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US: Biden Announces Rule To Protect Privacy Of Women Seeking Abortion

Amid the ongoing abortion rights debacle in the United States, President Joe Biden announced a new rule to protect the privacy of women who go out of their home state to have legal abortions.

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Tanya Savkoor
New Update
Image: Anne Corpet, RFI

Image: Anne Corpet, RFI

Amid the ongoing reproductive rights debacle in the United States, President Joe Biden announced a new rule to protect the privacy of women seeking legal abortions. The newly introduced rule supports the women who go out of their home state to have legal abortions despite the apprehension that they could be prosecuted upon return. "No one should have to live in fear that their conversations with their doctor or that their medical claims data might be used to target or track them," Melanie Fontes Rainer of the Office for Civil Rights told the media.

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As the 2024 Presidential election in November inches closer, reproductive rights have taken centre stage following a pivotal court decision that abolished or severely curtailed legal abortion in 21 US states. Biden's new rule prohibits the disclosure of private medical information of individuals who seek reproductive health services.

US Reproductive Rights Debate

Melanie Fontes Rainer announced that the new rule would protect the privacy and reproductive rights of women. She urged individuals to come forward and file complaints if they believe their safety is being violated. Abortion rights have been a bedrock of President Biden's campaign for reelection this year.

The Health and Human Services agency received almost 30,000 public comments before finalizing its new rule, which strengthens the Health Insurance Portability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. In 2022, conservative judges appointed by former President Donald Trump helped strike down the Roe v. Wade landmark judgement.

The legal precedent that upheld the constitutional right to abortion was taken down, sparking widespread outrage beyond the United States. Reports state that women in Republican-controlled states have since faced problems accessing reproductive care, including for non-viable pregnancies and even IVF treatment.

April 9, 2024: Arizona Reinstates Law Banning All Abortions

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A few days before the announcement of Biden's new rule, the Supreme Court of Arizona State resurged an 1864 law, banning abortions across all stages of pregnancy, except for situations where a woman's life hangs in precarious balance. The court comprised entirely of Republican-appointed justices, voted 4-to-2 to uphold the law. 

The law, established in 1901, imposes a prison term of two to five years for abortion providers. With the recent ruling, Arizona joins the ranks of states with some of the strictest abortion laws in the nation, alongside states such as Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi. Justice John Lopez stressed the importance of legislative authority and constitutional responsibility in the court's ruling.

 

US presidential elections reproductive rights US Abortion laws
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