U.S. Sen. Hirono pushes to prevent federal assistance for abortion surveillance
U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) led 30 of her colleagues in pushing to prevent local and state law enforcement from using federal assistance to surveil or investigate individuals receiving or providing abortion care.
In a letter to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the lawmakers urged the Administration to uphold its commitment to reproductive rights and take all necessary steps to ensure federal resources, including those administered through the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security, cannot be weaponized for abortion surveillance and enforcement of abortion bans.
The letter also was also led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA).
“As members of Congress committed to protecting reproductive health privacy, we are concerned about reports that state and local law enforcement could use existing forms of federal assistance to surveil people who seek or assist in abortion care,” the lawmakers wrote. “To ensure federal resources help rather than hinder access to reproductive care, we ask that the Administration take steps to prevent the use of federal assistance for state and local abortion surveillance.”
The letter also said: “It is imperative that federal resources safeguard access to reproductive health care, including abortion care. As part of the Administration’s efforts to protect access to abortion and other reproductive health care, we ask that you take all necessary steps to ensure federal resources in no way aid or supplement criminal investigations of reproductive health decisions.”
In addition to Senators Hirono and Wyden and Representative Jacobs, the letter was signed by senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), as well as representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Katie Porter (D-CA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Nikema Williams (D-GA), Mark Takano (D-CA), Sean Casten (D-IL), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), William Keating (D-MA), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Jason Crow (D-CO), Joseph Morelle (D-NY), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), David Trone (D-MD) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD).
The full text of the letter is available here.