Attorney General Sean D. Reyes has joined a coalition of states in sending a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) protesting its proposed rule on reproductive health care privacy.
The proposed regulation was noticed by HHS on April 12 as “one of many actions taken by (the department) in support of President Biden’s [executive orders]” issued in the weeks after the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to protect access to reproductive care, including abortion. If the rule is enacted, however, it would “upset that careful, decades-old balance” of HHS regulations that have “safeguarded the privacy of individual health information while permitting disclosure of information to state authorities to protect public health, safety, and welfare.” This would happen by prohibiting a “regulated entity’s disclosure” of protected health information ‘for a criminal, civil, or administrative investigation into or proceeding against any person in connection with seeking, obtaining, providing, or facilitating reproductive health care’ in three general circumstances”—among other stipulations.
Mississippi’s coalition argues that the White House “has pushed a false narrative that States are seeking to treat pregnant women as criminals or punish medical personnel who provide lifesaving care. Based on this lie, the Administration has sought to wrest control over abortion back from the people in defiance of the Constitution and Dobbs,” leading to the proliferation of this rule.
The attorneys general write that the proposed rule is outside the purview of the law and should be withdrawn by HSS because it “exceeds (the department’s) statutory authority, defies the Constitutional design, rests on flawed reasoning, and would unlawfully advance radical transgender-policy goals.”
Joining Mississippi and Utah on this letter to HHS were the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.