Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal Celebrates Passage of Reproductive Privacy Bills in the Budget

New, York, NY – New York State Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF -Manhattan) heralded the passage of her legislation regulating the advertisement, collection and dissemination of an individual’s reproductive health data within the Health and Mental Hygiene bill of the enacted 2023-2024 New York State budget.

Assemblymember Rosenthal's bill, A.4920, prohibits digital advertisers from establishing a “geofence” around health care facilities. Geofencing is a technology that uses global positioning system coordinates, cellular data, Wi-Fi data or other means of location detection to create an electronic border around a geographic area. Companies use this technology to send messages to patients seeking care at reproductive health clinics urging them to consider alternatives to abortion.

Bill A.3310 bans New York-based companies and organizations from sharing an individual’s personal data with law enforcement during an ongoing investigation related to abortion.

Assemblymember Rosenthal introduced both bills to protect the digital privacy of those seeking abortion in New York State after the U.S Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last June.

“To those hell-bent on decimating a woman’s right to choose: you’ve met your match in New York State,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF – Manhattan), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing. “I originally introduced these bills to fight back against the deplorable tactics employed by anti-abortion groups and advocates to prevent pregnant people from seeking life-saving medical care. Right-wing zealots have absolutely no right to involve themselves, whether physically or digitally, in any conversations between a woman and her doctor.”

Data privacy experts have also warned that the collection of personal data has made it easier to prosecute a person for providing, receiving or facilitating abortion services. As of April 2023, 14 states have passed near-total abortion bans since the fall of Roe, and according to the Guttmacher Institute, only 38% of women ages 13 to 44 live in states supportive of abortion rights.

“As the battle for women’s rights moves into the realm of digital warfare, we must find new, creative ways to preserve choice,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “With the passage of these bills, we are sending a clear message to the rest of the country where women’s rights are on the chopping block – New York will continue to vehemently prioritize and champion its commitment to human rights. I am thrilled that my legislation will strengthen New York’s privacy laws, while at the same protecting women from callous threats and harassment during one of the most vulnerable periods of their lives.”

Assemblymember Rosenthal has also introduced bills protecting menstrual data, regulating third-party trackers on healthcare websites and extending additional protections to reproductive healthcare clinics.

Last year, Assemblymember Rosenthal's legislation shielding medical professionals from misconduct charges for providing, recommending or performing reproductive health services on patients traveling from states where abortion is illegal was signed into law. She also passed into law the bill prohibiting the denial of out-of-state applicants applying for licensure in New York State based on disciplinary actions for performing an abortion.