The Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on Monday has reignited the debate over religious freedom and reproductive rights, but it also has raised questions about the privacy of Americans’ health records.
On one hand, the ruling could mean that for-profit corporations are now able to claim religious objections to complying with new federal rules requiring them to provide birth control coverage for employees. On the other hand, it could also mean that employees and consumers will have access to medical information from employers via their own health records — something that many critics argue is a violation of their privacy rights.
The debate already has sparked a number of lawsuits against companies like Walgreens and CVS that provide contraception coverage directly through their insurance plans. The suits argue that these companies should be required to provide contraceptive care because they’re providing prescription drugs — not religious services — to their employees. But those claims run up against another provision of the Affordable Care Act: The law says employers can’t be coerced into providing health benefits for which they don’t want coverage. The Supreme Court said this applies even though the law doesn’t call out contraception specifically.
In a 5-4 vote, the justices ruled that states cannot restrict abortion access by requiring women to obtain consent from their husbands or parents before terminating a pregnancy. The majority opinion identified “a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy” as “one of the most precious of all liberty.”
But while this ruling will likely be celebrated by many pro-choice advocates, it comes at a cost for those who are opposed to abortion: data privacy concerns.
In an interview with CNBC, Randi Weingarten — president of the American Federation of Teachers — said she believes there is a “very high likelihood” that Congress will pass legislation that would ban states from collecting and storing data related to abortions performed within their borders, thereby limiting access to safe abortions for women across the country. The Court’s decision could also have implications for online marketplaces like Amazon or Uber — both companies have faced regulatory scrutiny because they collect user data without explicit consent.
In a two-to-one decision, the Supreme Court on Monday struck down the 35-year-old federal ban on partial birth abortion. The ruling will almost certainly force states to allow the procedure, giving more doctors and hospitals the ability to perform more abortions than is currently legal. But the ruling may also have ramifications for how patients’ personal information is collected and stored by medical professionals.
The decision could affect everything from health insurance plans to electronic health records. And if you’re worried about your privacy being compromised by this decision, you might have good reason to be concerned.
Some companies have already started taking steps to protect their customers’ data after the court’s decision was announced. But some experts say it’s not clear whether or not doctors will suddenly start using more secure methods of storing patient information — or whether they’ll continue to use a variety of different databases at once.
Opponents have argued that forcing people to buy health insurance will force them to hand over their private information for commercial use. They also worry about all the data companies collect on customers and how it could be used in ways they never imagined.
The court’s ruling comes as consumers are increasingly concerned about how their personal information is being used online by companies like Google or Facebook.”
No doubt it has affected several companies data as well as privacy of number of users who used to work and shop online! This will create misunderstanding between online E-Commerce stores and customers too!
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