The End of Roe Means We Need a New Civil Right to Privacy
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
Friday’s SCOTUS ruling in Dobbs is devastating news. Yes, it denies women and girls reproductive autonomy, but it also augurs a future where no aspect of our intimate life is ours, where even the most private spaces or relationships are ripe for surveillance, where every detail about our bodies, health, and relationships is amassed and sold. Everyone’s life opportunities are on the line in a world without intimate privacy. With the evisceration of Roe and the triggering of state laws criminalizing abortion, police can access the evidence they need to pursue investigations. Our fertility, dating, and health apps, digital assistants, and cellphones track our every move, doctor visit, health condition, prescription, and search; the details of our intimate lives are sold to advertisers, marketers, and data brokers. Law enforcers can purchase or subpoena data about women’s missed periods, health clinic visits, and resumed menstruation. Prosecutors with an eye to higher office will use that data to make cases against women and girls, especially those who come from marginalized backgrounds.