Developers of apps that track user periods and fertility are working to anonymize user data in response to US supreme courts overturning of Roe vs Wade last month which struck down the constitutional right to an abortion. Millions of people use services like Flo, Clue and Apple’s Health app to help them become pregnant, avoid pregnancy or know when their next period is due.
The court’s decision has brought more tension to these services that hold sensitive data that could be used against people in states where abortion is criminalized and experts say deleting the app isn’t always enough to clean up digital user data.
There is also an increase in the sales of abortion pills through telemedicine companies in US. Hey Jane and Aid Access said they received around twofold to fivefold increase in enquiries and in some cases patient demands and requests following the Supreme Court ruling. The judgement triggered laws banning and severely restricting abortion access in at least 13 states in US. This has left people seek alternative routes for abortion care.
During the pandemic, US federal regulators had authorized telemedicine companies to post pills directly to women’s homes with no need to visit a doctor or pharmacist in person. Because of the increase in the use of abortion pills, there was an increase in conservative anti-abortion campaigns. Conservative lawmakers in some places banned such telemedicine companies for providing mail ordered abortion medications.
One telemedicine company, Aid Access said that they will continue to post abortion pills to women in states where abortion is banned. They said they will defy state’s laws and continue to do business. One of the makers of the abortion pills has said that it is suing the state of Mississippi over restrictions that were introduced in 2020 in accessing abortion medications even when US FDA rules ensure and approve access to such medications. Experts are expecting a huge legal fight over this issue in the months and probably years to come.