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Dear Friends and Neighbors,  

On Wednesday, I voted in the affirmative on H4496 – An Act providing protections for reproductive or gender affirming care location information. This bill will prohibit cell phone carriers and other data providers from collecting or selling location information when Massachusetts residents seek abortions and other sensitive health care. 

 

In June 2022, the U.S Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling ended the federal right to an abortion, allowing states to enact their own policies and limitations on reproductive care. Following the decision, we in the House moved swiftly to pass legislation protecting reproductive and gender-affirming care providers in the state from legal action originating out of state. However, data brokers currently sell data tracking the location of cellphone users. Following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade, news outlets reported that location data firms were selling location information related to patients’ visits to Planned Parenthood facilities, which could then be used to target and harass those individuals and providers.   

This bill builds on this legislation to protect access and patients seeking reproductive and gender-affirming care. 

 

The Location Shield bill notably: 

 

  • Prohibits covered entities or service providers from collecting or processing an individual’s reproductive or gender affirming care location information unless: 
  • The individual is provided with a copy of the location privacy policy 
  •  The covered entity obtains consent from the individual 
  •  It is administratively pertinent 
  • It is in compliance with federal or state law 
  • At the request of public safety for release of information.  
  • Allows location information only to be collected when necessary and used as long as necessary to care out the permissible purpose and the entity or service provider cannot sell the information or share information to a third party without the individual’s permission. 

 

This legislation reaffirms our commitment to protecting reproductive health and gender affirming care by further protecting the privacy of patients and health care providers. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.   

 

Yours in service,  

Denise 

 

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