Feb 15, 2023 - Politics

Virginia Republicans reject menstrual app privacy bill

Illustration of a calendar with red circles.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

A push to shield menstrual app data from search warrants failed in the General Assembly this week after Gov. Youngkin's administration said it opposed the change.

Why it matters: As many as a third of women use apps to track their periods, data that abortion rights supporters fear could one day be used to enforce post-Roe abortion restrictions.

State of play: The Senate passed legislation preventing authorities from obtaining that information, which is currently not subject to any privacy protections, last week in a 31-7 bipartisan vote.

What they're saying: Before the bill was voted down by a GOP-controlled committee in the House on Monday, Youngkin's administration went on record for the first time opposing the measure, per the Virginia Mercury.

  • "Currently, any health information or any app information is available via search warrant. We believe that should continue to be the case," said Youngkin's Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Maggie Cleary.
  • "This would ultimately open the door to put further limits on search warrants down the road."

The other side: "This is intended to keep very personal health data personal,” said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Barbara Favola.

  • In a press release, Democrats blasted Youngkin's position on the legislation, calling it "exceptionally disquieting to see Governor Youngkin oppose a bill that would protect women from having their private health data weaponized against them in a court of law.”

Youngkin's press secretary, Macaulay Porter, accused Democrats of distorting the governor's position.

  • Youngkin has said he would oppose any abortion restrictions that could result in imprisoning women.
  • Republicans have instead proposed bills that impose penalties on medical professionals who perform abortions.

Zoom out: The Senate voted down Youngkin's proposed 15-week abortion ban last month.

  • GOP leaders in the House didn't even docket the bills, saying they saw no path forward for the legislation.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Richmond.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Richmond stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Richmond.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more