I hope this summer finds you healthy and getting out to enjoy the outdoors now that the rain has dissipated for the moment. I had the amazing opportunity to drive our car back from Juneau with family, and even though there was a little bit of rain, we got to see Alaska in all her glory! From enjoying the quick ferry trip to Skagway (that feels like a first class cruise), experiencing hot springs, hiking to a glacier cave, seeing bears, fox, bison, porcupine, moose, and more along the Alcan, and just taking in the majestic vastness of our beautiful state. It was a wonderful reminder of what we all enjoy about living here.
Now, back to politics...Like many of you, I was frustrated and disturbed to learn Attorney General Treg Taylor signed a letter seeking to allow Alaska to share the confidential medical records of those seeking an abortion or gender-affirming care with law enforcement in other states. This is a gross violation of Alaskans' privacy rights and basic human dignity.
First, Alaska is one of only a few states that has explicitly embedded a personal right to privacy in its state constitution. This means Alaskans have a fundamental right to keep their medical information private, even from the government.
Second, the federal HIPAA law prohibits the release of health records without the patient's consent. This means that even if Alaska were to pass a law allowing the state to share confidential medical records (which it hasn't), it would still be illegal to do so under federal law.
Finally, harassing and adding more stress and threats of legal action to the emotional burden that can accompany the decision to seek an abortion or gender-affirming care is simply cruel. There is no justification for subjecting people to this kind of abuse of prosecution, especially based on their private medical decisions.
My colleagues and I have written to the target of the Attorney General's letter clarifying Alaska's laws, refuting their contentions, and opposing their efforts. We urge you to join us in speaking out against this attack on Alaskans' privacy rights. Read the letter here>>