Connecticut’s First Reproductive Health Care Law in the Nation and the State’s Commitment to Patient Access and Privacy – Healthcare

know about Connecticut’s First Reproductive Health Care Law in the Nation and the State’s Commitment to Patient Access and Privacy – Healthcare

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In May 2022, Governor Lamont signed Public Law 22-19, expanding Connecticut’s abortion statute, creating a first-in-the-nation law that provides important protections for medical providers and patients seeking abortion services in the state. Now in effect, Public Law 22-19: (1) allows a broader class of health care providers to provide certain abortion-related care, (2) maintains confidentiality regarding communications and information shared between patients and health care providers, and (3) provides additional legal protections for Connecticut abortion providers and those who travel to Connecticut for abortion services. In keeping with this new law’s commitment to expanding patient access and privacy, the state launched a reproductive rights program website and a hotline in early August with information and resources related to individuals’ privacy and other rights related to pregnancy, abortion, and abortion-related care.

Public Law 22-19 expands access to abortion in Connecticut by increasing the number of health care providers eligible to provide certain abortion-related care, including advanced practice physicians, registered nurses, nurse midwives, and physician assistants . The law also prohibits the disclosure of patients’ medical information related to reproductive health services without the patient’s written consent. It is important to note that the law includes several exceptions to this requirement of written consent. These exceptions include, (a) state or court rules that allow disclosure without written consent, (b) instances where the information or communications are provided to an attorney or professional liability insurer to combat claims against the care provider (c) claims of suspected abuse of a child, an elderly person, or persons with physical or intellectual disabilities, and (d) public health investigations conducted by the Commissioner of Public Health.

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The law also establishes various protections for abortion providers and those who travel to Connecticut for abortion services from lawsuits and harassment from other states. Connecticut courts are now prohibited from issuing subpoenas requested by another state in connection with reproductive health care services. Connecticut judges are also prohibited from issuing subpoenas based on a pending prosecution or grand jury investigation of an individual, requested by another state, related to the attendance or receipt of reproductive health services. Finally, the law prohibits public agencies or employees, designees, officers, officials, or persons acting on behalf of a public agency from spending time, money, and resources (e.g., facilities, property, equipment , etc.) in furtherance of any investigation or proceeding to impose civil or criminal liability on an individual or entity for seeking assistance or assisting others with reproductive health services.

In addition to this new law, the state has developed a new reproductive rights website packed with information for individuals in English and Spanish about their rights to an abortion, community resources, transportation and travel, paying for an abortion, and how to help protect the privacy. related to reproductive health services. For example, in the state portal dedicated to abortion rights in Connecticut, individuals are instructed on how to use “incognito” or “private” browsing to search for pregnancy- or abortion-related information if they wish to maintain confidentiality while using shared electronic devices. For more information related to privacy and confidentiality related to reproductive health care, please see the following state-provided tools:

The state also launched an “infoline” hotline at 1-866-CTCHOICE (1-866-282-4642), which people can call for information about reproductive rights and providers in Connecticut.

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