Cortez Masto, Rosen push back against Republican bill to create anti-abortion government website

Abortion rights supporters gather at a rally at Bicentennial Plaza put on by Planned Parenthood South Atlantic in response to a bill before the North Carolina Legislature, Wednesday, May 3, 2023, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

By Jannelle Calderón

May 16, 2024

Democrats’ “My Body, My Data Act” would prohibit entities from collecting personal reproductive health information amid fears that a potential anti-abortion resource website proposed by Republicans could gather data from pregnant women.

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto this week signed onto legislation that would create a new national standard to protect women’s reproductive and sexual health data and limit the data being collected or disclosed in health apps and websites.

The “My Body, My Data Act,” first introduced last year, would create a new national standard to protect women’s reproductive and sexual health data and limit the data being collected or disclosed in health apps and websites.

The My Body, My Data Act would prohibit entities from collecting, retaining, using, or disclosing personal reproductive or sexual health information, unless necessary for certain services. Entities would also be required to let users, after requesting and being verified, to see, correct or delete their reproductive health information that is stored, including that is collected from third parties, without a fee.

Privacy policies would also be required to be “clear and conspicuous” and describe how the entity collects, retains, uses, and discloses personal sexual or reproductive health information. And companies cannot retaliate against users for requesting such information.

“Americans should have confidence that their personal health history won’t be sold or shared without their consent, especially when it comes to information about their reproductive health,” Cortez Masto said in a statement.

Cortez Masto’s decision to cosponsor the bill comes just days after Senate Republicans introduced a bill that would create an anti-abortion government-run website that would front as a hub for resources for pregnant women.

The More Opportunities for Moms to Succeed (MOMS) Act would create a website — pregnancy.gov — where a user would answer a series of questions to generate a list of resources within their zip code. The resources would include information about the risks of abortion and would explicitly exclude any “entity, including its affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, and clinics, that performs, induces, refers for, or counsels in favor of abortions.”

Many OB/GYNs and other health providers would thus be excluded from the website.

The bill would also require states to apply child support obligations during pregnancy, if requested by the mother — effectively embracing the idea of fetal personhood — and greenlight grants for nonprofits that encourage women to carry pregnancies to full term and support “positive alternatives,” such as adoption agencies and anti-abortion centers known as “crisis pregnancy centers.”

These centers often advertise themselves as offering a full range of reproductive healthcare, but do not offer abortion services and often exist solely to discourage patients from accessing abortion care.

The Republican proposal also drew criticism amid concerns over a measure in the bill that could allow for the collection of pregnant women’s private data. Under the bill, pregnant women who visit pregnancy.gov would have the ability to consent for their contact information to be used by the government, which could “conduct outreach via phone or email” to provide “additional resources that would be helpful.”

In addition to signing onto the “My Body, My Data” Act, Cortez Masto also joined fellow Nevada Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen in criticizing the Senate Republicans’ bill.

“Americans don’t want the government to track, intimidate, and coerce pregnant women into carrying their pregnancies to term no matter their circumstances,” Cortez Masto, Rosen, and 10 other Democratic senators said in a statement. “Yet, Senate Republicans want to mandate the creation of an online federal database where women will be encouraged to register their pregnancies with the government in order to push them toward anti-abortion propaganda and dangerous crisis pregnancy centers—this tells us exactly how Republicans will weaponize the whole of government to restrict a woman’s freedom to choose and force them to stay pregnant no matter what.”

  • Jannelle Calderón

    Jannelle Calderón is a bilingual politics and community multimedia reporter with a passion to highlight the human side to policy and issues as well as showcasing the vibrant cultures found in Southern Nevada. She previously reported for The Nevada Independent and graduated from UNLV.

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