'Reach out to us': Legal experts warn about digital trails in states set to ban or restrict abortion rights

Abortion right activists gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court's landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Legal experts are warning women in states poised to pass restrictive abortion laws that they should be careful where they’re sharing sensitive medical information. That’s in light of Friday’s Supreme Court decision overturning the landmark abortion rights ruling Roe v. Wade.

Roe had been in place for nearly 50 years. Now even researching an abortion is hard to keep private for people in a post-Roe America.

Widespread legal questions about digital trails and potential criminalization are erupting in states enacting abortion bans immediately, or in states like Georgia where the law is still up in the air. Georgia’s 2019 restrictive abortion law is still pending approval from a federal court — which could deliver a decision in mid-July. Governor Brian Kemp signed the law that would ban most abortions after roughly six weeks of pregnancy. That’s before many women know they are pregnant.

frequently asked questions about self-managed abortions, legal rights if questioned by police, seeking medical care after a self-managed abortion, and for those seeking an abortion underage without involving parents or guardians.

Yveka Pierre is the senior litigation counsel at ‘If/When/How,’ a reproductive justice non-profit and legal fund. Pierre tells WABE that above all, women need to be judicial about who they share medical information with.

“If someone fears that they might be imminently criminalized for something like a self-managed abortion or a pregnancy loss, we have resources for you. I’d encourage them to reach out to us,” Pierre said.