On Wednesday, the Los Angeles branch of Planned Parenthood admitted that hackers had gained access to the personal information of approximately 400,000 patients in October.
According to Planned Parenthood, the breach was limited to the Los Angeles branch. The Washington Post reported that spokesperson John Erickson “said there is no indication at this point that the information was ‘used for fraudulent purposes.’”
“But an investigation is ongoing, he said, and information was compromised for about 400,000 patients of the organization at the center of the country’s fierce debates over abortion rights,” the Post continued. “Someone gained access to Planned Parenthood Los Angeles’ network between Oct. 9 and Oct. 17, installed malicious software and ‘exfiltrated’ some files, Erickson said in a statement.”
Letters sent from the Los Angeles Planned Parenthood affiliate to impacted patients informed them that “we identified files that contained your name and one or more of the following: address, insurance information, date of birth, and clinical information, such as diagnosis, procedure, and/or prescription information.”
Planned Parenthood Los Angeles said it “identified suspicious activity on our computer network” on Oct. 17 and “immediately took our systems offline.”
“PPLA takes the safeguarding of patients’ information extremely seriously, and deeply regrets that this incident occurred and for any concern this may cause,” PPLA said.
“Patients are encouraged to review statements from their healthcare providers or health insurers and contact them immediately if they see charges for services they did not receive,” PPLA said in a statement.
This is not the first time Planned Parenthood has been successfully targeted by hackers.
This year, according to USA Today, the Metropolitan Washington branch said that patient and donor data had been breached in 2020, and that hackers had “posted online the names and other information on hundreds of Planned Parenthood employees” in 2015.
This news came as the United States Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday concerning a case regarding a Mississippi abortion law. The Supreme Court’s ruling could have massive implications for pro-life laws around the country.
“The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, concerns a 2018 law in Mississippi that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy,” explained The Daily Wire. “As the law stands now, Roe v. Wade and the decisions that came after it hold that states have to allow a woman to be able to get an abortion up to the point of viability, or when the baby can survive on its own outside the womb. Most states hold this mark at around 20 to 24 weeks.”
If Mississippi is successful, and the law is upheld, it could directly go against precedent already set by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and could also cut against Planned Parenthood v. Casey, decided in 1992.
Mississippi said in its original petition that the questions presented to the Court do not require them to overturn Roe or Casey. In its brief in July, however, the state wrote, “Roe and Casey are egregiously wrong,” and said the court should overrule those decisions.