The Limits of HIPAA in Keeping Reproductive Health Records Private
August 2, 2022
In the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, there is growing concern of far-reaching state restrictions that may include blocking pregnant individuals from traveling to another state to terminate a pregnancy; prohibiting pregnant individuals from obtaining abortion pills out-of-state; and even criminalizing the provision of information to those seeking out-of-state abortions. With these broad ramifications in mind, the threat of law enforcement gaining access to health records is a growing concern. This fact sheet provides guidance on how HIPAA applies to abortion records. We caution that HIPAA includes several provisions permitting disclosure of an individual’s abortion records to law enforcement when specific conditions are met.