Supervisors Vote 4-1 To Support Jacobs Bill To Protect Data On Reproductive Health

Supervisors Vote 4-1 To Support Jacobs Bill To Protect Data On Reproductive Health

Aug 30th, 2022East County Magazine

August 30, 2022 (San Diego) – San Diego County Supervisors voted 4-1 earlier this month for a resolution to support the “My Body, My Data Act” introduced by Congresswoman Sara Jacobs, a Democrat whose 53rd district includes portions of San Diego and East County. The bill, if enacted, would protect the privacy of reproductive health data nationwide.

Supervisor Joel Anderson cast the lone vote against the resolution, which was introduced by Supervisors Terra Lawson-Remer and Nora Vargas.

“The bill doesn’t impact Californians and I don’t represent people in other states,” Anderson, a Republican, told Times of San Diego in an e-mailed statement. The other Republican Supervisor, Jim Desmond, voted in favor of the measure. He has opposed prior abortion-rights measures, but issued a statement indicating “he believes this data, and really anyone’s personal data, shouldn’t be shared with companies, unless authorized.”

Jacobs voiced alarm over reports of police obtaining Facebook messages between a mother and daughter as part of an investigation into an abortion that was illegal in Nebraska. Her “My Body, My Data Act” would create a new national standard to protect personal reproductive and sexual health data.

If passed by Congress and signed by the President, the bill would:

  • limit 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
  • protect personal data collected by entities not currently covered under HIPAA, including data collected by apps, cell phones and search engines
  • require regulated entities to develop and share a privacy policy outlining how they collect, retain, use and disclose personal reproductive health information
  • direct the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the law and develop rules to implement the statute
  • allow people to hold regulated entities accountable for any violations
  • provide additional consumer protections, including the right to access or delete personal data
  • include a non-preemption clause that allows states to provide further protection for reproductive and sexual health privacy

The measure follows the Supreme Court’s recent ruling overturning Roe vs Wade and allowing states to ban or regulate abortion. Jacobs says she has heard from “many people who are terrified of our personal reproductive data being weaponized against us and used to target those seeking an abortion or helping those seeking one.”

In a press statement, she concludes, “It’s clear that these concerns are already a reality. We need to immediately pass the My Body, My Data Act to minimize our digital footprint and empower people to take back control of their own reproductive and sexual health data.”

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