Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin is taking aim at abortions. Youngkin blocked a bill that was passed in the state senate that banned search warrants for menstrual data stored in tracking apps on mobile phones and other devices.
The new bill was supported by half of the chamber’s Republicans as well as the Democrats, who lead the Virginia state senate.
The measure would have stopped law enforcement from obtaining the menstrual histories of women in the state. But Youngkin essentially killed the bill through a procedural move in a subcommittee of the Republican-controlled House.
Advocates and experts now feared private health information could be used in prosecutions for abortion law violations.
Youngkin has also pushed for a 15-week abortion ban to mirror similar measures in other Republican-controlled states.
It all comes after the supreme court ruling last summer that overturned the federal constitutional right to an abortion and protections for the procedure.
Youngkin’s deputy secretary of public safety Maggie Cleary cited unspecified future threats to the ability of law enforcement to investigate crime.
Cleary told the courts of justice subcommittee it was not the legislature’s responsibility to restrict the scope of search warrants.
Abortion rights advocates contend that with Youngkin’s efforts to push a 15-week abortion ban, with limited exceptions, failing to advance in the either legislative chamber, the governor is looking for other avenues.
Experts say that Youngkin’s opposition to a commonsense privacy protection measure shows his real intentions, which is to ban abortion and criminalize patients and doctors.
Under current Virginia law, the procedure is legal for all women until the 27th week of pregnancy.
The wrangle over menstrual data tracking has parallels with controversy in Florida, in which high school athletics officials last week backed away from a “humiliating” proposal requiring girls who wanted to play sports to answer questions about menstruation on medical forms.