back to article FTC urged to protect data privacy of women visiting abortion clinics

Democrat senators have urged America's Federal Trade Commission to do something to protect the privacy of women after it emerged details of visits to abortion clinics were being sold by data brokers. Women's healthcare is an especially thorny issue right now after the Supreme Court voted in a leaked draft majority opinion to …

  1. Gene Cash Silver badge

    All our fault

    We started a country with rabid Puritans... this is what we get.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All our fault

      You then filled it with people who would sell their children's kidneys and invest in Peruvian zinc. The rest think that's the american way, and trying to stop it is communism.

      There'll be plenty of room up against the wall for data brokers and puritans alike when the revolution comes.

      1. A Nother Handle

        Re: All our fault

        Build the wall! Build the wall!

  2. DS999 Silver badge

    This could backfire on anti abortionists

    Because we all know that a large portion of male politicians have affairs, and occasionally an affair will lead to an unintended pregnancy. So no doubt there are dozens if not hundreds of state legislators who scream from the rooftops how against abortion they are, who have have helped their mistress get an abortion at some point during their career.

    So if someone got their hands on all this data, I imagine the glee from the anti abortion side hoping to tar and feather people in public will be met with plenty of discomfort amongst their ranks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      None vote for Kyrsten Sinema

      Democrats had a law to codify Roe vs Wade at federal level. Kyrsten Sinema worked with Republicans to filabuster that law. To vote between something you need a choice, and Kyrsten's backstabbing means you don't. She was voted in as a Democrat, some disussions happened between her and Republicans and now she votes with them on almost everything while never explaining her choices.

      They won't vote Democrat as a result of Kyrsten Sinema.

      For me, the biggest one was where she voted against a voting rights law, that came in the wake of the Republican Supreme Court striking down voter protections. Republicans States then introduced voter restriction, Gerrymandering and even "vote watchers" became legal again in Texas, a return of the armed gunmen intimidating black voters in swing districts. No more bussing people to polling stations that have no public transport, now a crime in many Republican states. No more 24 hour polling stations, as needed by shift workers. A return to 10 minute lines for Republican districts and 8 hour lines in Democrat ones.

      So, Republicans take the Senate officially in 2022, Sinema will likely change officially to be a Republican at that point.

      Supreme Court judges, and State judges will be blocked again. Positions will be held open for years.

      People like Mastriano, Jan 6th GOP plotter and Pennsylvania Governor candidate. He's openly said, if he gets Governor position, then he will only allow Republican elector lists to be sent to the Senate, regardless of the vote. Nobody bats an eyelid, its expected of Republicans now.

      Clarence Thomas's wife has had more revelations over Jan 6th, this time she tried to throw out the vote in Arizona. He's pretending to be a victim and not a co-conspirator. So expect the Supreme court to simply rubber stamp any coup.

      Really the only thing standing between Republicans and a successful coup, is "total landscaping Trump". They had all the elements of a successful coup back in December, he just couldn't deliver the size of mob they needed to give Pence cover for the coup.

      If he'd gotten his coup, they had their 'special lawyer' lined up in the defence department, to legalize use of the military to kill protestors to suppress protests. Thomas would no doubt help rationalize that murder to enforce a coup as being 'pro-democracy'.

      1. Jedit Silver badge

        "Kyrsten Sinema worked with Republicans to filabuster that law."

        Minor pedant: the bill was voted down in the Senate, and the only dissenting Democrat was Joe Manchin. So even her hypocrisy only goes so far.

        But you're right that Sinema and Manchin both need to be removed in the primaries, because they're both DINOSAURs - Democrat In Name Only, Screwing Up Abortion Rights.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Kyrsten Sinema worked with Republicans to filabuster that law."

          "Sinema defends filibuster in statement criticizing decision to overturn Roe v Wade"

          Mitch McConnell said he would filibuster the bill to block it, and she said she would support that filibuster knowing it would defeat the bill. You want to give her (minor pedant) credit for voting *for* a bill she already voted to filibuster to death with Mitch, but I give her extra d-merits for being a lying sack of shit playing divisive games.

          Manchin is easy enough to understand. He owns mining interests, which means he has to pretend to be Democrat while always voting to increase his mining wealth. When you take away his enabler, he votes Democrat. Sinema here is the enabler here. Scrape the lying Sinema crap off your shoes and Manchin will suddenly pretend to be a Democrat again.

          For example, if Manchin was the only obstacle, build-back-better could have been passed, by adding "clean coal" provisions. But add Sinema flat out refusal, and it was dead in the water. Inflation is high, and BBB was fiscal positive, they could really use that growth right now, but no the Kyrsten problem hits them again.

          Even if you could get Sinema to vote Democrat (the agenda she was elected on), its just too late.

          In Democrat voters head, Democrats cannot deliver on their promises, and they cannot do that because Kyrsten Sinema is a lying POS.

          Democrats voters won't vote Democrat in the mid-terms.

          And when they don't, thank Kyrsten Sinema.

      2. DS999 Silver badge

        It wouldn't have mattered what the vote was

        Democrats have only 50 members in a 100 member Senate. They need 60 to overcome the filibuster to make it law.

        They HAD that size of majority after Obama was elected in 2008, and have had even bigger majorities at times since Roe was decided. They could have passed a federal law making abortion legal, which would have had the added benefit of taking the wind out of the sails of the anti-abortion effort to corrupt the court with unqualified politically minded people sent there with a task rather than picking the best qualified jurists as had been done in the past.

        So it is the democrats fault as much as the republicans that we are in this situation today where abortion is about to be illegal in about half the states, and middle class and rich women will have easy access to abortion and poor women less able to travel will be forced to bear unwanted children (which the republicans will not lift a finger to help them raise)

        It is weird tough that the party that is now a proponent of the "great replacement theory" and believes democrats want immigrants to come and replace the white electorate should want to do something that will prevent a much greater proportion of non-white women from having abortions versus white women. Maybe they believe the babies will grow up so grateful they will vote republican?

        The next time republicans have the president, house and senate there will be an extreme amount of pressure from the far right for them to toss the filibuster and ban abortions nationwide.

        1. Suragai

          Re: It wouldn't have mattered what the vote was

          Unfortunately a Federal law would not make any difference, as it's the Supreme Court voting to overturn it - as the name suggests, they are the senior body and can overturn Federal law.

          interesting to note that very few Republican politicians seem to be talking about the overturn of Roe - you'd think they would be celebrating it - except polling has consistently shown at least 70% of voters from all parties oppose overturning it, so they are keeping quiet for fear of getting spanked in the mid-terms.

          Glad I live far, far away, in a country that (so far) has a much less partisan and dishonest political system...

          1. DS999 Silver badge

            Re: It wouldn't have mattered what the vote was

            You totally misunderstand how things work in the US I guess. The court decided in Roe that laws that made abortion illegal could not be enforced.

            The expected reversal of that decision would allow laws declaring abortion illegal to stand. It would not prevent the enforcement of laws that make abortion legal, thus blocking states from making it illegal.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. seven of five

    can purchase location data ... showing folks visiting

    and right there we have the problem:

    ...can purchase location data for $160 showing folks visiting Planned Parenthood facilities across the country...

    legally aquiring strangers location data?


    What could possibly ever go wrong?

  4. codejunky Silver badge


    "People living in those states would, in theory, have to travel to another state where abortion is legal to carry out the procedure lawfully, although laws are also planned to ban that.

    Which is why keeping a lid on data on people's whereabouts, especially their journeys to abortion clinics, is more important than ever."

    I can see potential arguments for not wanting to have this data sold but to help people break the law? Lets try this argument with guns where neighbouring states wont sell to a californian (if I remember it right).

    1. Red Or Zed

      Re: Hmm

      Break the law? A law that says a person may not travel ?

      how's all that Freedom going?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        What's American for propiska ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmm

          It's clear we don't have nearly enough Russian donor words, to get English through the coming era.

          Probably a few Chinese ones to supplement the Amazon workers vocabulary too.

      2. Jedit Silver badge

        "how's all that Freedom going?"

        Technically, they don't need more laws if a foetus is considered to have the rights of a person. Simply crossing state lines while pregnant for malicious intent would qualify as felony kidnapping.

        1. Falmari Silver badge

          Re: "how's all that Freedom going?"

          @Jedit “Simply crossing state lines while pregnant for malicious intent would qualify as felony kidnapping.”

          I maybe wrong as I am from the UK, but doesn’t crossing state lines make kidnapping federal? Until you cross state lines it is not kidnaping, but crossing state lines makes it federal and federally it is not kidnapping.

          Also, who would it apply to only residents of the state? What about women who work in the state or are temporarily in the state and return to their home state for an abortion. Is the foetus considered to have the rights of a person if it is not conceived in that state?

          The lawyers could have a field day and huge payday arguing that one.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: "how's all that Freedom going?"

            Simply incorporate the fetus.

            Corporations are famously people

            Interstate commerce is the very definition of a federal responsibility

          2. Jedit Silver badge

            "doesn’t crossing state lines make kidnapping federal?"

            Yes, sorry, I brainfarted and typed the wrong word.

      3. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        @Red Or Zed

        "Break the law? A law that says a person may not travel ?"

        What law says that?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmm

          "What law says that?

          The ironically named Mann Act. Look it up.

          1. codejunky Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Hmm


            "The ironically named Mann Act. Look it up."

            Not much to say just a thumbs up

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm

      " Lets try this argument with guns "

      This comment did not age well.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        As long as none of the children were pregnant I can't see any problem. Thoughts and prayers will be supplied as usual.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmm

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Hmm

            Or more traditionally "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius."

  5. Juillen 1


    There's a very good reason that all clinical information is treated as highly confidential, and protected on pain of, well, real pain to any company that breaches it over here in the UK and Europe.

    This is a case of Law following established Clinical Ethics. Which is the right way to do it.

    I had a few chances of emigrating to the US, and a good part of the reason I didn't was its almost asinine insistence that Law trumps Ethics, Science, and a whole bunch of other things that it should really pay attention to (making it extremely deep into the territory of "A system of legalities, not a system for Justice").

    Not protecting people's data about clinical matters is entirely settled as to Ethics. It is definitively unethical to release that data. Words like "corrupt", "stupid" and so on may be debated philosophically until the cows come home (and to no real point), but anyone releasing this information is definitively ethically bankrupt, which is a sad indictment.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Ethics.

      But this isn't clinical data, that would be protected.

      This is merely metadata that person X visited an abortion clinic, totally non-medical data that your local vigilante can draw their own conclusions from.

      1. codejunky Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Ethics.

        @Yet Another Anonymous coward

        I think a couple of people missed your sarcasm. Done my bit to try and even it out

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Ethics.

          The point of el'reg is to post a sarcastic comment, that only gets down votes. Although if it's a story for the treasonous colonials it's a bit too easy.

  6. VoiceOfTruth


    -> People living in those states would, in theory, have to travel to another state where abortion is legal to carry out the procedure lawfully

    Do you mean women?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: People?

      Obvious troll, I see. Since you like asking questions, why don't you answer this one: why was "people" incorrect? Would there be members of the set of those traveling that don't fall into the set of people?

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: People?

        Why would 'women' be incorrect?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: People?

          Oh, I don't know. Because maybe, some men wouldn't just throw a few hundred $s at their girlfriend and tell them to go sort it out? And instead make a difficult decision/trip together? Who knows.

          Maybe these States will try and use the White Slavery (Mann Act) to deal with these people anyway.

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: People?


      "Do you mean women?"

      I have read that men can get pregnant and have periods now too. I was confused to find it outside the scifi section but some people do also seem to insist women have penises. Its a brave new world.

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