Today, Representative Deborah Ross (NC-02) joined Representatives Ted W. Lieu (CA-36), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Hillary Scholten (MI-03), and Maxwell Frost (FL-10) in introducing the Reproductive Data Privacy and Protection ActThe legislation would protect reproductive health care from law enforcement’s use of surveillance technologies.

Since the 2022 Dobbs Supreme Court decision, law enforcement agencies have obtained data, including geolocation data and private messages, to investigate and prosecute abortions. This data could also be used to investigate other areas of reproductive and sexual health such as IVF treatment and birth control. The Reproductive Data Privacy and Protection Act would protect Americans’ reproductive data privacy by ensuring that any data obtained by law enforcement does not involve or pertain to the criminalization of reproductive and sexual health services. The bill protects individuals’ information related to abortion and IVF care, the use or purchase of contraceptives, period tracker apps, pregnancy-related conditions, and more. 

“In my home state of North Carolina where we saw a dangerous 12-week abortion ban go into effect following the Dobbs decision, some women are terrified to seek the reproductive health care services they need, and doctors are facing insurmountable obstacles to providing care,” said Congresswoman Deborah Ross. “We must protect women and doctors from insidious actors who want to restrict and control abortion access even further through data collection and surveillance. That’s why I’m proud to join Representatives Lieu, Jacobs, Scholten, and Frost in introducing the Reproductive Data Privacy and Protection Act, which would prevent government and law enforcement entities from collecting data that would be used to prosecute or criminalize women seeking reproductive care.”

“Seeking reproductive or sexual health care is a deeply personal and private matter,” said Congressman Ted Lieu. “Law enforcement’s use of surveillance technology to track a person who is visiting an abortion clinic, or an IVF clinic, or purchasing contraceptives at a drugstore is a blatant invasion of privacy. While Republicans across the country attempt to strip away reproductive freedom and access to abortion care, Democrats are fighting to ensure Americans have access to the safe and reliable care they need without fear or intimidation. I’m pleased to introduce this much-needed legislation today with Representatives Jacobs, Ross, Scholten and Frost, and am grateful for the broad support for the bill from key civil liberties and reproductive health groups.”

“Since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion, we’ve seen prosecutors and law enforcement use every tool at their disposal to investigate and enforce anti-abortion bans and restrictions,” said Congresswoman Sara Jacobs. “We need to get a step ahead of them and address one of our greatest vulnerabilities in the post-Roe era: the unregulated digital surveillance system. That’s why I’m proud to co-lead the Reproductive Data Privacy and Protection Act to ban law enforcement from using surveillance and other data collection methods to investigate or prosecute abortion patients or those helping them. Decisions about if, when, and how to grow a family should be private – and our data should be too.”

"Reproductive decisions are the most personal and often difficult decisions that a woman can make, and the last thing any woman should be worried about is whether her or not she is under digital surveillance while she's making these decisions," said Congresswoman Hillary Scholten. "Our common-sense bill will help protect women, their families, and their providers from harm as they seek and provide reproductive care. I will continue fighting as hard as possible to defend the right to privacy and personal freedoms."

"It's sickening to see the same Republican leaders across our country who cry wolf about big government turn to big tech to access the private digital information and even the private messages of people seeking abortion care to go after them,” said Congressman Maxwell Frost. “Right now, Florida is at the forefront of efforts to criminalize abortion; imagine what GOP leaders could do with Floridians' private texts and location information. We cannot let that happen. I'm proud to support the Data Privacy and Protection Act in the continued fight to protect abortion access for anyone who needs it and keep our private medical decisions private."

The Reproductive Data Privacy and Protection Act is endorsed by: Planned Parenthood Federation of America, American Civil Liberties Union, Reproductive Freedom for All, Center for Reproductive Rights, National Partnership for Women and Families, National Council of Jewish Women, National Women’s Law Center, League of Women Voters, Catholics for Choice, National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, and Project on Government Oversight. 

Additional Quotes of Support:

Cody Venzke, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU:

“Privacy ensures that we have the space to make decisions about our lives, including when and how to have children. The Reproductive Data Privacy and Protection Act is a critical step in bolstering privacy to combat increasingly invasive efforts to criminalize our most basic rights to reproductive care and to make fundamental decisions about our lives.”

Jocelyn Frye, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families: 

“The growing number of state abortion restrictions means millions of women, especially women of color, are at risk of being criminalized for their pregnancy outcomes. We need strong protections for those seeking care as well as for those providing abortion care, in order to keep their personal information safe. No one should be prosecuted just for seeking the health care they need, and no one should have to live in fear that their personal data will be used against them. We are grateful for Rep. Lieu's introduction of this bill to safeguard the privacy of pregnant people in the post-Dobbs landscape.”

 Rachana Desai Martin, Chief of Government Relations and External Affairs, Center for Reproductive Rights: 

 "The Center is proud to endorse the Reproductive Data Privacy and Protection Act. With abortion already banned in 14 states, and SCOTUS considering two pivotal abortion cases, we need stronger protections for people seeking abortions now more than ever. This bill would provide important new protections for our reproductive health data."

 Read the full bill text here