Shortly after Supreme Court judges heard arguments on Wednesday about a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. sounded ready to limit the right to abortion – Planned Parenthood Los Angeles announced A hacker accessed the personal information of about 400,000 patients.
Although the leak took place in October, the timing of the announcement may have been of concern to those made vulnerable by the leak.
Here’s a breakdown of what happened and what you can do to protect yourself – financially and mentally.
What information was taken?
According to Planned Parenthood Letter Sent to Victimsthe stolen information included names, dates of birth, addresses, insurance identification numbers, clinical data, diagnoses, treatments provided, and prescription information.
This may include sensitive personal information, including whether patients have had abortions or other medical procedures.
Violations of medical records are general, but the Planned Parenthood-related hacks can be – or feel – too personal or politically motivated. The DC branch of the organization was hacked last yearand there was a data leak in 2015 that were targeted at Planned Parenthood employees.
Planned Parenthood Los Angeles has pledged to step up network monitoring and add cybersecurity measures.
What can hackers do with your medical information?
Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles statement said there was no evidence yet that any information was used for fraudulent purposes such as identity theft.
A separate issue is that criminal hackers may release or threaten to release personal information publicly for malicious purposes, whether it be to harass or extort money from their victims. The US Department of Homeland Security has some guidance on how to prevent online harassment from doxingincluding what to do if your information is posted on social media or if you receive threats.
One thing the information cannot be used for is changing your employment status. By law, you cannot be fired for having an abortion. US Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity recommendations.
With abortion rights seemingly in balance in the Supreme Court Katherine L. Fiska labor law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said she could imagine someone who works for a very conservative, religious, or anti-abortion executive worrying about being fired, but for now, the law is clear.
“In California, an employee is protected from retaliation for good behavior after hours,” said Katherine L. Fisk, professor of labor law at the University of California, Berkeley.
federal Pregnancy discrimination law, which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, protects “women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related illnesses” from discrimination. The EEOC cites two appeals court rulings in its abortion guide. AT Turic vs. Dutch Hospitality, Inc., a court ruled in 1996 that firing a hotel employee after contemplating having an abortion in front of her colleagues was a violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. AT Dow vs. CARS Protection Plus, Inc.in 2008, a court ruled that a worker could not be fired for an abortion.
In the future, Fisk foresees more lawsuits under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and religious rights. But even if the country changes, she said, “in California, abortion will remain legal, state law will remain clear, and it will not change.”
How can you protect yourself from identity theft?
Planned Parenthood urged its patients to reconsider their claims and contact the organization immediately if they see charges for services they did not receive. Always review the claims you receive from your health insurance company and health care providers.
In general, the best thing to do if your data has been stolen is freeze your credit files, which will prevent anyone from opening a new account. It’s free and you can contact each of three major credit bureaus individually online. More tips can be found in our review of the latest T-Mobile data leakincluding how to register credit and personality monitoring services and use authentication application.
What if this news affects your mental health?
There are many reasons why almost 1 in 4 women had an abortion in the USA and hence there will be numerous responses and reactions to the compromise of this personal information.
According to American Psychological Association.studies show that abortion does not necessarily increase a woman’s risk of depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. But women may have mental health problems “associated with comorbid risk factors that predispose a woman to multiple unwanted pregnancies and mental health problems.”
If your medical history, aggravated by a breach of your privacy, affects your mental healthHere are some ways to ask for help, including finding a therapist that’s right for you, choosing a useful mental health appas well as some free or low-cost therapy alternatives.