I'm sorry about the delay in sending this issue. I was preoccupied after the SCOTUS decision last Friday.

Last week, Toronto hosted Collision, North America's fastest-growing tech conference of innovators and thinkers. Top of mind was the pending reversal of Roe v Wade, addressed by guest, Margaret Atwood, who talked about women's rights, and social and environmental justice.

Then on June 24th, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, which exploded on social media with Americans and people from around the world expressing strong views. Popular American Twitch streamers shared their thoughts on Twitter. Top of mind for marchers at Toronto Pride was the erosion of abortion rights in the US as marchers chanted, “Abort the Supreme Court”. The fear is that LGBTQ rights are under threat.

What struck me was a New Yorker article published on the weekend titled, "We’re Not Going Back to the Time Before Roe. We’re Going Somewhere Worse." The article shows that while easy to outsmart surveillance then, it is very hard today:

We have entered an era not of unsafe abortion but of widespread state surveillance and criminalization—of pregnant women, certainly, but also of doctors and pharmacists and clinic staffers and volunteers and friends and family members, of anyone who comes into meaningful contact with a pregnancy that does not end in a healthy birth. Those who argue that this decision won’t actually change things much—an instinct you’ll find on both sides of the political divide—are blind to the ways in which state-level anti-abortion crusades have already turned pregnancy into punishment, and the ways in which the situation is poised to become much worse.

Surveillance and criminal charges already happen in some states like Missouri and Texas. Expect the remaining anti-abortion states to follow soon. You may not be aware that your mobile phone tracks a huge amount of data like your browsing information, Google searches, location data, social media activity, and payment history. If reproductive healthcare is criminalized, expect the courts to issue a warrant for your phone, which has all your personal information. Law enforcement, even without a warrant can buy your data from private companies called data brokers. Data brokers quietly buy and sell your personal information every day. The fact is that data brokers already sell location data of people who visit abortion clinics in the US.

Even more alarming is that some states like Missouri are considering laws that make it illegal to "aid or abet" abortions by crossing state lines to bypass restrictions. Marginalized Black, Latino, Native Indian and immigrant communities who already face discrimination often need much more assistance and are likely to be targeted. For example, law enforcement may pursue supporters for mailing medication across state lines or for helping someone search where to get an abortion.

Content creators know each other across the US and Canada. What will happen to those creators who support a pregnant women from anti-abortion states who want an abortion? Because things are so unclear, abortion rights groups are advising anyone who calls their helplines to use secure browsers, email, and encrypted services like Tor private browsers, messaging and email services like Signal, and Proton Mail when researching self-managed abortions. It's both difficult and expensive to securely use the internet and communication tools to avoid surveillance and detection all the time.

The overturning of Roe v Wade means that women will seek help and find ways to get abortions including traveling to Canada and Mexico. It's unclear if other anti-abortion states will enforce the ban as aggressively as Texas, which intends on prosecuting doctors and surveillance of women.

Have an awesome week!

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Publisher and Founder, Spinning Forward

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The original US constitution did not include votes for women. So if you’re an originalist, and you’re a female Republican voter, I’d think twice about that.

Margaret Atwood on Roe v Wade being overturned