EFF supports data privacy for all, and that includes people seeking reproductive health care. Even before the Supreme Court draft decision regarding Roe v. Wade leaked, EFF was engaged with reproductive justice advocates on how to better protect data privacy for people seeking care, providing it, and funding it. We’ve provided digital privacy and security tips for patients seeking care and people involved in abortion access. But more is needed.
That’s why EFF supports California’s A.B. 2091, authored by Asm. Mia Bonta and sponsored by Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. This bill seeks to stop information about people seeking abortions in California from flowing across state lines and used by prosecutors or private actors under other states’ anti-abortion laws.
Specifically, it prohibits health care providers and service plans from releasing medical information related to people seeking or obtaining an abortion, in response to a subpoena or request based on another state’s law that interferes with reproductive freedom protected by California law. The bill also prohibits a person from being compelled to provide information that would identify someone who has sought or obtained an abortion, if it is being requested in this scenario. While EFF is not a reproductive rights advocacy group, our history of work on digital privacy—particularly health privacy—compels us to support this bill.
This issue also falls squarely within our organization’s work on limiting the collection and use of government data for purposes other than it was collected. Governments collect information for many reasons. But, all too often, data collected by the state is misused and weaponized for other purposes. The ones who suffer most are often vulnerable minority groups. This sad legacy of data misuse stretches from census data being used for Japanese-American internment during World War II, to license plate data being weaponized against immigrants today.
EFF likewise has supported legislation to protect data in the state of California from being misused to enforce federal immigration policies. California should be a digital sanctuary state for both immigrants and people seeking reproductive health procedures.
As the bill’s sponsors told the California legislature, “No one should be able to manipulate California’s legal system to target and punish people who seek care and refuge here.”
We urge California’s legislators to pass A.B. 2091 as a crucial step to building such a sanctuary.