Data Privacy and Security Concerns after Roe v. Wade

January 26, 2023 -
3:00pm to 4:00pm

Michael S. Sinha, MD, JD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Law
Center for Health Law Studies
Saint Louis University

Abstract: On June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court issued its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning nearly 50 years of precedent established in its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. By eliminating a federal constitutional right to abortion, Dobbs effectively reverted the decision to the states. Almost immediately, several state statutes took effect, some going as far as to ban abortion and criminalize those who aid or abet the process. In Texas, ordinary citizens are now empowered to surveil pregnant persons through the provision of bounties in exchange for information that leads to prosecution. In Nebraska, a Facebook Messenger conversation between a mother and her daughter as to the proper use of abortion medication led to criminal charges. These instances and others have raised concerns about the extent to which our data—health-related or otherwise—can be accessed and misused for malicious purposes. Major gaps in the current US data privacy infrastructure have far-reaching consequences beyond abortion policy. Dr. Sinha will discuss these issues in the context of broader data privacy reform proposals.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Governance and Markets’ project on The Future of Law in Technology and Governance with the Center for Bioethics & Health Law