Democratic senators who say they are concerned about the privacy of people who visit crisis pregnancy centers are engaging in a “stunt designed to appease Big Abortion power brokers,” according to a major pro-life pregnancy help organization.
Jor-El Godsey, president of Heartbeat International, said in a statement that senators, led by Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who signed on to a letter questioning the organization’s privacy practices aren’t concerned about health care or the safety of women.
“We all know what this is. This is naked politics intended not to help women but to influence elections,” Godsey said. ” Rather than finding ways to help women be able to choose something besides abortion, they have used their political powers to bully those who are helping women make life-affirming choices.”
On Monday, seven senators sent a letter to Godsey, accusing crisis preganancy centers of lying to women about how secure their personal information is and suggesting Heartbeat International might share information with “abortion bounty hunters.”
“After luring pregnant people – many in desperate situations – to affiliate CPC facilities by using a variety of false and misleading tactics, Heartbeat International then collects a significant amount of their personal health care information, which in many cases does not appear to be protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA),” the senators wrote. “We fear that … this information may be used to put women’s health and freedom to choose in jeopardy, and to put them and their health care providers at risk of criminal penalties.”
Crisis pregnancy centers “are not legitimate medical providers, [and] are not subject to federal health data privacy laws like HIPAA,” the senators’ letter continued.
Besides frustration with the sudden interest in Heartbeat International’s privacy policies, Godsey criticized the senators for a failure to condemn violent protests that targeted crisis pregnancy centers over the summer.
“It is important to note that not one of the Senators listed in the letter condemned actual violence and vandalism against pregnancy help centers this summer. Instead, they’ve spent their time fabricating a narrative on unfounded speculation.”
The timing of the senators’ letter didn’t sit well with Godsey, who also defended the decades’ of work Heartbeat International has done.
“What we do is safe, secure, and legal. Heartbeat has been providing help for more than fifty years and never once did we receive any of these questions or concerns until recently, and then from those with a clear abortion agenda,” he said. “It’s politics, and we regret only that it’s a distraction to our important work of helping women find alternatives to abortion.”