December 1, 2022

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Nebraska Cops Are Utilizing Fb DMs to Prosecute a Teen For an Alleged Abortion

When Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court docket in June, paving the best way for states to roll out dangerous and punitive abortion bans, many puzzled how far legislators and police would go to manage folks’s our bodies. Would they, for instance, use information from period-tracking apps to search out and cost individuals who’ve had abortions? It sounded far-fetched — however now, a 17-year-old is reportedly going through prison fees after her Fb DMs have been uncovered, detailing her alleged abortion, in line with the Lincoln Journal Star.

The messages in query have been obtained by way of search warrant by the Norfolk Police Division in Nebraska, who obtained a tip saying that the teenager had miscarried at 23 weeks of being pregnant and buried the fetus. The direct messages recommend that she might have had a self-managed abortion, assisted by her mom. At the moment, Nebraska’s abortion restrictions outlaw abortion after 20 weeks.

Each the teenager and her mom are awaiting trial in Madison County District Court docket for allegedly breaking the state’s abortion legal guidelines. Regardless of her younger age, the 17-year-old might be tried as an grownup, in line with the Lincoln Journal Star. Though Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Fb and its new offspring Meta, beforehand pledged to broaden the platform’s encryption with a purpose to defend the privateness of individuals searching for an abortion, this case doesn’t set a really promising precedent. In response to Fb’s actions, some are even beginning a motion to #DeleteFacebook, deeming it an unsafe place for anybody seeking to preserve their data non-public.

In an govt order signed on July 8, President Joe Biden requested the chair of the Federal Commerce Fee and the secretary of Well being and Human Providers (HHS) to take motion and provides steerage round points associated to folks’s privateness when trying up reproductive well being data on-line. However in line with a information launched by HHS, “HIPAA Guidelines usually don’t defend the privateness or safety of your well being data when it’s accessed by way of or saved on your private cell telephones or tablets. . . . Normally . . . the HIPAA Guidelines additionally don’t defend the privateness of knowledge you have downloaded or entered into cellular apps to your private use, no matter the place the data got here from.”

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In a press release posted on Aug. 9, Meta claimed the warrants it obtained on June 7 (earlier than Roe was overturned) “didn’t point out abortion in any respect. Court docket paperwork point out that police have been at the moment investigating the alleged unlawful burning and burial of a stillborn toddler. The warrants have been accompanied by non-disclosure orders, which prevented us from sharing details about them. The orders have now been lifted.”

For now, the teenager and her mom await trial, and onlookers worry what the result might imply for bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom throughout the nation. The one factor for sure is that social media platforms like Fb and Meta will play a strong function in what occurs subsequent.