A LEAKED UNITED States Supreme Court draft opinion published by Politico on Monday and soon after authenticated by Chief Justice John Roberts is a blaring signal that the Court will overturn the 1973 reproductive rights case Roe v. Wade. Abortion access has already been dramatically curtailed in many states around the US, but a decision from the Court would turn back the clock nearly 50 years, reinstating historic abortion bans in some states and paving the way for newer “trigger laws” to take effect.
That seismic shift hasn’t come yet. The leaked draft opinion is just that—a draft—and it’s possible the justices will move in another direction. The Supreme Court is expected to issue its official decision in June. Currently, people around the country continue to seek legal, albeit often restricted, abortions. The leak raises important questions, though, about what criminalization of abortion might look like in different states, how far it might extend, and what people can do to protect themselves and minimize their digital footprint as they inevitably continue to seek the medical intervention.
A critical component of Roe v. Wade is its determination that the “right of privacy … is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether to terminate her pregnancy.” But comprehensive digital privacy is challenging to achieve in an age of widespread user-tracking, location-tracking, and corporate data retention.