Virginia bill that would protect menstrual data fails

FILE – Virginia Gov. Youngkin delivers his State of the Commonwealth address to a joint session of the Virginia legislature in the House chamber in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/John C. Clark, File)

(NewsNation) — A bill in the Virginia legislature that would protect menstrual data app from search warrants failed after Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration opposed it.

Currently, Axios Richmond notes there are currently no privacy protections for this sort of information.

But legislation by Democratic state Sen. Barbara A. Favola would have prohibited search warrants being issued “for the search and seizure of menstrual health data” stored on a computer or other digital device.

So many states have passed very restrictive bans on abortion and many women are concerned and they are asking lawmakers — myself, and others — to take steps to protect their privacy,” Favola told 13NewsNow.

The Washington Post reports that the measure was passed by the Democratic-led Senate 31-9. Every Democrat in the chamber, and half of the Republicans, supported it, according to the newspaper.

But in the House, a Republican-led subcommittee voted to table the bill, the Post reported. The Post wrote this happened after Youngkins’ deputy secretary of public safety and homeland security talked about how his office is worried that the measure could restrict subpoena powers.

In a statement to 13NewsNow, Youngkin’s spokeswoman said currently, no code places a limit on what information can be requested with a search warrant.

“This administration supports victims and we support criminals being held responsible for their actions. We want to give prosecutors all of the tools available to prosecute crimes, which includes requesting and receiving information used as evidence during trial,” the spokeswoman said.

Per Virginia law, prosecutors can charge doctors who violate the state’s abortion restrictions. This does not extend to patients. However, Youngkin’s budget plan, which was detailed in another Post article, has provisions that would allocate $50,000 toward banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

This is why, Virginia Democrats said in a statement, the legislation prohibiting search warrants from accessing menstrual data was so widely supported by abortion rights and women’s health groups.

“It is exceptionally disquieting to see Governor Youngkin oppose a bill that would protect women from having their private health data weaponized against them in a court of law,” Liam Watson, the Democratic Party of Virginia’s Press Secretary, said.

Favola told 13NewsNow she plans on re-introducing the bill during next year’s legislative session.


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