June 29, 2022: -House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the chamber’s Democrats are exploring legislation protecting personal data stored on reproductive health apps, ensuring the right to free travel amid states, and codifying the right to an abortion following the Supreme Court overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade case.
The ideas, posed by Pelosi to House Democrats in a letter dated Monday, follow the court’s ruling that upended almost 50 years of abortion rights in the U.S. The decision has started nationwide outrage from supporters of access to abortion in the days since.
“This weekend, the American people spoke in person and large numbers regarding their opposition to the Supreme Court’s disrespect for a woman’s freedom for her reproductive health,” the California Democrat Pelosi is writing. “While this Supreme Court works to punish and control the American people, Democrats should continue our fight to expand freedom in America.”
The first approach would protect “women’s most intimate and personal data” stored in reproductive health apps. “Many fear,” Pelosi added, “that this information could be used against women by a sinister prosecutor in a state that criminalizes abortion,” Pelosi further said.
Such apps, including Flo of Flo Health, allow women to track their menstruation and prepare for conception, pregnancy, early motherhood, and menopause. A fact sheet published by the business shows that a few 32 million people used its app every month and that 12 million had gotten pregnant while using the platform as of May 2020.
The second idea would be to pass legislation reiterating the constitutional right to travel throughout the U.S., ensuring that residents of states that ban abortions could have the procedure done in one that allows it.
The third would codify abortion rights as set out under the 1973 Roe decision in a bill known as the Women’s Health Protection Act.
The chances that such legislation would reach President Joe Biden to be signed into law are slim because it would face opposition from Senate Republicans.
Current. Since Democrats hold a razor-thin majority in a Senate split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris the key tiebreaker, a bill must get 60 votes to be passed.
Pelosi acknowledged those long odds in her letter but argued that Democrats are considering scrapping the filibuster rule altogether.
“It is essential that we protect and expand our pro-choice Majorities in the House and Senate so that we can eliminate the filibuster and restore women’s fundamental rights and freedom for every American,” she wrote.
Barring eliminating the filibuster, Democrats have few legislative options available to counter the high court’s decision to reverse its prior ruling.