Patient information should be confidential and only shared with people directly involved in the person’s care, if they give permission to do so, or by exception, such as to comply with:

  • Health department laws about required infectious disease reporting
  • Mandated reporting of suspected child abuse
  • Mandated reporting of domestic violence
  • A formal subpoena
  • Insurance company (if patient consents to submitting claim)

Disclosure of information under any other circumstance is a breach of confidentiality (Paul 2009). For those submitting insurance claims, consider that the claim could be made visible or mailed to the home of other members on the insurance plan. Medications mailed to the home may jeopardize confidentiality.

It is important when submitting mandated reporting to consider risk of criminalization to patients, providers, and anyone involved in abortion care in your state. To date, there is no mandated reporting state law or policy to report an abortion to law enforcement and doing so could be a HIPAA violation.

Voluntary and informed consent must be obtained. Use appropriate translation services for comprehension, privacy, and true informed consent. Consider a patient-centered approach for consent to trainee involvement in counseling and abortion care. If State-Mandated Counseling is legally required, and includes scientifically inaccurate information, the patient should be informed of the factual discrepancies.


TEACH Abortion Training Curriculum Copyright © 2022 by UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. All Rights Reserved.