This is Enhanced 911 (easier-to-understand Wikipedia article): cell-phone network operators are required to transmit the location of a cellphone with a given level of accuracy to a 911 call center. It does not specifically require the use of GPS, but the accuracy requirements are such that GPS is generally used.
Excerpting the WIkipedia page:
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has several requirements applicable to wireless or mobile telephones:
[...] 95% of a network operator's in-service phones must be E911 compliant ("location capable") by December 31, 2005. (Numerous carriers missed this deadline, and were fined by the FCC.)
Wireless network operators must provide the latitude and longitude of callers within 300 meters, within six minutes of a request by a PSAP. [...]
In 1996, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an order requiring wireless carriers to determine and transmit the location of callers who dial 9-1-1. The FCC set up a phased program: Phase I involved sending the location of the receiving antenna for 9-1-1 calls, while Phase II sends the location of the calling telephone. Carriers were allowed to choose to implement 'handset based' location by Global Positioning System (GPS) or similar technology in each phone, or 'network based' location by means of triangulation between cell towers. The order set technical and accuracy requirements: carriers using 'handset based' technology must report handset location within 50 meters for 67% of calls, and within 150 meters for 90% of calls; carriers using 'network based' technology must report location within 100 meters for 67% of calls and 300 meters for 90% of calls.