In the Sept. 19 letter signed by six Democrats and sent to Ohio-based Heartbeat International, the senators insinuate the group’s crisis pregnancy centers can use the medical history of past clients to target those women in states that have passed restrictive abortion laws in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s abortion ruling in June.
In the case of Heart International, the letter conflates the group’s vision to “make abortion unwanted” with Heartbeat’s software program, called Next Level Center Management Solution, that is sold to pregnancy centers to collect patient information.
“While your organization and many of its affiliate CPCs claim to adhere to HIPAA to protect patients’ health information,” the letter states, “it does not disclose how it is using the data it collects, whether it is keeping personal information secure, and whether it intends to do so in the future.”
Responding to the letter, Heartbeat spokeswoman Andrea Trudden tells AFN the letter is full of “hypothetical scenarios” to make women fear seeking help from a crisis pregnancy center.
The letter’s allegation about misusing patient information was made “without an ounce of truth behind it,” Trudden insists, which is not unusual coming from Sen. Warren, she adds.
Among abortion-supporting politicians, Sen. Warren has appeared to be among the most rabidly angry after the high court struck down Roe v. Wade. AFN reported in an August story the Massachusetts senator claimed Boston-area pregnancy centers deceive women about their pro-life views and the services they provide. A review of those pregnancy center websites by AFN, however, showed they openly state they oppose abortion and also describe the services they do provide, such as pregnancy testing and ultrasounds.
The accusatory letter to Heartbeat International comes after the pro-life community witnessed jaw-dropping tactics from abortions supporters over the summer after a draft ruling was leaked in early May. Abortion-rights protesters are marching in front of the homes of associate justices, even though a federal law prohibits that sort of intimidation, and the firebombing and vandalizing of pregnancy centers and churches have climbed to nearly 100.
The pro-life pregnancy centers seemingly became a target overnight, too, even though many operate on shoestring budgets, with volunteer staff and frequent pleas for donations, compared to the wealthy Planned Parenthood clinics they compete against. From the Sept. 19 letter, it appears Heartbeat International caught the attention of abortion supporters because of its Next Level software since the letter makes numerous demands about what information is collected and how it’s used.
In a related story at The Daily Signal, attorney Anne O’Connor of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates said pregnancy centers follow the federal HIPPA law, adhere to state privacy laws, and follow the standards of the medical profession.
“Privacy and security of medical records is standard in the health industry, and life-affirming pregnancy centers are no different,” O’Connor, an expert on HIPAA laws, told the Daily Signal. “Interestingly, Warren has not cited one incident supporting her outrageous claim that centers don’t protect their patients’ privacy.”
That lack of evidence, O’Connor went on to say, is “proof that [Warren] is fabricating this false idea to promote her radical pro-abortion agenda.”
Trudden likewise calls the letter’s accusations a pre-election P.R. stunt. She is still waiting, she adds, for Sen. Warren and other abortion supporters to condemn the firebombing of the pregnancy centers they are targeting.