Governor Newsom Signs Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan and Attorney General Bonta’s Groundbreaking Legislation Protecting Digital Information on Abortion
Amendments to AB 1242 protect digital information stored by California companies
SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan’s bill AB 1242, sponsored by Attorney General Rob Bonta, has been signed by Governor Gavin Newsom and will go into effect immediately. The law forges a legal path to protect reproductive digital information handled by companies incorporated or headquartered in California. The bill also prevents the arrest of individuals or the disclosure by law enforcement of information in an investigation related to any abortion already legal in California. Together, these provisions ensure that California courts and California laws cannot be used to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of abortion-related actions that are legal under California law.
"California is leading the nation when it comes to protecting reproductive rights – I’m grateful that Governor Newsom continued to advance this mission by signing AB 1242 into law today," said Attorney General Bonta. "This first-in-the-nation law helps shield those seeking or providing reproductive healthcare against wrongful prosecution and ensures that California laws and California courts are not used to facilitate investigation or prosecution of abortion-related actions that are legal in our state. I’m proud to have sponsored this important legislation by Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan, and I will continue to use every tool in the toolbox to protect reproductive rights.”
“California is setting a national privacy standard,” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. “As pro-choice states, we must be just as proactive in protecting abortion rights as extremist states have been in destroying them.”
AB 1242 prohibits the arrest of anyone for aiding or performing a lawful abortion in California and prohibits California law enforcement from sharing information or assisting in an investigation related to a lawful abortion with out-of-state agencies. Additionally, the bill requires out-of-state law enforcement agencies seeking data or records from corporations in California using our warrant streamlining law to provide an attestation that the investigation does not involve any crime related to an abortion that is lawful under California law. In sum, these provisions ensure that California courts and California laws are not used to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of abortion-related actions that are legal under California law.
AB 1242 takes an innovative legal approach to protect user data. The law blocks out-of-state law enforcement officers from using our laws to execute search warrants on California corporations in furtherance of enforcing or investigating an anti-abortion crime. For example, if another state wants to track the movement of a woman traveling to California seeking reproductive health care, the state would be blocked from accessing cell phone site tower location data of the woman by serving a warrant to the tech company in California. In addition, if another state wants Google search history from a particular IP address, it could not serve an out-of-state search warrant at Google headquarters in California without an attestation that the evidence is not related to investigation into abortion services.
The bill was joint-authored by Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) and Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), and co-authored by Assemblymembers Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Boerner-Horvath, (D-Oceanside), Calderon (D-Whittier), Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), Cervantes (D-Corona), Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), Holden (D-Claremont), Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), Friedman (D-Glendale), Haney (D-San Francisco), Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), Rubio (D-West Covina), Petrie-Norris (D-Newport Beach), Weber (D-San Diego), Wicks (D-Berkeley) and Wilson (D-Fairfield), Senators Wiener (D-San Francisco), Caballero (D-Merced), Skinner (D-Oakland), and Pro Tem Atkins (D-San Diego).