Slatter introduces bill to protect reproductive health data

OLYMPIA – Rep. Vandana Slatter, D-Bellevue, has introduced the My Health, My Data Act to strengthen the privacy of health data. The protections established under House Bill 1155 include reproductive health data in response to the Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court Decision. 

 “The right to health data privacy has always been important but recent attacks on bodily autonomy and reproductive health care have shown us how urgent the need is for protecting health data,” said Slatter. “As a clinical pharmacist, I had the honor of testifying on the importance of comprehensive reproductive care. As a legislator, I am honored to sponsor the My Health, My Data Act in the House to protect health data and privacy in Washington state. 

The My Health, My Data Act would block websites and apps from collecting and sharing health data. This is a concern for people who use search engines or health-tracking apps. House Bill 1155 would also prohibit the sale of Washingtonian’s health data, the use of “geofences” to send unsolicited messages to persons at health facilities and would require companies that collect personal health data to create, maintain and publish a privacy policy for consumer health data. 

“With the significant growth in the use of tracking apps, online chats, social media and search engines for accessing health care information, advice and research, these protections for sensitive health data are long overdue,” said Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, the chair of the Senate Law & Justice Committee and sponsor of the Senate’s companion bill. “And with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn 50 years of precedent and put reproductive freedom in danger, it’s all the more urgent that we take action.” 

Recently, states like Mississippi and Texas have passed restrictive reproductive health care laws. The Dobbs decision ruled that these laws are constitutional. There has been much concern from consumer, privacy, and reproductive health care advocates about the ramifications the decision might have on the use of health data from apps and websites. 

The 105-day legislative session started on January 9th. The My Health, My Data Act will now be scheduled for a committee hearing in the House Civil Rights and Judiciary committee.