Several House progressives on Wednesday urged delivery companies FedEx, UPS and DHL to protect the private data of customers amid concerns that lawmakers in anti-abortion states will seek to access information about women who purchase abortion medication.
The letters sent to all three companies on Wednesday called for a closed briefing with executives to gain a clearer understanding of how they plan to protect consumer’s private data after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 precedent Roe V. Wade, clearing the way for states to restrict or criminalize the procedure.
The Democrats also urged the businesses to ensure their customers’ constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure, reminding them that abortion medication is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved.
Nineteen states have banned telemedicine appointments in which doctors can prescribe the abortion medications mifepristone and misoprostol, which can be used in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
Democratic Reps. Katie Porter (Calif.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Dean Phillips (Minn.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (Ill.) signed the letters sent to senior leaders of the mail delivery companies.
In a statement, Porter said “extremists have indicated they’ll use every trick in the book to prevent Americans from obtaining abortions, including through legal home delivery.”
“My colleagues and I want to know how carriers intend to respect the freedom of Americans who seek legal, safe, effective, FDA-approved medication through the mail,” she said.
The Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe V. Wade has left Democrats scrambling to protect access to abortion. Democrats have been unable to codify abortion rights in federal legislation due to GOP opposition in the Senate, and have urged voters to elect more pro-choice candidates to change the congressional math.
President Biden earlier this month signed an executive order instructing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to protect and expand access to abortion medication by the mail.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has also said the Department of Justice (DOJ) will fight to ensure women have access to the federally approved abortion medications.
Last week, HHS said pharmacists cannot deny patients abortion medications they were legally prescribed.
Abortion medications mifepristone and misoprostol can be prescribed online and shipped through the mail, meaning carrier services like FedEX, UPS, DHL and the U.S. Postal Service play an important role in delivering the pills.
However, many GOP-led have imposed severe criminal penalties for doctors who perform the procedure, with officials pledging to ban abortion medication ordered online as well.
Bush said she wanted to ensure women can “continue to access critical, lifesaving medication without fear of being investigated and criminalized” amid “far-right extremist, harmful abortion bans.”
“Congress has a responsibility to do everything we can to safeguard people’s privacy and protect access to abortion care,” she said in a statement.