Alaska attorney general wants access to medical information about out-of-state-abortions and gender-affirming care

Treg Taylor
Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor signed a letter last month supporting states’ rights to access medical information about abortion and gender-affirming care. The letter was addressed to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and was signed by 18 other state attorney generals. It’s a response to the Biden administration’s proposed protections of patient privacy when crossing state lines for medical care. 

The letter said the protections would obstruct “states’ ability to enforce their laws on abortion.” And it airs concerns that the proposed protections might advance “radical transgender-policy goals,” if applied to gender-affirming care.

Rose O’Hara-Jolley is the Alaska state director for Planned Parenthood Alliance advocates. They said the attorney general’s job is to protect all Alaskans’ rights, including the right to abortion. 

“Releasing medical records is not a states’ rights issue. It’s a personal rights issue,” said O’Hara-Jolley. “And we have the right to speak with our medical professionals without government interference.” 

The right to abortion in Alaska is protected in the state constitution. In an email, Taylor acknowledged this. He said the letter is “about preserving state’s rights in the face of federal overreach.” 

O’Hara-Jolley said Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates has already gotten many calls and emails from Alaskans worried that their rights have changed. They emphasized that this letter does not change anything. But they worry the letter will mean people don’t feel comfortable being open with their medical care providers. 

“Our biggest concern is that now people will be afraid to talk to doctors and medical professionals, or will think that they are unable to get care,” said O’Hara-Jolley. “What he’s done has put the health and safety of all Alaskans in jeopardy.”

In his email, Taylor said the state will not seek out medical information from other states. And he said Alaska is not planning to provide medical information to other states, even if medical privacy laws change.

RELATED: What to know about Alaska’s privacy clause and its link to abortion rights

Rachel Cassandra covers health and wellness for Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Rachel here.

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