An East Bay state legislator’s bill protecting reproductive digital information handled by companies headquartered in California passed the Legislature and is awaiting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature.
Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda, worked with Assemblymembers Mia Bonta of Oakland, Cristina Garcia of Bell Gardens and many other co-authors to pass Assembly Bill 1242. The bill was also sponsored by state Attorney General Rob Bonta.
Language in the bill would create a legal path protecting reproductive digital information, in addition to preventing the arrest or turnover of information in investigations related to abortions that are legal in the state, the California Department of Justice said.
“California will not stand idly by as anti-choice states across the nation take radical action to criminalize reproductive rights,” Rob Bonta said. “Abortion is fully legal in California and we’ll fight to protect all who access reproductive health care in our state.”
The bill would prohibit the arrest of anyone “aiding or performing a lawful abortion in California” and prohibits law enforcement in the state from sharing information or aiding out-of-state agencies in an investigation related to a lawful abortion.
AB 1242 would also require out-of-state law enforcement agencies seeking records from corporations in California to attest that the investigation does not involve any crime related to an abortion that is lawful under California law.
“This is an unprecedented step to protect abortion privacy across the country. We have no obligation to be complicit in enforcing laws that are antithetical to our own values and legal system in California.”Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan
“This is an unprecedented step to protect abortion privacy across the country,” Bauer-Kahan said. “We have no obligation to be complicit in enforcing laws that are antithetical to our own values and legal system in California.”
The California Department of Justice said that if another state wanted to track the movement of someone traveling to California for reproductive health care, the bill would block the state from accessing cellphone site tower location data of the person by serving a warrant to the tech company in California.
If another state wants Google search history for a particular IP address, the DOJ said, “it could not serve an out-of-state search warrant at Google headquarters in CA without an attestation that the evidence is not related to investigation into abortion services.”
“AB 1242’s groundbreaking data privacy provisions are crucial — they prohibit tech companies served with search warrants in California from providing digital information to out-of-state law enforcement agencies seeking to enforce anti-abortion law,” Rob Bonta said.