Any new abortion ban will require dystopian new surveillance schemes

With laws banning abortion set to take effect in up to 22 states, we’re investigating the draconian means by which they’ll be enforced.




The last time abortion was illegal in large swaths of America, there were no cellphones, no internet, and no at-home abortion pills.

Today, right-wing state governments won’t stop at closing down clinics within their borders. Any meaningful attempt to enforce an abortion ban will inevitably involve dystopian new surveillance schemes.

Already, the National Right to Life Committee has proposed model legislation that would criminalize “giving instructions over the telephone, the internet, or any other medium of communication regarding self-administered abortions.”

With laws banning abortion set to take effect in up to 22 states, Intercept reporters are investigating the draconian means by which they’ll be enforced.

This is exactly the kind of journalism The Intercept was founded to pursue, but it’s coming at a difficult moment: With less than 48 hours left in June, reader donations are so far almost $20,000 short of what we’d planned for the month.

If you want The Intercept to continue reporting on the terrifying new reality of abortion surveillance, now is the moment to become a member. Can you donate today?

With Roe v. Wade’s fall, controversial surveillance techniques already used by law enforcement agencies will almost certainly be applied to abortion prohibition.

Tech companies are likely to face warrants for user data based on keyword searches and physical location tracking. Activists have encouraged people to delete period-tracking apps, which have already come under fire for misleading users about privacy.

And while reproductive rights networks across the country are organizing to help those in prohibition states, the National Right to Life Committee’s model legislation would also charge law enforcement agencies with pursuing those “aiding and abetting” abortion access under anti-racketeering laws.

The model legislation also opens the door to vigilantism, following the lead of Texas’s Senate Bill 8. That law permits anyone to file a civil suit against any person who could be deemed to “abet” an abortion — incentiving anti-abortion crusaders to act as bounty hunters with a $10,000 bonus.

The Intercept has spent years reporting on the increasingly dystopian climate in states where abortion was already severely curtailed. But with this tipping point finally crossed, we need your help to keep our reporters on the beat as a new phase of the fight for reproductive freedom begins.

Will you make a donation and support this crucial coverage before our June 30 deadline?

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The Intercept team

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