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US President Joe Biden will sign an executive order Friday that aims to protect the privacy of women seeking to end a pregnancy after the Supreme Court ruling that overturned the federal right to abortion.
Biden has come under pressure from his own Democratic party for his perceived inaction since the landmark ruling late last month.
Biden will sign an order that seeks to “protect patient privacy, including by addressing the transfer and sales of sensitive health-related data (and) combatting digital surveillance related to reproductive health care services,” the White House said.
Biden’s hands are largely tied on the hot button issue, as some conservative-run states have already banned or severely restricted abortion after the Supreme Court overturned the nationwide right to abortion set out 50 years ago in the Roe v Wade ruling.
Biden’s order, which will have a limited impact, also seeks to protect mobile clinics deployed to the borders of states have banned abortion, guarantee access to contraception and abortion medication and setting up a network of volunteer lawyers, the White House said.
Last week, Google announced it would delete users’ location history when they visit abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters and other places where privacy is sought.
“If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit,” Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post. “This change will take effect in the coming weeks.”
Other places from which Google will not store location data include fertility centres, addiction treatment facilities, and weight loss clinics.
Activists and politicians have been calling on Google and other tech giants to limit the amount of information they collect to avoid it being used by law enforcement for abortion investigations and prosecutions.