The Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, a near 50-year precedence protecting the right to abortion, was announced on Friday. Although a leaked draft opinion in May rendered this decision an expected one, it was less expected when everyone began talking about period tracking phone apps.
Period tracking apps, according to a 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation survey, have been used at some point by nearly a third of Americans who identify as women. They can be extremely useful for recording patterns in a menstrual cycle in order to plan for pregnancy, preventing pregnancy and also for detecting it early on.
However, when last week’s decision came, medical providers and people with uteruses all across the country scrambled to understand the nuances of proposed state laws ― and what exactly they could be criminalized for and how. Privacy advocates warned that the sensitive data collected on these apps could potentially provide prosecutors with digital evidence of abortion, if subpoenaed in court.
In fact, according to Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, a nonprofit legal services provider: “Even with reproductive rights protected as a matter of Constitutional law, American police and prosecutors already deploy digital surveillance techniques to track and prosecute pregnant people.”
If you want to stick with an app, you’re possibly safer having one that doesn’t use a server or third party tracking (read our full story here). But if you want to forgo technology altogether, you can always turn to good old-fashioned pen and paper.
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