A growing number of states have prohibited transgender youths from obtaining gender-affirming health care. So these youths and their families must travel out-of-state for necessary health care. The states they visit are health care sanctuaries.
These states must also be data sanctuaries for transgender youths.
Earlier this year, the governor of Texas ordered state child welfare officials to launch child abuse investigations against parents whose transgender children received gender-affirming health care. We can expect such state officials to investigate parents who travel with their children out-of-state to receive this care. Those officials will seek evidence from the places where the care occurred.
To address this problem, California State Sen. Scott Wiener authored S.B. 107. EFF is proud to support this bill. In three ways, it would protect families coming to California for gender-affirming care for transgender youths, by limiting disclosure of their personal data to out-of-state entities seeking to punish this care.
First, California’s state and local police could not provide, to any individual or out-of-state agency, information regarding provision of such care in California.
Second, California’s health care providers could not release medical information about a person allowing a child to receive such care, in response to an out-of-state civil or criminal action against allowing such care.
Third, California’s superior court clerks could not issue civil subpoenas based on out-of-state laws against a person allowing a child to receive such care.
Data sanctuary is an important way for states to welcome all people. To be the safest place, a state must protect the data privacy of residents and visitors who are unfairly targeted by out-of-state entities.
For example, state and local police should not disclose personal data about immigrants to ICE. For this reason, among others, California law bars government agencies from disclosing their ALPR location data to federal and out-of-state officials. Likewise, pro-choice states should not send personal data to anti-choice states about people who visit to receive reproductive health care. Another California bill, S.B. 2091, would provide data sanctuary to these visitors. EFF supports this bill, too.