In response to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed AB 1242 into law, which “prohibits law enforcement and California corporations from cooperating with out-of-state entities regarding a lawful abortion in California.”
In particular, AB 1242 prohibits California companies that provide electronic communication services from complying with out-of-state requests from law enforcement regarding an investigation into, or enforcement of, laws restricting abortion.
Sponsored by California Assembly member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan and California Attorney General Rob Bonta, AB 1242:
takes an innovative legal approach to protect user data. The bill prohibits California law enforcement agencies from assisting or cooperating with the investigation or enforcement of a violation related to abortion that is lawful in California. This law thereby blocks out-of-state law enforcement officers from executing search warrants on California corporations in furtherance of enforcing or investigating an anti-abortion crime. For example, if another state wants to track the movement of a woman traveling to California seeking reproductive health care, the state would be blocked from accessing cell phone site tower location data of the woman by serving a warrant to the tech company in California. In addition, if another state wants Google search history from a particular IP address, it could not serve an out-of-state search warrant at Google headquarters in CA without an attestation that the evidence is not related to investigation into abortion services. Although the first state to enact such a law, as California often is when it comes to privacy rights, we anticipate that other states will follow suit and that these laws will be hotly contested in litigation.