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Why People Are Deleting Their Period-Tracking Apps Out Of Fear After Roe V. Wade Overturn

Photo: Trismegist San / Shutterstock
Period-tracker

In the weeks since a draft of the Supreme Court’s decision on the right to abortion was leaked, the slogan “We Won’t Go Back” has become a call to action for those seeking to protect Roe V. Wade.

But now that a 6-3 decision has surrendered abortion rights in the U.S, going back to a time before the procedure was safely accessible is the least of our worries.

We now live in a time where widespread state surveillance through the data collected by our electronic devices will make us even more vulnerable in states that decide to investigate abortions as a crime.

RELATED: What Actually Happens When Abortion Is Banned — And Why Being Pregnant Is Now More Dangerous Than Ever

Concerns are already being raised about our right to privacy after the controversial decision.

Period tracking apps and our data privacy could be in danger with the death of Roe V. Wade.

Search histories, browsing histories, text messages, location data, payment data, and information from period-tracking apps could now all be used by prosecutors if it is suspected that someone deliberately ended their pregnancy.

Period-tracking apps have, for the last number of years, been one of the tech industry’s more empowering inventions.

They have been known to improve knowledge of cycles, fertility tracking and allowed us to take ownership of our menstruation.

Now, they pose new risks.

These apps are tracking and storing our data, they are documenting if pregnancy may have begun and they are documenting when one ends.

Though several period-tracking apps have already stated that they will not sell users’ data, it’s hard to envision these companies standing up to pressure from governments not to mention how they will protect us if they are subpoenaed as part of a criminal abortion investigation.

RELATED: What It’s Like To Have A Miscarriage In A State Where Abortions Are Effectively Banned

This is, after all, the new world we are facing.

Period-tracking apps are also exempt from the federal health information privacy laws that govern healthcare providers. 

Across social media, women are already issuing warnings to others to delete their apps, avoid communicating about pregnancies via their phones and keep their internet browsing clear of anything potentially incriminating.

We are being forced to deny ourselves information about our own bodies for fear of getting prosecuted.

That being said, these apps are not inherently bad. Some are created by inspiring women in FemTech who have, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision, restated their desire to continue to protect reproductive rights.

But there are some things to know before using a period-tracking app.

Read privacy policies extremely carefully. Apps must explain their policies around selling your data. Pay close attention to any updates on these privacy policies as you continue to use the app.

You may want to also sign up using an anonymous email and opt for apps that store all of your data on your device rather than in the cloud. 

Proceed carefully and continue to do what you can to protect your information now that our privacy is more vulnerable than ever.

RELATED: Here Are The States That Will Protect Abortion Rights Now That Roe V. Wade Has Been Overturned

Alice Kelly is YourTango’s Deputy News and Entertainment Editor. Based in Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.

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