Senate Democrats are urging the country’s largest network of crisis pregnancy centers to disclose what kind of sensitive health information the organization collects from its patients, how it’s secured and whether it’s shared, and are raising concerns the data could be used to support abortion charges.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and six other senators called on Heartbeat International, an anti-abortion organization with over 2,000 affiliates across the US, to provide information on how it collects and stores patient data, arguing that its facilities do not the case is necessarily bound by federal health privacy laws like that Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act does not require the confidentiality of information to be maintained, leaving patients and their healthcare providers “at risk of criminal penalties.”
OVER 80% OF PREGNANCY-RELATED DEATHS BETWEEN 2017 AND 2019 WERE PREVENTABLE: CDC
“While your organization and many of its affiliated CPCs claim to comply with HIPAA to protect patient health information, they do not disclose how they use the data they collect, whether they keep personal information secure, and whether they intend to do so in the future.” “We are concerned that due to a lack of transparency and protection, data collected by Heartbeat International and its affiliates ‘may be used for law enforcement purposes related to pregnancy and abortion,'” read a letter to Heartbeart International.
Sens. Warren, Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT ) claimed that the organization’s affiliates lure pregnant women with “false and deceptive tactics,” such as B. Offering patient confidentiality agreements that do not offer the same protections as HIPAA.
The senators asked the organization to answer a series of questions about its data collection process by October 3, including what type of information the organization collects, whether the organization has ever shared data with law enforcement agencies, and how it ensures that the data transmitted is safe and secure. They also asked the organization if law enforcement had ever asked them to turn over data, and if so, to list the times and circumstances they did.
The organization, which previously filed an amicus brief calling on the Supreme Court to overthrow Roe v. Calf, uses its data collection system, which anticipates a woman’s risk level for an abortion, the letter said. A 24/7 hotline staffed by the organization also takes calls and documents data from more than 5 million women.
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“It is deeply troubling that your organization has provided limited or no clarity on how the data [it collects] is used [and] stored and for how long,” the letter reads.
That Washington Examiner asked Heartbeat International for comment.