Pregnancy Privacy Bill Proposed In Pa. House
Legislation in the state House of Representatives seeks to bring additional privacy protections for women using crisis pregnancy centers in Pennsylvania.
Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, has introduced House Bill 2574 to bar crisis pregnancy centers from sharing personal and health data gathered without permission from individuals. The legislation comes following a 2021 report on crisis pregnancy centers and their use of taxpayer dollars to fund their operations. The report outlined the collection of personal and health data that can be used, Daley said, to track people after they visit a crisis pregnancy center. Unlike health care facilities, which are limited by federal HIPAA regulations, crisis pregnancy centers aren’t subject to HIPAA since they don’t provide any true medical services.
“Now that we’ve seen citizens-turned-vigilantes empowered to take those seeking reproductive health care to court in other states, this mining of personal information can open the door for personal attacks on pregnant people looking for help,” Daley said. “Regulations must be put in place to protect the personal information of those who interact with a CPC.”
There are 156 crisis pregnancy centers in Pennsylvania. Daley circulated a co-sponsorship memorandum for HB 2574 in February, but formally introduced the text of the bill following this week’s leak of a draft Supreme Court decision that could overturn Roe v. Wade. Daley said the crisis pregnancy centers are collecting information from individuals and sending it to the larger network of facilities. That information could be used to influence a person’s decision over reproductive care, she said, which is why Daley wants to require privacy for crisis pregnancy center records.
A recent decision by the Office of Open Records revealed CPCs are risking people’s privacy rights in Pennsylvania. CPCs sent records that included people’s names, along with the services they received, to the taxpayer-funded CPC network Real Alternatives. This information could identify a person’s pregnancy status, sexual history or STD information.
“On its own this is a dangerous invasion of privacy but considering recent movement to deputize private citizens into vigilantes to regulate reproductive health, the threat is becoming even more imminent,” Daley wrote in her legislative memorandum for HB 2574. “For this reason, I am introducing legislation that would put safety parameters around crisis pregnancy centers data collection and prohibit them from sharing personal information without written permission of the individual. “