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Read the groundbreaking new report Politics in the Exam Room: A Growing Threat by the National Partnership for Women & Families, National Physicians Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit struck down the medical gag provisions of the Florida Firearms Owners’ Privacy Act, which prohibited health care providers from inquiring about the presence of a firearm in a patient’s home.

The court determined that “the applicable standard of care encourages doctors to ask questions about firearms (and other potential safety hazards),” and that health care providers “must be able to speak frankly and openly to patients.” The court concluded stating, “Florida may generally believe that doctors and medical professionals should not ask about, nor express views hostile to, firearm ownership, but it may not burden the speech of others in order to tilt the public debate in a preferred direction.” Wollschlaeger v. Governor, State of Florida, February 2017

Relying heavily on the medical evidence that the regulations provided no benefit to women's health, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down two Texas abortion clinic regulations as violating a woman's constitutional right to abortion care.

The Court addressed the provisions’ effect on clinic closures stating, “[I]n the face no threat to women’s health, Texas seeks to force women to travel long distances to get abortions in crammed-to-capacity super facilities. Patients seeking these services are less likely to get the kind of individualized attention, serious conversation, and emotional support that doctors at less taxed facilities may have offered.” Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, June 2016

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the medical gag provisions of the Oil and Gas Act of 1984, which prohibited physician communication regarding chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing ("fracking").

The court agreed with the plaintiffs that the provisions in the law, “fundamentally interfere with physician’s ability to treat their patients, since, under their terms, even if physicians obtain information about a particular chemical to which a patient has been exposed they are, nevertheless, prohibited from sharing that information with their patients.” Robinson Township et al. v. Commonwealth of PA, September 2016

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