Women fear abortion control through data from menstrual apps

The US Supreme Court overturned the 1973 “Roe vs. Wade” verdict, and that is already having consequences: abortion bans have already come into force in nine states, and in six other states the criminalization of abortion is expected within the next month. Eventually, American women’s sovereignty over their own bodies is expected to end in just over half of the 50 states.

Read more after the ad

Read more after the ad

The decision has what it takes to trigger a witch hunt

Procedures planned in US clinics are already being canceled. Physicians and medical staff who help women in need face significant prison sentences. According to human rights activists, the decision of the Supreme Court has what it takes to trigger a witch hunt like back in the McCarthy era – from 1947 to 1956 there was a persecution of real and alleged communists in the USA.

Read more after the ad

Read more after the ad

“Period Tracker”: Modern, elegant – and help for abortion opponents

So-called “period tracker apps” could also contribute to this hunt. So far, the biggest concerns of users of such digital menstrual calendars have been that the data stored there could be forwarded to companies that then churn out advertising in abundance. Now there is concern that the information could also be requested by law enforcement authorities and provided by the companies. Whereupon the prosecutors could possibly initiate investigations on suspicion of abortion.

Digital cycle control has been considered better than the old paper-calendar-meets-pencil method for the past few years. The data and symptoms can be tracked and evaluated more easily and clearly. The women’s magazine “Women’s Health”, for example, recommended several of the apps to its readers last summer. The digital periodic calendar can be conveniently followed with a smartphone. Fertile days can be calculated from the individually entered data – you now have it digitally when you can work towards or prevent a pregnancy.

In the list of the most appealing apps, the British “Flo Ovulation & Period Tracker” (from Flo Health UK Limited) took the top spot in terms of convenience and frequency of use, with the Berlin app “Clue” taking second place. According to their own statements, both together have 55 million users in the USA. The market leader in the Apple Store in the USA is the astrology-linked menstrual app Saturn.

Fear, Sarcasm and Resistance on Social Media

“Are you women in America – then delete your period tracker,” now recommends a user on Twitter. A 20-year-old Cat notes, “I shouldn’t have to live in a world where I’m like, ‘I’m glad I never used a menstrual tracker because now I don’t have to worry about getting arrested, because I don’t use one anymore.” Musician Terra Kestrel is combative: “I’m thinking about getting a period tracker just to fake a bunch of abortions.”

Read more after the ad

Read more after the ad

The fear behind it: Anyone who has the data from the app can understand when a woman could have been pregnant. And when not anymore.

Theologian Natalya A. Cherry refers to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, which portrays an American theocracy in which women are oppressed as servants and bearers: “Friends, Margaret Atwood said in September three years ago that we don’t live in Gilead yet. But I think we’re close now.” National Public Radio (NPR) issued a warning about “period tracker” apps. Recommendation: Delete!

The providers of the apps promise anonymity

The providers now assure that they will do everything that takes away fears and dispels concerns. “You deserve the right to protect your data,” is a slogan that Flo reported to his customers last Saturday. An anonymization mode will “soon” be provided “so that nobody can identify you”. In addition, the promise: “We will not sell your personal data.” Rather, they stand up for women’s health, and – so that it is also clear what Flo means by that: “The possibility of a safe abortion is an important part of health care .”

Stardust founder Rachel Moranis announced end-to-end encryption for all users on her app’s TikTok page on the same day. And stated that this means “in the event of a government subpoena, we will not be able to release your period tracking data at all.” Clue tweeted a similar message on Sunday: “The data you collect should inform your private health decisions,” the company said. “We will never allow anyone to use them against you. #RoevWade”.

Everyone can imagine state surveillance

So far, such a case is not known. What is scary, however, is that not only the citizens outraged by the state, but also the app providers, can imagine such controls in America. Eva Blum-Dumontet, a researcher in the field of surveillance technology, told the news portal Business Insider that while it is “unlikely” that women’s cycle data will be passed on to government agencies, it is not unimaginable. It is wrong to live with a feeling of security in this regard.

Read more after the ad

Read more after the ad

Just the beginning: Judge Thomas also wants to review other judgments

The Supreme Court’s verdict could be one of several that makes life in America harder. In his commentary on the judgement, Judge Clarence Thomas calls for further basic rights to be “examined” soon, which he considers inadmissible. Like the right to access contraception, the right to homosexual relationships and the right to marry for all.

Thomas did not mention the ruling that allowed people of different skin colors to marry (Loving vs. Virginia, 1967), which some Republicans would also like to see examined. The African American is himself married to a white woman.

The Democrats want to reintroduce abortion rights

“Congress must act,” said US President Joe Biden, who called the ending of Roe vs Wade a “tragic mistake by the Supreme Court” and the “realization of an extreme ideology.” The Democrats now want to reintroduce abortion rights. Somehow and absolutely. But they are unlikely to succeed with presidential decrees alone. And in the Senate, the 48 Democrats (and two independents) sit opposite 50 Republicans.

Read more after the ad

Read more after the ad

Download our new RND app for Android and iOS here free of charge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Never miss any important news. Subscribe to our newsletter.