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The surveillance techniques that will be used to prosecute women and girls for medically-induced abortions


We’ll be seeing much more of this:

17-year-old girl and her mother have been charged with a series of felonies and misdemeanors after an apparent medication abortion at home in Nebraska. The state’s case relies on evidence from the teenager’s private Facebook messages, obtained directly from Facebook by court order, which show the mother and daughter allegedly bought medication to induce abortion online, and then disposed of the body of the fetus. While the court documents, obtained by Motherboard, allege that the abortion took place before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in June, they show in shocking detail how abortion could and will be prosecuted in the United States, and how tech companies will be enlisted by law enforcement to help prosecute their cases.

According to court records, Celeste Burgess, 17, and her mother, Jessica Burgess, bought medication called Pregnot designed to end pregnancy. Pregnot is a kit of mifepristone and misoprostol, which is often used to safely end pregnancy in the first trimester. In this case, Burgess was 28-weeks pregnant, which is later in pregnancy than mifepristone and misoprostol are recommended for use. It’s also later than Nebraska’s 20-week post-fertilization abortion ban, which makes allowances only if the pregnant person is at risk of death or “serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.” (Nebraska’s abortion laws have not changed since Roe v Wade was overturned).

As we’ve discussed before, one of the many problems with Savvy contrarian “overruling Roe won’t be so bad” punditry is that it ignores how much more surveillance technology is available to the state than in 1972. A lot of people are going to find out that what they thought were private communications won’t stay that way. And as we can also see Republican controlled-states will have no compunction about arresting and jailing women who get abortions as well as anyone who materially helped them.

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