Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan Has Shown Once Again That She Is A Strong Advocate For Women

By Natalie Mutz
Advocacy Committee Co-Chair for Santa Barbara Women Lawyers

Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan has shown once again that she is a strong advocate for women by introducing two Assembly Bills aimed at protecting women’s health care rights.

AB-254, Confidentiality of Medical Information Act: Reproductive or Sexual Health Application Information, “…ensures the privacy and security of individuals’ information when they opt to use apps and websites that provide reproductive and sexual health services.”

“Digital information about menstruation, gender-affirming healthcare, and pregnancy must be treated as confidential health information,” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan.  “We will not passively watch as healthcare becomes criminalized; we arecommitted to protecting the privacy and security of every individual.”

Currently, sensitive information collected by menstrual tracking apps and other digital services is unprotected, leaving users vulnerable to criminalization and targeted advertising based on their reproductive health choices. Some states have already begun to criminalize abortion and gender-affirming healthcare, putting millions of individuals at risk of prosecution. In addition to the legal risks, the unchecked dissemination of sensitive health information can result in users being subjected to unwelcome ads, which can stigmatize and prevent people from seeking needed healthcare.

According to Bauer-Kahn’s office, AB 254 extends the privacy safeguards of the CA Confidential Medical Information Act (CMIA) to digital platforms that provide sexual and reproductive healthcare services, creating a critical layer of security around this sensitive information and helping to prevent such data from being stigmatized and exploited by vigilantes and predatory advertisements.

AB 315, False Advertising: Abortion, “will protect people seeking abortion services from ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centers’ who mislead them with deceptive advertising.”

The bill would restrict misleading advertising by so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” that falsely promote comprehensive pregnancy options – including abortion services—but whose true goal is to pressure and coerce would-be abortion seekers with misleading information, depriving them of informed choice.

“California cannot let predatory crisis pregnancy centers continue to lie to pregnant people about abortion care,” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. “With the increase in abortion seekers coming from other states, it is even more critical to end this dangerous deception.”

AB 315 will clarify existing law so that those marketing themselves as reproductive healthcare providers cannot mislead patients about whether they provide abortion services.

According to a press-release from Assemblymember Bauer-Kahn’s office, “Crisis pregnancy centers take on the appearance of health care centers and medical clinics but do not offer the same range of services or meet the same standards and practices, including not following HIPAA or what kind of licensed staff they have on site. They use extensive, strategically placed advertising targeting abortion-seekers to lure them in. Many centers offer ultrasounds and pregnancy tests to appear legitimate. Once inside, women who are there for abortion care receive an onslaught of misinformation about abortion risks and sexual health. The results of these tests can be misrepresented and used to coerce abortion-seekers into continuing their pregnancy.”

If these two important bills are passed into law, California will continue to lead the way in reproductive healthcare by protecting abortion seekers from deceptive advertising and coercion.