Hirono, Wyden, Jacobs Introduce Bill to Protect Reproductive Health Data
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and Representative Sara Jacobs (D-CA), today introduced the My Body, My Data Act, legislation to protect personal reproductive health data by minimizing the information collected and retained, and preventing that information from being disclosed or misused. With the right-wing majority on the Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the bill would create a new national standard, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to protect reproductive health data from sources like fertility tracking apps.
“Extreme Republicans across the country aren’t only trying to take away women’s constitutional rights, they want to actually put people in jail for providing or seeking reproductive care,” said Senator Hirono. “This legislation will take steps to protect women’s privacy and ensure that individuals cannot collect data from websites or apps and use it against them.”
In light of the leaked draft decision of the Supreme Court’s plans to overturn Roe v. Wade, advocates and scholars have raised serious concerns about data collected by apps and websites being used to target or arrest people if abortion is criminalized. This includes location data, search histories, and reproductive health data collected by menstruation, ovulation, and pregnancy tracking apps each month. With at least 26 states likely or certain to ban abortions if Roe is overturned, this legislation is necessary to help protect individuals from being prosecuted for seeking or helping others seek abortion care.
Currently, few protections exist to prevent personal reproductive health data, or information about people seeking reproductive health services, from being collected, retained, or disclosed to third parties. The My Body, My Data Act would address this problem by:
- Limiting the personal reproductive and sexual health data that can be collected, retained, used, or disclosed to only what is needed to deliver a product or service;
- Protecting personal data collected by entities not currently covered under HIPAA, including data collected by apps, cell phones, and search engines;
- Creating a private right of action to allow individuals to hold regulated entities accountable for violations;
- Providing additional consumer protections, including the right to access or delete personal data;
- Including a non-preemption clause that allows states to provide further protection for reproductive and sexual health privacy.
Senator Hirono is a staunch advocate for abortion rights and reproductive freedom. This month, she met with reproductive health care leaders and providers from Hawaii to hear about the challenges they face and to discuss the importance of protecting abortion access. Senator Hirono also introduced the Affordability is Access Act (AAA) to help ensure access to over-the-counter birth control options, in an effort to allow people to plan their own reproductive lives, on their own terms. She also advocated to protect servicemembers’ access to abortion care.
In May, Senator Hirono delivered a floor speech emphasizing the need to defend abortion rights. Earlier this year, she introduced a resolution to honor abortion providers and thanked them in a floor speech on National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. Senator Hirono also cosponsored S.1975, the Senate companion to the House-passed Women’s Health Protection Act (H.R.3755), which would protect the right to access abortion care throughout the United States.
The bill has also been cosponsored by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tina Smith (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherron Brown (D-OH), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
The My Body, My Data Act has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), NARAL Pro-Choice America, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), National Partnership for Women & Families, the National Abortion Federation (NAF), Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity (URGE), and Feminist Majority.
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