California Law Prohibits Cooperation with Out-of-State Entities Regarding Lawful Abortion
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.