The digital revolution Legal abortion was the default when the age came. As a result, Silicon Valley companies have never had to seriously fight the criminalization of abortion access in the United States. But technology companies are at the center of the storm over abortion access and reproductive rights. Overnight abortion criminalization in 23 states, as now expected, will have to deal with issues starting with their services that could lead to criminal liability for assisting employees in accessing abortions demanding users relocate to another state.
The day the tech companies wake up Dobbs vs. Jackson Opinions are issued for the huge challenge of moderating their products and services while competing with the demands of the people, employees and legislators. Deadly threat Rowe Many in corporate America have not taken it seriously, and that indifference will now return to haunt them in the hellish form of legal and policy challenges they have faced before. They are not ready, but there is time to prepare.
The most immediate problem that technology companies will face is how they respond to decisions internally. These companies have largely become synonymous with a young and generous workforce, especially located in Silicon Valley. However, these trends began to change during the epidemic as technology companies like Oracle, HP and Tesla moved to Texas, a state that has already effectively banned most abortions via SB8. If the draft opinion is formally issued, companies will suddenly be forced to take a stand to protect their employees’ right to access abortion and show support for the majority of supporters. Rowe. At the same time, Republican legislators will have to navigate a minefield for political retaliation against any company that challenges them in their conservative social policy. Amazon, Citi, and Yelp have already had to address the issue by giving their employees coverage to leave the state for abortions, a move that has already threatened Citi with retaliation by House Republicans.
Outside of domestic policy, the services that these companies provide will be verified by highly enthusiastic legislators and anti-abortion workers. Apps and app stores could be targeted for control by states that aggressively seek to limit residents’ access to abortions. Many sexual health apps now offer secure and encrypted services along with direct instructions on how to self-manage abortions. Although the CDA will vaccinate companies under Section 230 against most liabilities, it will not stop states’ efforts to repeal that immunity. First Amendment protection for these apps will not suffice if states seek revenge against opponents of socially conservative policies, as Florida did with Disney.
But it’s not just apps and services that are at risk – it’s their users. Companies that trade in personal, geolocation, advertising or other data can become a digital crime scene for interested prosecutors equipped with subpoena. For example, payment apps can present a legal risk to anyone who uses them to fund abortion funds. A concerted effort has already been made to channel more money to the fund as a result of the draft leak. Although these donations are now legal, in some states they may become illegal if the leaked draft remains the same after full comment. In some key metrics, with the only exception to Apple Pay, large payment apps such as Venmo, PayPal, Cash App, Facebook Pay, Jelly, and Google Pay offer no significant protection for users. They all lack encryption, and companies follow legal procedures that can reveal users’ privacy. Third-party doctrine prevents users from asserting their Fourth Amendment rights.
Crowdfunding platforms, which typically see higher usage in response to big news, are particularly vulnerable. In a country where abortion is criminalized, sites like GoFundMe need to determine how to raise funds to protect abortion access. While GoFundMe may not face direct legal consequences due to Section 230, it will likely come under pressure to abolish abortion access fundraisers. In addition, law enforcement may use data collected by GoFundMe to target abortion service financiers.