Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53)
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the My Body, My Data Act, legislation to protect personal reproductive health data in response to the leaked draft decision revealing the Supreme Court’s plans to overturn Roe v. Wade. The bill would create a new national standard to protect personal reproductive health data, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. By minimizing the personal reproductive health data that is collected and retained, the bill would prevent this information from being disclosed or misused.
The Jacobs-Hirono-Wyden My Body, My Data Act (H.R. 8111, S. 4434) has 43 cosponsors in the House and 10 in the Senate. The bill is 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.
My Body, My Data Act: Bill Text
My Body, My Data Act: Summary
The leaked draft Supreme Court decision has raised serious concerns that data collected by apps and websites could be 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. Recent reporting has also revealed the prevalence with which consumers’ personal reproductive health information – often our most personal information – is disclosed and monetized.
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. With at least 26 states likely or certain to ban abortions if Roe is overturned, this bill is the first Congressional action to strengthen digital privacy and protect our personal reproductive health information specifically.
“Since the Supreme Court leak, it is clear that abortion rights and privacy rights are at risk and people across the country are looking at their phones, worried that their personal reproductive health data could be falling into the wrong hands. The My Body, My Data Act will protect our data privacy and reaffirm our rights to make our own decisions about our own bodies. I am proud to introduce this legislation with Senator Hirono and Senator Wyden and with such considerable support from my House and Senate colleagues,” said Congresswoman Jacobs. “As a young woman, reproductive health care is my health care. And like tens of millions of Americans, I’ve used apps to help manage my reproductive health. It’s unconscionable that this information could be sold to the highest bidder, turned over to the government and weaponized against us, and especially against low-income people and people of color who will be most impacted if Roe is overturned.”
“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. 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,” said Senator Mazie Hirono.
“The draft Supreme Court Opinion overturning Roe shows that the fundamental rights of a woman over her own body and privacy are on the chopping block. Congress needs to step up and offer real protections for people seeking reproductive health care, and lots of people seek that care online. It is just common sense that data brokers, tech companies and advertisers shouldn’t be able to put personal, sensitive information on the public auction block for anyone with a credit card,” said Senator Ron Wyden. “I am proud to work with Congresswoman Jacobs and Senator Hirono to introduce privacy protections for that data with real teeth, so when women and pregnant people use a period tracking app or go to the doctor, they won’t have to worry about creepy third parties looking over their shoulder.”
“Women, and all individuals, need strong, enforceable rights to protect their most sensitive health data, especially regarding their personal and private reproductive or sexual health information,” said Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. “This legislation does that, and I am glad to support it.”
Cosponsors of the My Body, My Data Act in the House are: Jake Auchincloss, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Julia Brownley, Judy Chu, Katherine Clark, Steve Cohen, Jason Crow, Veronica Escobar, Anna Eshoo, Jahana Hayes, Teresa Leger Fernandez, Lizzie Fletcher, Lois Frankel, Sylvia Garcia, Robin Kelly, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ann McLane Kuster, Brenda Lawrence, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Susie Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Alan Lowenthal, Carolyn Maloney, Kathy Manning, Grace Meng, Marie Newman, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Donald Payne, Dean Phillips, Ayanna Pressley, Deborah Ross, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Mary Gay Scanlon, Jackie Speier, Melanie Stansbury, Norma Torres, Ritchie Torres, Juan Vargas, Susan Wild, and Nikema Williams.
Cosponsors of the My Body, My Data Act in the Senate are: Tammy Baldwin, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Maria Cantwell, Tammy Duckworth, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith, and Sheldon Whitehouse.
“Planned Parenthood Federation of America is grateful to Rep. Sara Jacobs for leading the introduction of the My Body, My Data Act, and working to address the abortion access crisis facing our nation,” said Karen Stone, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Relations at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Everyone should have the ability to access the abortion care they need without additional fears or concerns about the protection of their personal reproductive health data. Planned Parenthood is dedicated to working with lawmakers at all levels because everyone has a part to play in protecting and strengthening abortion access.”
“We’re grateful for Rep. Jacobs’ leadership at a time when the constitutional right to abortion is on the line like never before,” said Mini Timmaraju, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “As our fundamental right to make our own decisions about whether to start or grow a family faces unprecedented threats, we look forward to working with Rep. Jacobs to protect and advance reproductive freedom.”
“The privacy of our reproductive health data is under growing attack,” said India McKinney, Director of Federal Affairs of Electronic Frontier Foundation. “We thank Rep. Jacobs for proposing strong new statutory safeguards for our private data, and we look forward to working with her to enact them.”
“Young people live more of their lives in the digital world than ever before, opening them up to increased surveillance of their reproductive health information,” Desireé Luckey, Director of Policy at URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity. “URGE supports the ‘My Body, My Data Act’ to encourage data minimization and decrease the chance that their personal information will be shared in ways that threaten their privacy and well-being now, and in the future.”
“Modern technology can be a critical tool to help empower patients and enable them to secure access to quality health care,” said Jocelyn Frye, President, National Partnership for Women & Families. “But legislative abortion bans can lead to the misuse of technology and endanger pregnant people and abortion providers. The National Partnership is grateful to Rep. Jacobs for working to protect the health information of people seeking abortions so that they can access care safely and without fear of criminal punishment.”
Jacobs has been a longtime champion of reproductive health care and reproductive freedom. In September 2021, Jacobs shared her personal experience freezing her eggs and her efforts to expand fertility and reproductive health care as a Member of Congress. She is an original co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify Roe v. Wade and which the House of Representatives passed last year. She is also a co-sponsor of the Access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act, legislation to expand insurance coverage for the full range of reproductive and fertility health care.