Updated: June 27, 1:16 p.m. ET
The end of Roe v. Wade has sent the world of tech scrambling. Many companies are now trying to quickly figure out how to protect workers in states where abortion will be banned, while also facing potential privacy and legal ramifications.
Here’s a look at tech companies’ roles and responses to the ruling. We will update this page as news and events change.
How could this decision affect Big Tech?
- Big tech could be asked to snitch on users who (try to) obtain abortions, and even some who may come under suspicion when they lose pregnancies. The new landscape kicks off perhaps the most complicated political balancing act the companies have ever faced.
- Tech companies, which generally comply with legal information demands, could suddenly find themselves helping states investigate people who seek or facilitate abortions.
- It’s unclear how the tech companies that have established headquarters in states that will ban abortions, including Airbnb, Indeed and GoDaddy, will respond to the ruling.
How are tech companies responding?
- Many major tech companies responded when the SCOTUS opinion was initially leaked, implementing increased health care, relocation and travel benefits. Some, however, stayed silent.
- How tech companies choose to respond, either by expanding health care reimbursement or even ceasing operations in restrictive states, may set the tone for other industries.
- Yelp was one of the first to announce that it would cover expenses for employees and their dependents who need to travel out-of-state for abortion access. Tesla, Citigroup, Apple, Match Group, Netflix and Bumble have similar policies.
- Amazon announced it would pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses for procedures including abortions.
- Meanwhile, Meta doesn’t want its employees to talk about abortion at work.
- Tech companies are still figuring out how to respond to the SCOTUS decision. But HR experts told Protocol that companies need to be proactive about what it means for protections of contraception, privacy and LGBTQ+ rights.
How will this affect your privacy?
- Tech users who use Google to find information on medication abortions or seek an Uber ride to the clinic could be leaving a digital trail for investigators.
- “I think it's good that we were called out,” Auren Hoffman, CEO of location data provider SafeGraph, told Protocol after the company was blasted for selling information that showed where groups of people visiting clinics providing family planning and abortion services had traveled from, how long they stayed and where they traveled afterward.
- Privacy experts are concerned that period-tracking apps could be forced to hand over some of users’ most private information, which could then be used as evidence against people who choose to terminate their pregnancies.
- The telehealth boom of the last two years and regulatory changes at the FDA have launched a batch of startups that provide safe, effective abortion pills by mail. But the people behind these companies are equally cautious about overselling their promise, as they grapple with what the court’s decision means for the industry.
- A recent investigation revealed that Meta might be putting the data of users seeking abortions at risk. Facebook’s automated Meta Pixel tool has been collecting data on people who make appointments or visit the websites of crisis pregnancy centers, fake abortion centers run by anti-abortion organizations.