Wed, Sep 21, 2022 4:48 AM
By Brent Addleman, The Center Square
A group of federal legislators are demanding answers from an organization regarding information on women’s reproductive health.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, and six other senators penned a letter to Heartbeat International, an anti-abortion organization supporting thousands of crisis centers in the United States, wanting information regarding the collection and use of personal data, including health care information.
Joining Warren in signing the letter are senators Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii; Cory Booker, D-NJ; Bernie Sanders, I-VT; Ron Wyden, D-Ore; Ed Markey, D-Mass; and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
“Heartbeat International – which is explicitly opposed to abortion rights – appears to be in a position to collect a significant amount of personal information from women about their pregnancies and potential plans for managing their care, but it is not under any legal obligation to maintain the confidentiality of this information or keep it out of the hands of abortion bounty hunters,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.
Heartbeat International, according to the release, works to “make abortion unwanted today and unthinkable for future generations” and the organization has tracked personal data including names, address, phone numbers, and reproductive health information.
Raising significant concerns, the lawmakers said, is that crisis pregnancy centers, and other organizations working in the same manner, are not subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and are not legitimate medical facilities.
“We fear that, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that stripped women of their right to an abortion, this information may be used to put women’s health and freedom to choose in jeopardy, and to put them and their health care providers at risk of criminal penalties,” the lawmakers wrote.
According to the release, the lawmakers are acting following the overturning Roe v. Wade combined with the push of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, for a national abortion ban. Warren and the other senators are raising concern about Heartbeat International’s practices regarding collecting data from women who are seeking legitimate abortion care.
In the letter, the senators are asking the organization to answer its questions, according to the release, by Oct. 3.