ‘a court order or other type of legal process,” the 19 attorneys general wrote. “The proposed rule exceeds the Department’s statutory authority. HIPAA authorizes HHS to set standards for protecting privacy in ‘health information.’ the statute does not empower HHS to shield from authorities evidence of legal wrongdoing under state law based simply on a claimed connection to ‘health care.'”
Under the new rule proposed by Biden, heath care providers would be the ones responsible for determining whether a crime has been committed before being able to release personal health information or they will face fines and sanctions.
The whole idea of a criminal investigation is to determine if a crime has been committed, and doctors and nurses are not privy to the full investigation, and may not know full details of a crime of trafficked women and girls who are forced by their pimps to get abortions.
The Biden prohibition also pertains to any gender transition surgery on minors, if a doctor wanted to frame it as “reproductive care.”
For example, a child from Alaska could be trafficked to Washington state, where liberal laws allow transition treatments for children without their parents’ consent. No law enforcement authority would be able to prove that the treatment had occurred on a child without his or her Alaskan parent’s permission, because the medical record would be locked.