Pelosi Says Democrats Are Mulling Plans to Protect Abortion Access, Data Stored in Reproductive Health Apps

After the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which protected a woman’s right to an abortion, on June 24, 2022, in Washington, DC, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wraps up a news conference at the Capitol Visitors Center.

After the Supreme Court overruled the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday that Democrats are considering legislation to protect personal data collected on reproductive health apps, ensure the right to free travel between states and codify the right to an abortion.

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Nancy Pelosi Says Democrats Will Protect Abortion Access and App Data

Following the court’s verdict on Friday that overturned nearly 50 years of abortion rights in the U.S., Pelosi proposed some proposals to her fellow House Democrats in a letter dated Monday. Pro-choice advocates across the country have expressed shock and dismay at the ruling.

“This weekend, the American people spoke out in person and in large numbers about their opposition to the Supreme Court’s disrespect for a woman’s freedom over her reproductive health,” the California Democrat Pelosi wrote. “While this extremist Supreme Court works to punish and control the American people, Democrats must continue our fight to expand freedom in America.”

In her letter, she outlined three potential responses that Democrats are considering.

The first strategy would focus on safeguarding “women’s most intimate and confidential data” within reproductive health apps. In her letter, Pelosi expressed concern that “this information may be used against women by an unscrupulous prosecutor in a state that criminalizes abortion.”

Flo of Flo Health is just one example of menstrual tracking software that can help women get ready for pregnancy, early parenting, and menopause. A fact sheet provided by the company says that as of May 2020, 12 million people had been pregnant while using the site, and while the company did not immediately answer requests for comment, it does have 32 million monthly users.

The second option would be to legalize interstate travel, allowing people from states that prohibit abortion to have the procedure done in a state that does not.

Pelosi Says Democrats Protect Abortion
Pelosi Says Democrats Protect Abortion

The Women’s Health Protection Act, the third, would enact into law the abortion rights recognized by the Roe v. Wade judgment of 1973.

Given the Republican majority in the Senate, the likelihood of such legislation making it to the desk of President Joe Biden for signature is low.

Under the rules now in place in the Senate, a minority opposition filibuster can go on indefinitely until the ruling party can find 60 votes to end it. Since the Senate is now evenly divided (with Vice President Kamala Harris acting as the deciding vote), the passage of any bill requires 60 senators to provide their approval.

Despite these daunting odds, Pelosi said in her letter that the Democrats should seriously explore eliminating the filibuster.

“It is essential that we protect and expand our pro-choice Majorities in the House and Senate in November so that we can eliminate the filibuster so that we can restore women’s fundamental rights — and freedom for every American,” she wrote.

Democrats have little legislative tools to resist the high court’s decision to reverse its former verdict unless the filibuster is abolished.

Minority Leader of the Senate for the Republicans, Mitch McConnell, recently warned citizens in his home state of Kentucky that the differences between the two parties make it impossible to reach a deal.

“In the Senate, most things require 60 votes,” he said. “Neither side of this issue has come anywhere close to having 60 votes. So I think this is likely to all be litigated out, dealt with in the various states around the country.”

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