Press Releases

Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher and Congresswoman Norma Torres Lead Effort To Protect Data Privacy of People Seeking Reproductive Health Care

Today, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) and Congresswoman Norma Torres (CA-35) led 70 of their colleagues in a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan urging the FTC to protect the data privacy of people seeking reproductive health care, including abortion care, by implementing safeguards to stop data brokers from collecting and selling data on an individual’s reproductive health care status or interest.  In some states, state legislators have suggested an individual’s location and browsing data could be used against them to pursue prosecution for seeking an abortion, even outside of their state.  

“Recently, reports in multiple news sources have detailed how people’s digital data can be used to reveal whether they have searched for or visited an abortion clinic, sought mifepristone and misoprostol for medication abortions, or when their periods, ovulation, and pregnancy started and stopped,” the letter reads.  “For example, in May 2022, SafeGraph, a location data firm, sold a week’s worth of private location information of people visiting abortion clinics for only $160.  This information includes where people visiting the clinics came from, the duration of time spent there, and where they went after leaving.  SafeGraph has publicly stated it has voluntarily stopped selling this information.  Yet stronger safeguards must be put in place to prevent abusive data practices that can lead to the investigation or prosecution of those seeking medical services, including abortions.  

“Specifically, we request that you immediately act within your authority to investigate these practices, issue warning letters to predatory actors as needed, and pursue robust enforcement against illegal acts,” the letter states.

To view the full text of the letter, click here.