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States are already collecting more abortion data. And HIPAA won’t always keep it private.

Nebraska Examiner: “Years before the Dobbs decision, providers like Dr. Kylie Cooper were already uncomfortable with some of the reporting requirements for abortion procedures in states where they practiced. Cooper was a maternal-fetal medicine specialist for several years in Idaho before she reluctantly left the state in 2023 because of the near-total abortion ban that is now in place. But when abortion was still legal, she was required to fill out a form and submit it to the state with information about the patient and the procedure, including the physician’s name and when it occurred. While the law said that the information would be aggregated and could not identify individual patients, Cooper never felt sure about how it would be used or how secure the data would be kept. “It was supposed to be anonymous, but they asked for patient identifiers on it, so I was like, ‘Could this get tracked back to them?’” she said. In April, TIME magazine interviewed former President Donald Trump, who is the presumptive Republican nominee for president, about his goals in office if he is elected. He was asked whether he would be comfortable with states monitoring women’s pregnancies to determine whether someone may have received an abortion despite a ban. Trump responded that it didn’t matter if he was comfortable with it or not, because the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision allowed states to dictate abortion policy. Although it was posed as a hypothetical and limited to states with abortion bans, there are efforts underway at the legislative and congressional levels — and in the blueprint for the next Republican presidential administration — to track abortion and pregnancy data. Some have already become law, and some are pending in the U.S. Congress, including a bill that would mandate that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collect more abortion data from all 50 states. At the same time, there are renewed concerns about deceptive practices around data privacy at crisis pregnancy centers nationwide, which are receiving large infusions of taxpayer dollars from some state governments such as Louisiana, Arkansas and Kansas. “I don’t think most people recognize the way that we are currently being surveilled in our health care system,” said Jennifer Driver, senior director of reproductive rights for a policy advocacy organization called State Innovation Exchange. “People need to be talking to their providers about what information is shared, how it’s shared, and start reading the forms.”

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