U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaks during a protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court following a leaked draft majority opinion written by Judge Samuel Alita, which is preparing for a majority court to overturn a landmark Rowe abortion decision against Wade later this year in Washington, DC. , May 3, 2022
Elizabeth Franz Reuters
A group of 16 Democratic senators called on the Federal Trade Commission in a letter Wednesday to protect data privacy for people seeking abortion or other reproductive health care.
The letter highlights the possible far-reaching consequences of the Supreme Court’s pending decision to overturn Rowe v. Wade. Earlier this month, Politico announced a draft decision repealing a decades-old abortion protection order, and Chief Justice John Roberts later confirmed its authenticity, although a final decision has not yet been released.
The draft decision raised concerns about how the abolition of Roe could affect the protection of privacy, given that the original decision was largely based on the right to privacy between the pregnant woman and her doctor. Worrying concerns are the fact that the U.S. currently does not have a federal privacy law, although some states, such as California, have their own remedies.
In a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan, senators led by Senators Amy Klobuchar, State Department, and Tammy Baldwin, State Department, expressed “serious concern” over recent reports that data brokers are buying and selling abortion-related location data . services, pointing to a recent Vice article. They said such data could come from common places, such as weather apps, where consumers might not expect their data to be sold.
“In light of reports that the Supreme Court intends to dismiss Rowe v. Wade, we are concerned about the privacy of women who make decisions that should be between them, their families and their doctors, as it has been for more than five decades,” “If the final ruling is in line with the leaked opinion, thirteen states could ban abortion immediately, and more than a dozen others are likely to face criminal charges.” Banning and criminalizing abortion in some parts of our country could create additional risks for those seeking family planning services in states where abortion remains legal. ”
Already in states like Texas and Oklahoma, access to abortion has been extremely limited, and new laws even allow private individuals to sue abortion providers or those who help them access such services (potentially including ridershar drivers).
Senators have asked the FTC to outline measures it takes to ensure consumers can view and delete personal information online, ways to access mobile apps that collect and sell location data, and how it coordinates with the Department of Justice, states and security health. help providers to prevent brokers from accessing such information. They also asked the FTC, which many lawmakers believe is historically underfunded, whether it needs additional resources to prevent such personal information from being bought and sold by data brokers.
An FTC spokesman confirmed that the agency had received the letter, but gave no further comment.
WATCH: Protesters gather near Supreme Court after document leak prompts judges to overturn Rowe v. Wade