Just how creepy have Republicans become? Pretty creepy. Like spying through a peep hole creepy.
Republican Governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, is making sure he and law enforcement can get access to the menstrual data of girls and women, via a search warrant.
Why would they need a search warrant for a person’s private bodily functions, you might ask. That is a good question for which they have not provided an answer.
They get around this by claiming that search warrants can’t be limited, but in fact, every state has limits on search warrants, including Virginia.
Glenn Youngkin, whom you have been wrongly told over and over again is a “moderate,” used a procedural move to block an attempt to prohibit law enforcement from obtaining the menstrual histories of girls and women in that state.
Yes, he is the same man who ran for office on a straw man of protecting schoolgirls from trans students, but now he wants the right to know when 13-year-olds have their periods.
The Democratic-led state senate passed a bipartisan bill (supported by half of the Republicans) to ban search warrants for menstrual data stored on computers or other electronic devices and apps.
This seems pretty basic and easy to support, especially if one is hailing from the supposed “small government” side of the aisle, given that HIPAA privacy laws apparently do not apply to health information stored by the individual.
But no. Not-a-moderate Glenn Youngkin suddenly became opposed to it and killed the bill, using a procedural move via a subcommittee of the Republican-led House.
Maggie Cleary, Youngkin’s deputy secretary of public safety and homeland security, argued that menstrual data should be available to courts — in case it can be deemed relevant to potential criminal cases.
Cleary is reported by the Washington Post to have said, “This bill would be the very first of its kind that I’m aware of — in Virginia or anywhere — that would set a limit on what search warrants can do. … Currently any health information or any app information is available via search warrant. And we believe that should continue be the case.”
Yet, Virginia law “lays out specific procedures for when search warrants can be issued for lawyers’ offices and when tracking devices can be used, but doesn’t include exceptions for health-related information.”
Indeed, Virginia has a laws pertaining to search warrants. (Full list here.) They have a list of what may be searched and seized and a list of codes about collecting blood.
Clearly, Virginia has set parameters at the state level around search warrants. But all of this back and forth about search warrants is premised upon the notion that somehow menstrual data might be related to a criminal investigation.
Yet Republicans are saying they don’t intend to prosecute women for getting abortions, even as Youngkin seeks a 15-week-abortion ban based on an unverified-by-science claim about fetal pain.
Youngkin’s bill is worth another examination given Virginia Republicans’ alarming blockage of privacy for bodily functions, after all, it would be unwise to trust that people who dishonestly characterize support for their abortion ban and even base said ban on facts not in evidence are telling the truth now, about the reason they see menstrual data as relevant to criminal warrants.
Experts like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — who might be considered to be more knowledgeable than Youngkin, who is not – shockingly! – an OB/GYN, but instead spent 15 years at a private-equity firm and has a Harvard MBA, about this topic — say a fetus cannot feel pain until the third trimester, which begins at around 27 weeks.
Indeed, there is even a Republican who had to vote against Youngkin’s abortion law because she is… an expert.
“I wish I could vote for this bill,” said Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, a practicing OB-GYN who proposed an amendment to the administration bill that would have allowed exceptions up to 24 weeks for fetuses with severe abnormalities. “But without that exception, I’m going to have to vote” against it.
Although Republicans characterized Youngkin’s bill as a “consensus” position, the Republican OB-GYN called the Youngkin’s abortion bill “extreme.”
Dunnavant called that law “extreme,” arguing Virginia is out of step with laws across the U.S. and Europe as well as medical science on fetal age of viability.
Youngkin is said to be close friends with Republican Senator Ted Cruz. This seems potentially relevant to the “extreme” and out of step with the free world point made above. He was also endorsed by Trump, and yet was presented to the public as a “moderate.”
Youngkin also refused to say that Trump wouldn’t be reinstated after the 2020 election. Much like Trump, Youngkin, with an estimated net worth of $440 million, promised to release a summary of his tax returns before the election but did not actually do so until after the election, and even then, the summaries haven’t been verified (summaries are not actual returns, either).
Youngkin and his wife left an Episcopal Church because of its support for same sex marriage, and opened their own church.
The Republican is a culture war hero of sorts, and managed to successfully win an election in Virginia based on anti-trans and anti-CRT stories that didn’t always hold up under scrutiny, given that the schools did not actually teach CRT.
At any rate, the obviously-not-moderate Youngkin’s people are arguing that there can be no law to limit a search warrant. Here’s why that could be problematic: The fourth amendment “does not guarantee protection from all searches and seizures, but only those done by the government and deemed unreasonable under the law.”
So, if the “law” – which is made by those people called legislators who are pretending they can’t limit a search warrant – says it’s reasonable to collect menstruation data, then it is reasonable.
(This is how legal fascism works; it just keeps moving the goal post.)
Cornell Law notes that states can most definitely establish higher standards for search and seizure protection, “However, in some states, there are some exception to this limitation, where some state authorities have granted protection to open fields. States can always establish higher standards for searches and seizures protection than what is required by the Fourth Amendment, but states cannot allow conducts that violate the Fourth Amendment.”
State Senator Barbara Favola, the Democratic creator of the original bill to protect privacy of women, said, “I don’t think anybody has any business knowing that data other than the woman who is tracking it — period. That’s why I put my bill in. It should not be used to prosecute women. It should not be used for any reason. It should not be accessed.”
Republicans like Youngkin are framing the discussion as if it’s implied that a woman’s menstruation data can be criminal. Why else would it be required by law enforcement?
They simply have not provided a reasonable sounding excuse for needing access to private bodily function data.
The Republican obsession with women’s bodies is like constantly having that feeling that you’re being watched and you’re not safe. Not safe enough to even make a note on your personal device about your bodily functions, because Glenn Youngkin and his not-moderate creeps are coming for your privacy.